When selecting a nursery school for your child, keep three things in mind: the school’s philosophy/mission, its curriculum, and its structure. After all it is a nursery school and it will be your child’s first exposure to the structures and routines of school life. Typically nursery schools serve kids from two and a half years old to five years old. There are many really great nursery schools in Brooklyn, but you need to make sure that the one you choose is the right one for your child. When you do find one (and start looking a year in advance), call as early as possible to find out about application deadlines.
1. Let me admit right off the bat that I’m partial to Beansprouts since my daughter attends the school. A part of the Park Slope community since 1980, Beansprouts offers a nurturing atmosphere and enriching educational environment. The school offers a multitude of schedules to fit just about any parent’s needs. Like many nursery schools in Park Slope, competition is stiff (especially for the 3 and 4 year old classes). Admission is not rolling. Applications must be submitted by November and decisions are sent out in January and February.
2. Parents rave about Open House Nursery School. It has fantastic progressive approach to curriculum as well as a warm environment. It is also a highly coveted school. You cannot apply without going on a tour, and you cannot go on a tour without being selected for a tour appointment. Call in September to find out about tours and admission deadlines.
3. Compared to the other nursery schools on this list, Red Hook Play Group is a newbie. Formed about three years ago, this school has grown to be loved by parents and kids. The school is run as a cooperative, so prepare to roll up your sleeves and put in some time. The application deadline is February and decisions are made by March. Children are selected by lottery, but preference is given to returning students and siblings.
4. Like the name suggests, the Lefferts Gardens Montessori School operates on the principles of the Montessori method of teaching. Kids are allowed to learn and grow at their own pace and through their own inquiry. The teachers are great and attuned to the needs of the kids, and the kids enjoy their experience at the school. The school accepts applications all year round.
5. The Rainbow Day Care Center located in Marine Park has several programs that can ease your child into a full-time pre-school. They begin with mommy and me type mini programs, and graduate to a few hours a day before transitioning to their full time nursery program (3 year olds). The staff is nurturing and kind and the activities they do with the kids really engage them in the learning process. There is no application deadline. As long as there are slots, your child will be welcomed.
6. Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center in Park Slope is another really great pre-school option. Although the focus of the curriculum is centered around the Jewish faith and culture the school accepts students of all faiths and backgrounds. The staff is attentive to the students’ needs and structure activities and play around the developing needs of the children. Tours are offered from November through January, and you must tour the school before applying. Get your application in early as decisions are made based on when applications are sent in. Decisions are sent out in March.
Have a favorite preschool in Brooklyn? Comment below to tell us which one and why it is great.
By Simone Gobin