Author Archives: Kidz Central Station

About Kidz Central Station

Founded by a NYC mom of two young children, Kidz Central Station uses technology to solve the problem so many busy parents face—how to find, book, and manage their children's classes, camps, local family events, and birthday parties. Kidz Central Station offers more than 20,000 classes, camps, and birthday party options representing hundreds of NYC's top activity providers. With a sophisticated search engine and class reviews, it is easy for parents to find the best classes for their children, sign up for a trial class, and directly enroll.

Things to do in Queens with Kids

Queens is NYC’s largest and most ethnically diverse borough.  It is fast gaining popularity with parents with such family friendly neighborhoods as Rego Park, Astoria, Forest Hills, and Long Island City.  Nice weather has arrived so it’s time to take advantage of some of the city’s most authentic food, best views of the Manhattan skyline, and Family Sundays at Citi Field (Go Mets!).   Hop the 7 train and begin your outing in Queens, NY!

Queens Kids Astoria Park views

View from Astoria Park

Queens Kids Special Events

On the early evening of Friday, June 1st, join Wildlife Conservation Society at Queens Zoo to learn about birds, meet farm animals, and see other animals up close. Enjoy cookies and milk and a fun story at  Pajama Story Time – An Animal Tale.

Then, spend the morning at the Queens Zoo on Sunday, June 3rd for Family Breakfast: Keeping up with Keepers.  Meet a keeper and learn about what it takes to care for some amazing animals!

Bring the kids to a NY Mets game at Citi Field for Family Sundays.  Arrive early for the pre-game party with all kid friendly games and activities.  Stay until the end of the game to run around the bases with Mr. Met.

Queens Kids Soccer

superkickers queens

Soccer class in Astoria Park

Soccer, Soccer everywhere.

And Superkickers is truly everywhere with locations in Jackson Heights, Astoria, Long Island City, Middle Village and Sunnyside.  The gooooaaal is to have fun, learn new skills and build self-esteem for kids ages 18 months to 12 years old.

Or spend your summer with Long Island City Youth Soccer Academy which has locations in Astoria Park and Long Island City.  Soccer for Tots classes are especially designed for introducing kids ages 2-4 and ages 4-5 to the game.  Summer camps for tots ages 2-5 and older kids ages 6-15+ are designed for soccer loving kids.

 
 

Queens Kids Music and Dance

The DanceSource is a renowned Dance studio in the Rego Park/ Forest Hills area.  Classes include: Ballet, Modern, Gymnastics (Acrobatics), Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Zumba, Martial Arts, Bollywood, Barata Nathyam, Georgian Dance and Yoga. And if you love to dance and are looking for a party venue, The DanceSource will host your Bat/Bar Mitzvah, Quincinera, birthday or Wedding dances.  The 6 week summer program Arts Dance Music Camp offers Art, Dance and Music and swimming.

New York Stage of Mind is a music school in the heart of Long Island City.  They offer private Piano LessonsSinging Classesand guitar lessons, as well as, Musical Theatre programs focused on acting, singing, and dancing.  Take your little ones to Tunez for Totz for a music introduction.

Maybe you don’t want to leave the comfort of your beautiful Queens home.  In that case, invite the Willan Academy of Music’s experienced teachers to give in-home Piano, Violin, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, or Flute lessons that are personalized to your child’s individual needs.

Queens Kids Art, Music and Birthday Parties

Okabaloo Queens Kids

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center deserves its own category – an arts and fun factory for Kids.  Sign up for anything from puppet shows, to summer camp, to a “Lego Guru” class.  Or take advantage of their bright, spacious studio to host your next party event!  Astoria mom Samantha Shlimbaum said, “Okabaloo is unique… most spaces in Astoria are small, but Okabaloo is perfect  to invite friends and family.  Also, they partnered with Fiddle Foxes which performed at my daughters 1st birthday party. I highly recommend them!”  

Queens Zoo Summer Camp

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo in Flushing hosts frequent special weekend events such as mentioned above and offers summer camp for every age from Toddler Camp  to KinderZoo to Week of Wildlife to Zoo Explorer to Junior Scientist.  Don’t miss the zoo!

Summer Camps in Murray Hill & UES

Last week, we featured summer camps in Downtown Manhattan, so now let’s head uptown and East.  Murray Hill  is a neighborhood in midtown Manhattan on the East side.  Full of families and boasting tons of restaurants and parks and tree-lined streets, this neighborhood is a great place to spend the day.  Go farther up the 6 train and you hit the Upper East Side, which is well-known for its kid-friendly activities.


Summer Camps in Midtown East/Murray Hill

Summer camps in Murray Hill Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Movement and Dance Company

Cultivate a passion for dance through music and creative movement, while establishing the foundation of ballet technique.  Classes are led by Miss Jackie. Camp runs Jul 30th 2018 – Aug 10th 2018. Mon-Fri 9am-12pm.

Sign up per week:

Sign up per day:

 

CenterStage

Performing arts classes for kids all summer culminating in an end-of-semester performance for your children’s biggest fans (you!). Sign up any or all weeks Jun 18th 2018 – Aug 24th 2018.

Sign up by age:

 

The Goddard School

Bring learning and FUN! to your young children’s pre-school experience.  Weekly themes include Engineering, Acting, Cooking, Soccer, Filmmaking, and so much more.  Field Trips each week and Splash Day on Friday. Age: 5 years and under.  Camp runs Jun 18th – Aug 30th 2018.   Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; inquire about half day option.

 

Physique Swimming

With NORY, this is an unique Swim and STEM summer camp.  Children ages 4 to 11 years can swim in the morning, then have lunch followed by an afternoon of STEM activities.   A half day Morning Camp Swim with Physique Swimming option is also available. Camp runs Jun 25th-Aug 31st 2018.

Sign up per week:

 

NORY

NYC’s premier STEM Camp for aspiring innovators ages 3 – 12.   NORY offers 3 camps, including its partner camp with Physique Swimming.  All camps run Jun 18th 2018 – Aug 17th 2018.

 


Summer Camps in the Upper East Side

Summer camps in Upper East Side Manattan

Claire’s Creative Adventures

Summer camp explores new artists and museum exhibitions throughout the summer.  This culminates in a wrap-up Friday museum art-making tour to see the artists discussed all summer.  Register for any one of the 3 weeks of June camp; each week is different. 9:30-12:30 session only. Jun 11th 2018 – Jun 29th 2018.

 

Kids In Sports

Two options: (1) Indoor Camp Ages 2.5-6 years held at Temple Israel (112 E. 75th St.) (2) Outdoor Camp Ages 4 up to 9 years held at Randalls Island.  Activities include Baseball, Football, Soccer, Basketball, Floor Hockey, and Volleyball, arts and crafts, story-time, and more. Children can participate in any or all weeks.  

 

Kids in the Game

Summer camp for boys and girls entering Pre-K4 to 8th grade. Some of the activities and trips kids will enjoy: – Sports, Arts & Crafts, Day Trips, Music, Dance & Yoga, Tennis, Swimming, Yankees and Mets Games, Transit Museum, Intrepid Museum, Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Gardens.  Camp runs Jul 2nd 2018 – Aug 10th 2018.

 

Launch Math + Science Centers

Provide toddlers to tweens with inspiring math instruction and STEM-based summer camps.  Real-life rocket scientist, Scott Heifetz, founded Launch with one mission in mind: Inspire children to love and learn math and science.  

Sign up by area of interest:

Best Mother’s Day in NYC

Mother’s Day NYC Kidz Central Station

Mother’s Day in NYC  is a wonderful time to explore family activities all over the city.  Let the celebrations begin next Saturday, on to Sunday, and carryover all the way to the following Sunday!  You can never do enough to appreciate Mom.  Below is a roundup of the best events in NYC.
 

SATURDAY, MAY 12TH

Mother’s Day Breakfast (ages 3+ with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Prospect Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Society – Prospect Park Zoo, 9am-11am.   Meet in the zoo before it opens, enjoy a light breakfast, meet an animal close up, and help prepare special treats for the animal moms!

 

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Make Mom a Makeup Pouch – Sewing Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC The Fashion Class

The Fashion Class – Midtown West, 3:30-5:30pm. Kids will create a make-up bag or carry-all pouch with zipper and decorations for mom.  The class is perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced sewers.  The workshop begins with a sewing lesson on Singer Sewing machines.  Students learn to cut and pin fabric before sewing.

 

Mother’s Day Parent-Child Workshop: Cherry Blossom Trees

Claire’s Creative Adventures– UES, 4-5:30pm.
Children make a family tree or a beautiful sculpture to don any room!  Join your child in making hands-on projects using unique materials.
**Register by May 11th for this special Mother’s Day event.**

 

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UWS, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 13TH – Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Celebration (Ages 3-10 with adult)

Mother’s Day NYC Central Park ZooWildlife Conservation Society – Central Park, 9am-10:30pm.   Families meet animal moms and their babies, make them treats, go on a scavenger hunt, and meet an animal guest. Then make a special Mother’s Day craft and enjoy a treat.

 

Family Brunch Celebrating Moms! (All Ages)

Wildlife Conservation Society – Queens Zoo, 11:30am-1:30pm.  Enjoy a light breakfast and explore the animals. Children will make a fun craft for their moms and the staff will take pictures of the family as a keepsake. All moms receive a gift!

Mother’s Day Tea Party Workshop

Mother’s Day NYC Taste Buds Kitchen

Taste Buds Kitchen – Chelsea, 9am-10am.  This Mother’s Day class is designed for kids and parents to cook together.    Make melt-in-your-mouth Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and brew a refreshing Sun Tea.  Festive Tea Party attire welcome.

 

Mother’s Day with Mozart for Munchkins!

Mother’s Day NYC Mozart for Munchkins

Mozart for Munchkins – UES, 4-5pm. Fun family concert featuring a variety of classical favorites including Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and some sing-along favorites!

**SAVE 10% WITH COUPON CODE MOZARTMOM**

 

 SUNDAY, MAY 20TH

A Mommy Puppet Show

 Mother’s Day NYC Okabaloo

OKABALOO FunArtFaktory – Arts & Fun Center –  Long Island City, 10-10:45am.  It’s a Mommy and Me show date dedicated to “Mother’s Month.”  Enjoy a 45 minute interactive puppet show full of laughs and surprises.

Summer Camps in Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan – which includes the Financial District, Battery Park, and Tribeca –  has become one of the most family friendly areas of NYC in the past decade.  Check out these great summer camp options in this bustling downtown area.


Play On! Studios is a theater enrichment studio providing a music and theater summer camp.

Summer Camp NYC Play On! Studios

  • Who? Kids age 4 to 9 years(grades K-4)
  • Where? 25 Pine Street
  • What? Creative Drama Camp.  Your campers will experience rehearsing and putting together a show and end with a performance in front of family and friends.
  • Kidz Tips:
    1. Innovative methods that kids love
    2. Caring, expert instructors
    3. Develop a love for music and theater

Quad Manhattan offers a special education summer camp experience.

  • Who? twice exceptional (2e) Summer Camp NYC Quad Manhattanchildren age 5 to 15+ years
  • Where? 25 Pine Street, 4th FL
  • What? Quad Summer Camp blends emotional, social, and executive functioning skill training with fun camp activities such as Field Trips, Outdoor Play, Capoeira, Technology, Animation, Filmmaking, Cooking, Theater and Improv Games, STEM, and much more.

Launch Math + Science Centers provide math instruction and STEM-based summer camps.

  • Who?  Toddlers to tweensSummer Camp NYC LAUNCH MATH
  • Where? 124 Hudson Street, Tribeca Community School

 NORY and Physique Swimming partner for this unique Summer Camp at Pine Street School combining a morning swim program and afternoon STEM based activities.

Summer Camp NYC NORY PHYSIQUE Swimming

  • Who? Kids ages 4 – 11
  • Where? Pine Street School, 25 Pine Street
  • What? Swim & STEM Summer Camp.  Campers swim daily with Physique for a full hour of instructional swim with 15 minutes of fun.  After lunch its NORY time! Robot Building, Motion & Matter Physics, Blast Chemistry, Builder’s Engineer and sports in the afternoon.
  • Kidz Tips
    1. No prior swim experience necessary
    2. Daily lunch provided
    3. Optional Extended Care (4-6PM)

And for our youngest group…

Jewish Community Project (JCP) Downtown is a summer play group for toddlers and their grownups.

  • Who? Ages 11–25 months Summer Camp at JCP NYC
  • Where? 146 Duane Street
  • What? Summer Play Together  is led by children’s musician and JCPlay teacher Suzi Shelton. Using her ukelele, Suzi incorporates music and movement into each class.
  • When? Tuesday & Thursdays 9:15–10:30 AM; June 12 to July 19 (No classes July 3 and 5)

Best Bets for Brooklyn Kids

brooklyn6

Has everyone noticed that the Brooklyn Kids scene is thriving? We certainly have here at Kidz Central Station. Well, it is our job to notice…but even if it weren’t, Brooklyn kids activities are on our radar. So, if you’re a Brooklynite, then grab a slice of the world’s best pizza and learn all about the activities in your backyard. If you live outside of Brooklyn or are visiting, then head on over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (after pausing to take in the incredible views) and prepare for a full day of fun for your kids.


Brooklyn Kids Events

Brooklyn Kids events

Boot Camp for New Dads  is a 3 hour class hosted by NYU Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn that prepares men to be dads. Veteran dads demonstrate the basics of newborn care—from burping and changing to soothing a crying baby. Other topics include supporting moms,  bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, and dealing with relatives.

Project Playdate specializes in unique 3 hour drop-off group playdates for kids, which include free play, dinner, arts and crafts, story time, dance time, movie time, and more.  On May 18th, take part in the Kidville Park Slope Drop Off Pajama Party.

Music for Autism hosts FREE concerts for individuals with autism or special needs and their friends, families, and loved ones. Kids dance in the aisles and play musical instruments as they enjoy the featured musical act. Snacks are provided! The next event at the Park Slope Library is Saturday, July 21st.


Brooklyn Kids Summer Camps

Brooklyn kids summer camps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prospect Park Zoo is on the eastern side of Prospect Park near the Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Windsor Terrace, and Crown Heights neighborhoods. Both Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium have several weekday summer camps to choose from for your explorers.

We raved about Fruiggie Organic Arts & Crafts Studio in our Earth Day blog and it’s worth taking a another look at their wonderful creative, eco-friendly Brooklyn kids summer camp in Bed/Stuy. Weekly themes include paper making, DIY musical instruments, DIY nature jewelry, vegan cooking, DIY school supplies, and more. Students also dance, sing and play while learning the importance of recycling, upcycling and connecting with nature. Bonus: Healthy organic, vegan snacks and drinks/smoothies included!

Kids in the Game, which has many camp locations throughout NYC, has a Brooklyn kids camp – Park Slope Summer Camp 2018. Lots of fun activities including, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Music, Dance, Yoga, Swimming and more. Special field trips take place to Yankees and Mets Games, the Transit Museum, Intrepid Museum, Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Gardens. This summer camp offers many great activities for boys and girls entering Pre-K4 to 8th grade.

Aviator Sports and Events Center has a Brooklyn kids summer day camp in Floyd Bennett Field. As mentioned in our Swim classes blog, this co-ed camp is spacious and has every activity/field trip your child could want. Camp is divided into four divisions; Junior Camp, Younger Division, Older Division and Teen Division. Each division has 15 campers, 2 general counselors, 1 head counselor, and a division counselor, thus providing very specialized attention. All activities are developed through the Project Based Learning curriculum as recommended by NY Department of Education standards. Inquire about the bus service option.


Brooklyn Kids Classes

Brooklyn kids classes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club brings VR to everyone through private parties and events at either their location in Boerum Hill a block away from Barclays center or to a location of your choice. Examples of fun party play via 360 degree videos and VR gaming include fighting zombies, driving race cars, or traveling the world. A new STEM class called VR Architechts and after-school and holiday break classes are available for kids.

Ajna Dance Company teaches kids (ages 4-8) Bollywood and Indian classical dance in Gowanus/Park Slope. Kids learn basic body awareness and movement, storytelling, authentic technique, and choreography.

Willan Academy of Music provides In-Home Music Lessons personalized to your child’s individual needs. Learn Piano, Violin, Guitar, Singing, Saxophone, or Flute in a relaxed environment with experienced teachers. Also, get your friends together because group intro classes are available.

Not just a summer camp, Aviator Sports offers several individual classes for sporty and active kids in Brooklyn. Basketball, Flag football, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Soccer, Special Needs Gymnastics, Performing Arts, and Fitness are all available classes. If you’re still not convinced, there are an arcade, food court, sports bar, events rooms, and FREE parking for us parents!

swim classes for kids in NYC

Swim Classes & Camps for NYC Kids

Finding swim classes may seem like a daunting task when you are raising your kids in New York CIty.  Yet, the city has excellent options for swim classes and camps whether you are looking for your babies, toddlers, or older kids.  Here are great choices to help you find the right program for your kids and help them become confident swimmers.  

FREE Swim Event

Upper East Side

Asphalt Green will host its Big Swim Big Kick event on Saturday, April 28 from 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Kids ages 6-10 can participate in a swim race and soccer festival as part of the nonprofit’s annual fundraising event.  The swim races for kids start at 12:00 PM.

The event will also feature meet-and-greets with five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Dana Vollmer and University of Florida women’s head soccer coach Becky Burleigh. Participants receive a medal, a t-shirt, and ice cream.

REGISTER here for Big Swim Big Kick  

Swim Classes

Bowling Green, FIDI, LES, East Village, Midtown East, Midtown West, UES, Harlem

Physique Swimming has every level possible from Beginner under age 5 to Swim Team Prep for kids age 6+.  You will be hard pressed to find a bad review of Physique’s expert swim classes.  Their program is designed to advance young swimmers from one level to the next as they progress at their own speed.  Physique also offers a summer camp co-hosted with Nory (see below) and Mommy/Daddy and me classes.

physiquenory

Summer Camp

Battery Park/FIDI/Tribeca, Midtown East

If you’re looking for a full-day camp with a unique combo of Swim Classes and STEM learning, this summer camp partnership between NORY and Physique Swimming is your dream come true.  This camp was a huge success last summer and they are back for a second year.  Your kids can learn to swim and make robots!

 Brooklyn

Aviator Sports and Events Center Summer Day Camp is located within Floyd Bennett Field in aviatorswimBrooklyn.  This is the place you imagine when you think of summer camp – a wide open space with the whole gamut of activities. Aviator offers swim classes and much more including, dance, music, nature, yoga, fencing, soccer, basketball, rock climbing, STEM, gymnastics, etc. There are field trips and Carnival Day.  Your kids will forget that they are city kids at this rewarding summer experience.

Earth Day Kids’ Activities

Kidz Central Station Earth Day

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, 2018.  Did you know that Earth Day was started in 1970 to spotlight environmental causes and now is the largest globally celebrated non-religious event?  It’s never too early to get our kids involved and there are many activities for them in NYC this weekend.  Get moving!

Earth Day Activities in NYC

EvFruiggie 2ery day is Earth Day at Fruiggie, a 100% organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic creative space in Brooklyn with art classes and workshops for children.  Fruiggie uses recycled supplies in most arts and crafts projects and even edible paint.  Explore your child’s creativity in making a unique nature collage that uses cereal boxes, twigs, leaves, flowers, and bottle caps to make beautiful landscapes.  Fruiggie offers art classes and an eco-art camp for the summer.

Check out your local New York Public Library branch for various activities this Friday and Saturday.  From eco-crafts classes to storytime for toddlers to science projects for teens, there’s something for the whole family.  Our partner Art Farm in the City will be giving a LIVE animal presentation at Epiphany Library on Friday.

On Saturday, take a walk through the cherry blossom festival at Randall’s Island.  Lots of kid-friendly activities—face painting, kite flying, and even “yoyo balloon fishing.”   We’re going just to find out what that is.

Start your Sunday with a yummy family breakfast at the Queens Zoo.  The Wildlife Conservation Society has prepared a full day for families to visit the animals and take part in projects such as planting flowers or building birdhouses to teach our kids how to support local wildlife.  Or, if you’re near the Staten Island Zoo, try out their eco-crafts and hands-on activities to celebrate Earth Day.

Drive over (or back) to Manhattan and teach your young fashionistas to “upcycle” old clothes into new eco-fashion.  The Fashion Class will help budding designers and beginners take a button down shirt and transform it into a fabulous dress.  Sounds like a great way to channel our kids’ ingenuity.

Let’s get our kids involved this Earth Day and make them leaders in caring for our planet!

April is Autism Awareness Month

autismimageApril is Autism Awareness month as many organizations such as Autism Speaks and Autism Society promote awareness and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is the fastest growing developmental disorder and now affects about 1 in 68 children (according to Autism Science Foundation). Considering this prevalence, ASD likely affects a family you know or your child knows. This is why Kidz Central Station is committed to helping educate our parents and community about both the challenges and the joys of children with Autism.

The Quad Manhattan is a top NYC school for children with learning differences. Teachers and clinicians work with students both one-on-one and in small groups to allow kids to move at their own pace of learning. Quad Manhattan offers a six-week summer camp for children ages 5+. Enroll in a free open house to learn more.

Music for Autism hosts FREE concerts for kids with autism and their friends, family, and loved ones. The Kidz Central team attended the March event and came away with a new appreciation for music in a loving and interactive setting. Our kids especially enjoyed dancing and playing instruments along with the music, as well as the tasty snacks. Two April events are upcoming in Park Slope and Manhattan.

Our partner NYU Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, offers many well-researched and FREE webinars for our parents on a range of helpful topics, including strategies for helping kids with social anxiety, safety awareness for kids with ASD, medication management for ADHD, or dating with ASD.

Please join Kidz Central Station this month and throughout the year by promoting understanding and acceptance of all of our children! Take a class, participate in a walk, donate, educate yourself with a webinar, or just spend time with someone with Autism.

Keeping Your Kids Ahead of the Class

gadda1With abundant choices available from daycare to nannies to 2s programs to pre-school, parents in New York City have a tough decision to make about childcare in the early years. More and more parents are looking for a one-stop solution that nurtures their child from infancy through pre-K while developing a familiar, social experience with a structured, learning environment.

With this in mind, the Kidz Central Station team recently toured the newly opened pre-school/daycare on 2nd Avenue called The Goddard School of Murray Hill in Midtown East. This is a play-based school with a focus on meaningful interactions with the children. 

We met Owner Rami Singh, a former Finance exec who developed a passion for early childhood education after becoming a father of two super adorable children who are now enrolled at the school. Like many of us, he found a void when considering the childcare debate. What is the choice for those of us who want a family feel experience for our kids that takes full advantage of these early, impressionable years?  His answer was to build it himself.

gad2

A great advantage of The Goddard School of Manhattan in Murray Hill, which opened in November 2017, is the facility.  It is housed in a clean, vibrant space full of sunlight and brand new and spacious classrooms. And by clean, we mean the space is cleaned 3x a day!  The hallways are decorated with fun animal shapes, a world map, daily schedules, teachers’ curricula, and inspirational quotes. An outdoor rooftop playground is soon to come! There are more than enough areas to store strollers inside the building. Singh’s thoughtfulness for his venture shines through in the details, such as the international themes in the decor and even the intricate details in the rock climbing wall in the gym.  It is a truly modern space. We will say, from our experience, this is not easy to find in Manhattan. When many of us were searching for daycare years ago, we found many schools in the basements of buildings with cramped spaces that did not appeal to us.

Fantastic space aside, the curriculum and teachers are the real stars at this new school.  More than anything, the school strives to go beyond typical daycare and provide a “whole child experience” that appreciates each child’s individuality and taps into each child’s way of learning.  To that end, the curriculum is designed and then refined with the focus on the children, not the teachers or the parents, but the children.  The toys, the activities, the class layout, the schedule all focus on the children’s age and abilities.  We were intrigued by their philosophy of  F.L.EX to provide “a Fun Learning EXperience.”  That means giving children the freedom to have fun while discovering and exploring with hands-on activities, customized lessons, and nurturing encouragement.  In our opinion, the school was succeeding in this.

godda2

We witnessed the positivity and warmth of the teachers firsthand as we toured the school.  The classrooms were filled with smiling faces and the teachers were happy to meet with us and let us see their classrooms in progress.  Each teacher is responsible for constructing the curriculum for his/her classroom to balance independent and cooperative learning with outdoor playtime.  For example, a Toddler full day schedule would include music, social skills, creative arts, yoga, nature studies, sign language, and Spanish among many other activities.  A Preschool schedule would include many of the above mentioned activities in addition to handwriting, math, science, dramatic play, computer lab, chess, reading readiness, and language arts.  It’s a full day schedule with many breaks built in such as nap/quiet time, snack and lunch as provided by the school, outside play, and circle time.

Many current parents give high marks to the school and enthusiastically recommend it to others.  They are are sent daily reports via app with photos and videos from the day.  They feel included in a cooperative and collaborative environment that takes their children’s progress and needs into account. The parents tout the engaged teachers, the beautiful facilities, the custom curriculum and the caring owner as pros.

The school is open through the summer and offers a camp that incorporates STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning.  They are developing a variety of themes to tailor to each child’s interests using play-based learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  And the rooftop playground (again, a huge plus in our books) is expected to be completed in July when camp opens.

We, also, want to highlight the several security measures in place at drop-off and for entering the building. Parents/caregivers must check in on a touch screen with a security code at drop-off and pick-up so that every child is accounted for. And there is a security code and Biometric Hand Scanner required to enter the school facility.  We appreciated this added layer for the children’s protection. 

The Goddard School of Murray Hill is a franchise of the nationwide The Goddard School and is currently accepting applications and tour requests. It is located at 751 2nd Ave between 40th and 41st Streets. It welcomes children from infancy to age 6 and offers year-round full day 7AM – 6:30PM schedules or half day depending on your needs. Please check them out for yourselves!  Click here.

The Route to Success?

SA_2017_BeeBots_002When it comes time to apply to kindergarten in New York City, many parents are considering charter schools, and that often means exploring Success Academy’s well-known programs. While there is no single way to find the best kindergarten for your child, talking to the school and listening to parents are great ways to start. Kidz Central Station spoke with Success Academy and with Success Academy parent Alpa Patel to ask some questions you might have. So, if you are wondering, “Is Success Academy right for my child?” or “Should I apply to a charter school in New York?”, read on.

Kidz Central Station: What makes Success Academy different from other charter schools and from other schools in general?

Success Academy: Success Academy schools are distinct from other schools in our firm commitment to progressive pedagogy and to educating the whole child. We believe deeply that doing is at the core of learning, and Success scholars receive only 80 minutes of direct instruction (teacher up front) throughout the day. The rest of the day is devoted to discussion, small-group instruction, and hands-on learning — including inquiry-based science five days a week beginning in kindergarten (our students carry out more than 100 experiments each year!).

Our scholars explore and create through arts, chess, sports, recess, board games, creative writing, and project-based learning — and for kindergartners, blocks play and choice time. We believe that schools vastly underestimate the capacity of each child to think and achieve at a high level. Giving scholars the opportunity to do the “intellectual heavy lifting” as they grapple with challenging, complex problems and ideas makes learning not only engaging and appealing, but also deep and lasting. This progressive approach cultivates in our scholars a true zest for learning, and prepares them for the rigor and independence needed to succeed in college and in life.

Kidz Central Station:  Why/how did you choose Success Academy for your child?

Success Academy Parent: This past year, we switched our son to Success Academy for 3rd grade. After attending K-2 at our zoned public school, he was unmotivated and disinterested in school and adopting lazy habits. We were frustrated with the lack of communication and feedback to parents. We had heard about Success Academy Union Square, which is in our neighborhood, from other local parents and knew of its reputation for academic rigor. At first, we were concerned that he might not be able to adapt to such a steep step up in standards, but we also knew he couldn’t continue on the apathetic path he was on. Kids accept challenges more easily than we think. Now, we wish we’d moved to Success Academy  sooner

Kidz Central Station: Describe the typical Success Academy student

Success Academy: There is no “typical” scholar at Success. Our curriculum and instruction are very rigorous, and at the same time our schools are designed to ensure that every child receives the support and attention they need to meet their full academic potential. We provide individualized supports to scholars who need them, and acceleration for scholars who are ready to skip ahead. We celebrate, and work hard to cultivate, the “ACTION” values of Agency, Curiosity, Try and Try, Integrity, Others, and No Shortcuts. Our scholars tend to work hard, treat each other with great kindness and respect, and have a real enthusiasm for learning.

Kidz Central Station:  What do you and/or your child like best about Success Academy?

Success Academy Parent: Our son constantly praises Success Academy when comparing to his old school. He enjoys being recognized for his achievements. He clearly understands what is expected of him and receives frequent updates on his progress. We like best that Success Academy has taught him to enjoy learning while understanding that school is important.

Kidz Central Station: We hear students take on advanced topics in early grades. Could you give some examples?

Success Academy: We introduce scholars to advanced ideas and concepts from a very young age through rich texts, complex problems, and purposeful discussions that help them make connections between their intuitive understanding and academic content. For example, any five-year-old can — with great precision — divide a cookie in equal parts to share with two friends. In kindergarten math, we introduce basic concepts of division and fractions through these kinds of real-world problems.

Our project-based learning (PBL) units use engaging topics to tap into scholars’ natural curiosity and push them towards advanced analysis and mastery. For example, during our second-grade Brooklyn Bridge PBL unit, scholars conduct experiments to learn the engineering principles behind bridge construction, build their own model suspension bridge, and paint the Brooklyn Bridge in art. In social studies, they read different historical accounts of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and debate the question of whether Emily Roebling was indeed the project’s chief engineer, as many historians now believe. They learn about labor and transportation conditions in New York City at the time the bridge was built, and write letters as 19th-century New Yorkers advocating for the bridge or for safer working conditions.

Kidz Central Station: What are kids reading in various grades?

Success Academy: Our approach to teaching literacy stems from our deep-seated belief that if children love reading and read exceptionally well, they can teach themselves anything. To that end, our literacy curriculum introduces scholars to great literature and emphasizes critical thinking, knowledge-building, and the thoughtful discussion of ideas.  Kids read and analyze poetry, biography, history, fiction, myths, and fables, and write copiously in a range of genres.

In kindergarten, titles include The Story of Ferdinand, Caps for Sale, and Corduroy; in third grade, they might read My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth, The Whipping Boy, and The Wizard of Oz. In fourth grade, titles include The Phantom Tollbooth, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, and The Rescuers. We are also passionate about poetry and by the end of fourth grade scholars have read poems by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou, Victor Hugo, and many others.

Kidz Central Station:  What is parent involvement like at Success Academy schools?

Success Academy Parent: If you have chosen Success Academy, then you will be involved in your child’s education. Many parents attend Community Circle meetings, volunteer as class parents, chaperone field trips, or meet with teachers to discuss schoolwork. We can text or email teachers and expect quick responses. When my son was sick one day, his teacher called and texted updates from the nurse’s office. Parents are accountable for their child’s homework completion and attendance. For example, my son’s class has been rewarded for 10 consecutive days of no absences or tardies a few times this year. And that takes dedication from parents.

Kidz Central Station: What is the one thing parents who are considering Success Academy should know, more than anything else?

Success Academy: Success Academy schools are truly joyful, celebratory houses of learning were scholars feel seen and loved. We place a huge emphasis on fun and silliness, and have regular, themed “spirit” days when scholars and teachers dress up as Dr. Seuss characters, superheroes, or 100-year-olds (to celebrate the 100th day of school). Days our peppered with dance parties, wiggle breaks, and celebrations of scholars who have displayed exemplary ACTION values like kindness to others and curiosity. Each class develops a strong identity as a team and community, striving to outdo other homerooms with class cheers, dances, and skits at Community Circle each week. This premium on joy and engagement informs our entire academic and co-curricular program. As our CEO puts it, “We believe that to fall in love with learning, schools have to be incredibly joyful places where kids are engaged, puzzled, and inspired every day. For that reason we prioritize things like chess, science five days a week, field studies, art, soccer, and music.”

Success Academy is currently accepting applications. The lottery deadline for the 2018-19 school year is April 1, 2018. Learn more and apply here.