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Getting Into Preschool In New York City
Getting Into Preschool In New York City
As a former admissions advisor in Manhattan, it was harder to get children into nursery school than any other entry point. The most popular NYC preschools are still as competitive as Harvard. Often, New York City parents are so concerned about whether or not the school would accept their child that they don’t consider whether or not the school is a good fit for them. While it is important to know what you can do to increase your child’s chances of getting in, it’s just as important to consider whether or not the school is right for your child.
1. Ask yourself, “Is my child ready for preschool?”
Early childhood experts agree that children under two-years-old who are developing normally and have loving, supportive families don’t need to be in school. If you are actively involved with your child, talking to him about things you do together, visiting parks, exploring the world, reading to him, and bringing him up in a stimulating environment, school is not necessary at this young age. You may have your own reasons for putting a child under two in school, and that’s just fine. Just know that it isn’t necessary. Three-years-old is an ideal time to send your child to school because most kids are more independent at that age, they’re able to separate and handle the physical demands of going to school. Check the age requirements for nursery schools that interest you. They are usually very specific. In New York City, you don’t want to wait too long to send your child because all the kids who started at age three will move up to the fours class and there won’t be many openings for four-year-olds if that’s when you choose to start your child.
2. Stay in the neighborhood.
It’s very hard to schlep a little one far from home, especially in the winter or on rainy days. Plus, if you stay in your neighborhood, your child will make friends with kids who live nearby.
3. Choose a convenient time.
Length of programs and morning, afternoon, or all-day availability varies. What fits your work schedule best? Does your child still nap? If so, you may not want to put him in the afternoon program. If you work and have a babysitter, afternoons might be better because you won’t be rushed in the morning. Afternoons are less popular among parents, so if you are willing to take them, your child will have a better chance to be admitted. You can usually switch to morning the next year. We sent our kids to the afternoon program because we knew it would be easier to get in. To our surprise, we loved it and stayed there throughout nursery school.
4. Find a director you click with.
Do you like her? She really sets the tone for the school. Do you sense she will be easy to work with if there is a problem? And trust me, problems do come along. If you’re planning to send your child to private kindergarten, what is her track record for getting kids into the ongoing schools that interest you? Ask about the school’s ex-missions process when you visit. Talk to friends who know this director and trust your gut.
5. Assess the quality of the teachers.
Do they have degrees in early childhood education? Are there assistant teachers? What is the turnover like?
6. Is the school affiliated with a church or temple?
If so, how much religious instruction do they offer? Are you comfortable with that?
7. Are you comfortable with the class size?
Sizes of classes is usually licensed by the state. For example, the state may mandate that in a classroom of three and four-year-olds, there can be fifteen students with two teachers (a head and an assistant teacher). Some schools will offer classes that are smaller than the law allows.
8. Assess the quality of the classroom.
The room should be bright, clean, light and cheerful looking. You don’t want it to be so neat that children are inhibited from expressing themselves. It should be arranged in a way that children can move around and retrieve the material themselves. Do you see this as a space where your child would be happy going each day? It is important that you see all the classrooms a school offers. I remember considering one downtown school for my daughter that had beautiful classrooms for the youngest students, but the older ones were located in a dark, unattractive basement.
9. Are you comfortable with the outdoor space?
Ideally it will be located right next to the school. One school I considered used a local park as their playground. Children took a van to get there. Although it wasn’t far, I was very uncomfortable with that arrangement. Make sure the play area is well designed, safe and clean.
10. How much does the school cost?
Can you easily afford it? Do they offer scholarships for which your child would qualify? If it isn’t expensive, are they cutting corners that you aren’t comfortable with?
11. What is the parent body like?
Does the school encourage participation? Is it a socially conscious community, a wealthy one, a community where most moms work? If most moms stay at home and you work, will you be comfortable? In nursery school, if you feel at home with the community, your child will, too.
12. How hard is the school to get into?
Some schools are in high demand. You don’t want to apply only to these schools. Make sure you apply to a few that you really like that your child has a great chance to get into. You will apply the fall before your child would actually start. Many schools require you to call the day after Labor Day to get an application. Call ahead or check the school’s web site to see if this is required. Most schools will observe your child during a group playdate. They are looking to see if your child is where she should be developmentally. Many will interview you as well. At the nursery school level, parents will be a considering factor more so than in kindergarten and beyond. The director may be assessing whether or not you’ll be reasonably easy to work with, you’ll want to volunteer, and if you have donor potential (although, don’t bring that up). Send a letter to your first choice school telling them you would accept a spot if offered. Many schools do consider these when choosing children to accept. In Manhattan, the nursery school admissions process is very similar to the kindergarten admissions process. You can read more about this process in my book, “Testing For Kindergarten.”
13. Will the school prepare your child for kindergarten admissions testing?
Whether you choose to follow preschool with a private kindergarten, a gifted and talented program, or public kindergarten, your child will be tested. This will be an IQ test for admissions to private school or a gifted program and a readiness test for ability placement for slow, average, and advanced groups in public kindergarten. Children who attend Montessori or traditional nursery schools do best on IQ tests. Kids who go to progressive, Waldorf, or Reggio Emilia schools may need extra support to get ready for testing. Frankly, in my opinion, it isn’t wise to trust that your preschool will have prepared your child for testing in a market as competitive a as New York City. If you’d like to see my reviews of all the test prep products available for preschoolers today, visit www.kindergartentestingwithouttears.com.
14. What does your gut say?
Finally, when choosing a preschool, listen to the feeling you get from the children, teachers, the activities you see taking place – your overall gut reaction to the school. Trust this.
Karen Quinn is the author of Testing For Kindergarten, a parent’s guide to getting your preschool child ready for ERB, Stanford-Binet, WPPSI-III, OLSAT or other IQ tests for private school admission or gifted and talented program qualification. She is a former kindergarten admissions advisor from NYC and is the inventor of IQ Fun Park, an IQ test prep kit (that feels like play) for children ages 3 to 6. Visit her at www.testingforkindergarten.com.
Purchase The Quality Preschool Play Equipment
Playground equipment not only provide a lot of fun and joy to the children but also enhance their physical strength and social skills. There is a wide range of play-equipment available for preschool children but one need to purchase and install them with extra care to ensure the safety for the children.
Painted with vibrant colors and filled with attractive play-equipment, a preschool playground is the place where children love to spend their time. Playing with same age group, they can enhance their physical strength and learn some new skills. They experience the proximity of strangers away from the protective shelter of their parents. This can really help them to stimulate their thinking process and social skills. Well- equipped with a variety of play-equipment, preschool playgrounds are meant to offer the children fun and enjoyment as well.
A number of play-equipment are available in the market which are specially designed for preschool children. They include sliding, spinning, balancing, climbing and hanging etc. Using the perfect combination of these apparatus in playground, you can help the children to learn a variety of skills such as coordination, balance and decision making ability. Sliding equipment are considered the most traditional part of playgrounds which are available in the form of individual slide as well as the combination of more than one. Rendering good physical exercises and a lot of fun, these are the most popular pieces of playground apparatus. With a standing platform and a central pole to stand on and spin, spinning equipment also allure the children of preschool age. Talking about the balancing equipment, these are available in a variety of options like traditional rope bridge, spring discs, balance beam and swinging logs to offer fun and enjoy to the children. Additionally, the playground can be equipped with climbing apparatus and hanging play-equipment to allow the children play individually or in a group.
While selecting and installing the equipment for preschool playground, one needs to be extra careful as the individuals playing with them are innocent and small. Keep safety as the prime consideration while installing them in playground. Make sure that the playground is spacious and airy where children could get fresh air and sunlight. Check the equipment whether they have any sharp or cutting edge. If yes, then cover them with suitable material to ensure the children safe during play. As the children tend to fall down while playing with equipment, an appropriate material like rubber must be used for playground surface. To make the play area more attractive, you need to choose the appropriate colors and designs of play-equipment. You must avoid any water body or pit around the play area.
While purchasing preschool play equipment, it is highly advised to consider the material quality of these apparatus. For the children of this age, plastic or wood equipment would be safer compared to the metal equipment. Play apparatus should always be purchased from a reputable supplier to ensure that they are made of high quality material and tested against the safety standards. While searching over Internet, you would find some reliable online suppliers which offer a wide range of play equipment at discounted rates. These suppliers could also assist you in planning the play-area, how to use the equipment and in terms of playground surfacing. Conducting a research online, you could find the suitable deal for preschool playground equipment matching with your needs and budget.
This article is written by an expert who is currently associated with AAA State of Play, a reliable online supplier for a wide range of commercial playground equipment at reasonable rates.
Tips for Getting the best Educational Preschool Toys
If you are buying toys for a pre-schooler, then you are probably tempted to get something cheap and yet adorable. You might pick a stuffed toy, which your pre-schooler could hug at night. You might pick clothes or books, or other things that your pre-schooler could use. However, educational toys are now on the market, and they are playing a big role in preparing your child for school. Moreover, educational toys can kill two birds with one stone: while your child is learning, he or she is still having a lot of fun. Here are a few tips that you can use as you plan out your child’s toys and get your child the education that he or she deserves.
First, pick toys that have many bright colors. Dull colored toys will not attract the attention of your pre-schooler, and your aim right now is not only to have your kid start playing with good toys, but to play with them long enough. Moreover, dull colored toys will grow even duller with age, and their colors will make them even less appealing. They might even resist laundry and cleaning and will end up white! Bright colors can hold your children’s attention better, and it can catch their attention when they start scouting for toys to play with.
Second, pick toys that do not have small parts, or that may have small detachable parts. If you sit with your child and learn along with your child, then you could watch over your child and make sure that your child does not swallow any toy parts. However, educational toys can be fashioned so that your child keeps on coming back for more, and you should be delighted if your child gets a toy on his or her own without you having to prompt it. You will have to let your child learn on his or her own, so make sure that you can leave the toy with your child and not have to worry about safety.
Third, and last, get toys that also develop your child’s motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. Such toys will help your child improve in his or her later skills. This way, you can prepare your child for pre-school and have a well-developed child even before your child steps into a school classroom!
These are only a few tips that you might want to use. For more information, talk to your child’s teacher or to child development experts.
If you’re planning to buy a pre schoolers toys make sure that they are educational toys and easy to work with. Pick toys with lots of colors and that can hone children’s motor skills.