1. What is your school philosophy?
First and foremost, Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint will be a loving and caring school that embraces all families in our community. We encourage children to be curious; to be risk-taking, independent learners; to be creative and confident in their abilities; to treat each other with respect and compassion; and to open their eyes to the many wonders of the world around them. We celebrate each child’s special light. We are a progressive school based on the Bank Street/Reggio Emilia philosophy. When you walk into our school, you will see children working in areas that they feel passionate about and which are relevant to them. They will be exploring and investigating materials using all five senses. Their art and other creative work will be as unique as they are. Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint should function as a microcosm of the larger world. Through their experiences here, children will be learning to work together, to cooperate and collaborate, to navigate the creative process, to persevere and to celebrate both the similarities and differences within their school community.
2. What are the qualifications of your staff?
Our lead teachers have master’s degrees in early childhood education and our assistant teachers have bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. They are dedicated professionals who know that early childhood education is the foundation upon which all other education is built. They know what makes young children “tick” and are committed to the idea of guiding each child through the individual process of discovery. They know that learning should be a gentle and joyous process that builds self-confidence and instills a lifelong curiosity to learn even more.
3. How many classes will you have?
We will have a total of five classes: one class for two-year-olds, two classes for three-year-olds, and two classes for four year-olds. There will be 80 children in our school -- an advantage that will allow everyone to feel at home and comfortable within a loving and caring community. At Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint, everyone will know each other.
4. How would you characterize the Jewish component?
The curriculum at Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint will convey a sense of Jewish identity in the following ways: Jewish values -– guiding children on their path to being warm, creative and accepting human beings. Building community -– knowing, caring for, celebrating and supporting our neighbors, families and friends. Family time -– enhancing family rituals of story sharing, cooking, eating and finding things to wonder about together. Jewish culture -- learning about holidays; celebrating the miracle of freedom over oppression that unites people of many lands. Israel –- learning about the Jewish ancestral homeland as a modern example of creativity to help others. Shabbat – reflecting on the week gone by and looking ahead to the adventures of the week ahead. Finally, it is about radical amazement – using the lens of wonder that is innate in children. This is a part of the Reggio Emilia philosophy for exploration, but it is also how we learn to appreciate our world. Through appreciation, we learn a sense of gratitude for the world that has been entrusted to us for safe keeping.
5. What special activities will you have?
We will have:
- Music and Movement
- Story Time
- Jewish Culture
- Hebrew and/or Russian
- Science and Cooking
- Hebrew Games
- Found/Recycled Art
6. What will be your involvement in the community?
The Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint will actively support the surrounding community and step in to help whenever and wherever there is need. We believe that children need to learn the value of community service as an important first step toward taking responsibility for the world around them. Some of the community-minded activities we will pursue include food drives, clothing drives, and baby items drives.
7. What will parent involvement be like?
We view school and home as a unified team. Our door is open and we seek your ideas, thoughts and suggestions to help make our school the best it can be. A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. We appreciate the diverse talents of the parents in our community. Parents will be involved in activities and projects in our classrooms, such as cooking, reading stories and doing crafts. Parents will be invited to accompany the children on trips. Parents will also run class parties to celebrate holidays -- Hanukkah, Passover and Purim – as well as graduation.
8. What will the daily schedule be like?
- Welcoming Time -- parents will say good-bye to their child and the teachers will welcome the child into the classroom. Children will choose areas in which to work.
- Morning Meeting -– children will discuss plans for the day: who is here, the calendar, weather, and other things that come up in their school life.
- Work Time –- project for the day. All work areas are open.
- Snack Time – healthy, organic snack. Sometimes the children will prepare their own snack.
- Playground Time – children will enjoy the outdoors and increase their strength and agility in a safe and supportive environment.
- Story Time/Singing/Movement – children will develop a love of reading, music and dance during their interactive time of day. They will be exposed to a wide variety of books and different genres of music.
- More playtime -– Open activities
9. How will you get to the playground?
Children will all walk to the playground holding onto ropes with rings. We will have an extra teacher going with the Twos and Threes to the playground. The Fours will be walking with their teachers. Safety is our primary concern, and we will never go unless all are safe.
10. What is the student/teacher ratio?
We will follow the New York City guidelines for student/teacher ratio. For Twos – 12 children/2 teachers For Threes – 15 children/2 teachers For Fours – 16 children/2 teachers Thanks to our intimate size and impressive number of staff, there will be additional adults in each classroom to support and work with children. Of course, parents are always welcome, too!
11. How do you support children who need services?
We believe strongly that home and school are a team and that we must work together for each child to be successful. Sometimes children need extra support in different areas. It is our work to help a family get that support so that their child can reach their full potential. We have wonderful connections with licensed speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and psychologists. We support families with the CPSE process and will accompany them to meetings at the Dept. of Education for support. We work with each family to find what support their child needs. Families are never alone with this process.
12. How do you communicate with families?
There will be two formal parent-teacher conferences conducted every school year. These conferences will give you the opportunity to sit with your child’s teachers, discuss your child’s development in each area (academic, social, developmental, emotional, and creative), look at your child’s work and talk about any issues or concerns you may have. The lines of communication are open on a daily basis as well. You’ll be given the email addresses of your child’s teachers (and the preschool director’s email address, too) in case you need to send a note or ask a question. We will make every attempt to answer your emails that same evening. The Kings Bay Y at North Williamsburg & Greenpoint Newsletter will update you regularly on what’s happening in your child’s classroom. In a Reggio Emilia classroom, the walls are covered with children’s work. That’s another way to see how we fill the school day. Our doors are always open to you. Please do not hesitate to ask a question or share a concern, suggestion or idea. We’re a community. We look forward to hearing from you!