Update: Pre-K tips! February 13 2014, 0 Comments

As many parents start to think about the Pre-K process I wanted to re-post the tips I wrote out the first day of pre-k for my son when everything was still fresh in my head after what was a stressful process. 

Today was the first day of Pre-K . Until this past June we had been in the same school since the boy was 5 months old. When it came to getting into a public pre-k we had to do a lottery, didn't get into any of the 5 schools we applied for and had to get on a waiting list. I had always heard of the stress of trying to get into a public pre-k program in New York , tough, others parents told me. Nothing prepared me for the stress I felt when C didn't get into any schools! I wasn't alone, so many parents applied to more then 10 schools and didn't get in. Lucky for us we got off the waiting list and into the school we wanted. I know how lucky we are and I am so thankful for this. My advise to parents who will be entering this crazy pre-k application this year is:

  • Join a support group, I know it sounds kind of funny but my wonderful friend Tory put together a group of moms where we constantly updated eachother on school programs and news. We also met up and stragetized and shared tips from seasoned moms who told us how to get on the waitlist if you do not get into a school. This was instrumental to me planning my 'attack' on getting on the waiting list and off.
  • Have back up, most pre-k programs are private and expensive. However some private schools will offer a CBO. This is paid for by the DOE. It only goes until 11a.m but is 5 days a week. However, if you can work out a schedule with your partner or a sitter there are many free programs such as the library story times and Parks and Recreation programs your child can attend for the remainder of the day.
  • Apply for programs that are hard to get into such as the YMCA Pre-K program as soon as you can get over to the Y and fill out the paperwork. This program is famously waitlisted but once parents find out there kids have gotten into a public pre-k slot a spot opens up in this program. 
  • Stay in touch. Join a parents group, in Brooklyn there is the HUI and some smaller groups that are usually started by parents in the community. These parent boards are great to hear about schools that you may have never known exsisted. While searching for a Pre-K solution, I found out about two great programs that were affordable and in my neighborhood just by asking other parents for help.
  • Read the Pre-K directory and know your codes, write them down in the priority you wish to apply. Yes, include your zone school even if it isn't your first choice.
  • Sign up to get email updates from the DOE on Pre-K.

Updates:

There are many great sites that support you through the pre-k process, stay tune for tips, posts that will help you through this process:

Inside Schools

NYC School Help

WPK 

 

 

 

Photo, Taken on our way to first day of school!