Tag Archives: preschool

The First Day of Preschool: Preparing your Child for Success

first-day-preschool

By Pam Wolf, Founder & CEO, NY Kids Club

Preschool is a significant milestone, and as a parent it’s natural to feel conflicted. You want your child to transition and acclimate successfully, but there is always pain in change and in parting. As a mother of four, I faced many moments like these! Here are some helpful tips for preparing your child to enter a new world with confidence and excitement.

Keep it light.
Though you may not know it, children can easily sense when their parents are overwhelmed, anxious or frustrated. If you are uneasy, your child will determine that she should also be uneasy. You hold all the power when it comes to her perception of school, so implement a strategy to manage your stress and hers. Be calm and easy when you talk about school. Be positive and steady as you set out to prepare her in the weeks leading up to the first day. Remember that you are her rock, and she will likely mirror the example you set.

Act it out.
Prepare your child in the weeks leading up to the first day of school by previewing what he can expect. Act out scenarios taking turns in the roles of child, parent and teacher. Here are a few fun things to practice together:

• Taking off and hanging your coat
• Saying goodbye to Mommy or Daddy
• Eating lunch from a lunchbox
• Reading stories (about preschool, if possible!)
• Singing songs
• Taking naps
• Playing outside

Also be sure to rehearse picking him up from school so he will understand that the day has an endpoint. Acting out these skills and routines is also an opportunity to answer his questions and reassure him that preschool is a safe place to learn and grow.

Pay a visit.
Take your child to visit her school and meet her teachers before the program begins. (This is a great time to ask questions of your own and learn how to better prepare her.) You may also want to arrange a few play dates before school starts to create a positive association.

Set new routines.
You want to work smarter, not harder. Two to three weeks before school starts, begin to alter your weekday routine to resemble the routine of the school year. You may think you want to savor those last few weeks by preserving your normal schedule, but you’re making more work for yourself in the long run! Here are some suggestions for getting organized and making the transition less jarring:

• Go school shopping for a backpack, just the two of you. If possible, let him choose it to empower him as “big kid” starting preschool.
• Label the backpack and other loose items (lunchbox, jacket, etc.) with his name and his teacher’s name in permanent marker.
• If your child takes medication on a daily basis, contact the school and take care of the paperwork in advance.
• Know how your child will be getting to and from school. If you have arranged for afterschool help from a neighbor, caregiver or friend, be sure your child understands how he’ll be cared for.
• Change “summer bedtime” to an earlier “school bedtime.” Healthy sleep habits will help him adjust to a school schedule before it starts, which is much nicer for you.
• Establish a special but simple “goodbye” routine. I found I could minimalize separation anxiety by blowing three kisses to one of my children, while another wanted me to sing a few lines of his favorite song. Whatever it is, make sure your child plays a part in creating this comforting coping mechanism.

Watch and listen.
Be on the lookout for verbal and nonverbal signs of worry in your child. She may be especially nervous the night before school, so keep things light and relaxed. Be sure she goes to bed on time, and let her pick out the clothes she will wear to save time in the morning. Before bed, try to talk about something other than school.

If she expresses any worry, listen, don’t dismiss. Let her know that her feelings are completely normal—you might even share a story about a time you felt worried and how you got through it. By allowing her to share her fears, you can walk her through them and show her how to deal with them. (Try this great list of phrases to help calm an anxious child.)

Make your exit.
Plan to stay for 15-20 minutes while your child acclimates to the classroom. When he starts to relax, it’s time to go! If he doesn’t seem comfortable, ask a teacher to stay with him when you leave so that an adult will be there to support him. It will be hard, but try to resist the urge to come back if you hear him cry. Responding to his distress by reappearing sends the message that he can’t be happy if you’re not there. Preschool teachers are experts at helping children adapt to school, and you can help make their work easier by not lingering.

Best of luck in the coming school year, and above all, remember to stay positive. Your child’s new routine will feel natural soon enough!

From the Enrichment Experts at NY Kids Club:

Pamela Wolf founded the NY Kids Club and NY Preschool in September of 2001, which have grown to become the premiere enrichment centers for children two months to12 years. Ms. Wolf has been recognized as a Business Mentor of the Year, Best Entrepreneur, and one of the top female entrepreneurs of the year by Entrepreneur magazine. Ms. Wolf’s extensive business background and simultaneous experience as a mother of four have allowed the NY Kids Club to successfully expand to sixteen locations in New York and twelve in China. The company received INC 500/5000 list recognition in 2014. Of the several successful businesses Pamela Wolf has owned in New York, she is most proud of the NY Kids Club.

A Top-Notch Preschool Pick for NYC Kids: NY Preschool

standard_IMG_3177-5We’re excited to announce a brand new program on Kidz Central StationNY Preschool! With 13 locations throughout NYC, there are some great options for preschool age kids (and pre- preschool age kids!) in every neighborhood to learn, grow, and gain independence in a warm, nurturing environment. All programs incorporate what the school calls its “three pillar” curriculum: traditional academics, the arts, and physical education; and kids are exposed to a wide range of activities throughout the year, including Spanish, art, dance, chess, yoga, gymnastics, and cooking. These fun activities help each child form his or her individual interests and bring excitement to each day!

Interested in a program for your child for the 2016-2017 school year? Here’s a snapshot of each of NY Preschool’s programs by age:

Pre-2s. This program is a gem because it offers separation for kids younger than two—which can be very hard to find in NYC! Meeting two or three days a week for up to two hours a day, the Pre-2s focuses on sensory and social development. There’s also an emphasis on developing literacy skills, which is fostered through story time, music, movement, and theater. Science and math are also introduced, and kids improve verbal, social, and fine motor skills through imaginative art projects and an energetic, musical circle time that delves into the world around them. After a year of this they’ll be ready for the real deal—it’s the perfect first preschool experience!

2s. Also focusing on sensory and social development, the 2s program incorporates art, gym, and music into each child’s experience. Parents can choose to send their children two, three, or five days a week, and each session is three hours long—lots of flexibility here! Teachers also emphasize language development through stories, music, movement, and theater, as well as fundamental math skills through numbers, shapes, sorting, and ordering exercises. The 2s enjoy circle time too, and build self-confidence and body awareness throughout the year, so they’ll all be ready for the next year of fun!

3s. Like the 2s, the 3s program offers classes two, three, or five days a week for three hours each, so you can choose whatever fits your child’s busy schedule! The innovative curriculum strengthens social, intellectual, and physical skills through language, math, science, social studies, gymnastics, dance, and art, and teachers focus on language and literacy development through letter recognition, phonemic awareness, expressive and receptive language, oral language comprehension, and print concepts. And don’t forget math! Through block building and puzzle and pattern activities, kids learn to problem solve and gain a broader understanding of the world around them.

standard_Copy_of_Copy_of_NYKids0914s. At four years old, children attend NY Preschool five days a week for five to six hours a day. This gives them the opportunity to develop confidence and a love of learning and prepare for the world beyond preschool! Social and intellectual learning is strengthened through lessons in physical science, social studies, gymnastics, dance, and art, and teachers further reinforce and build on language, literacy, and math skills learned in the 3s. Beyond the regular day-to-day curriculum, 4s also attend specialty enrichment classes taught by professional instructors! These classes really bring out each child’s individual interests and include lessons in cooking, gymnastics, sports, dance, music, and yoga.

Bestof16smallAll programs are taught by highly trained teachers who create an environment that kids can’t wait to come to every day—it makes us wish we could go too!

Note that program offerings vary by location. For more information about NY Preschool, check out all available programs here!

3 NYC Preschool Programs You Must Check Out

If you were counting on Universal Pre-K for your child next year and it didn’t work out, or if you have a two- or three-year-old ready to try out a preschool program in September, we’ve got you covered! Search Kidz Central Station  by our preschool category, and you’ll find some fantastic preschool options for 2015–2016. Lucky for you these programs still have spots available—but probably not for long! Here are three fantastic NYC preschool programs we recommend for kids in NYC.


standard_IMG_1106City Tots.
 This brand new, state-of-the art facility on the Upper East Side has everything. Not only does City Tots’ offerings include enrichment classes, birthday parties, and open play for kids of all ages, but they also have a preschool program for little ones 18 months up to five years old. They foster a love of learning though a curriculum that focuses on social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development, with an emphasis on language and communications skills and self-help skills and work habit. City Tots also partners with several NYC private schools to help ready families for child’s education post preschool.

standard_wee-ones-clu-three-kidsWee Ones Club. You may know this favorite Murray Hill enrichment program for its mommy and me classes for kids as young as four months old, but Wee Ones Club also has a preschool program for two-, three-, and four-year-olds that provides the same warm and nurturing environment as its beloved classes. Through play-based, hands-on experiences, teachers work with kids on simple concepts such as separation from caregivers, self help skills, and health and nutrition (including hygiene). They also focus on social/emotional development, building confidence, language and literacy, and more!

standard_ab1Aleph Bet. Another Murray Hill favorite, Aleph Bet not only provides children with a warm and nurturing environment in which to grow and develop, but also focuses on Jewish education and giving children the opportunity to learn about their heritage and Jewish traditions and holidays. With three-day and five-day options available for two-, three-, and four-year olds, kids will enjoy an advanced curriculum for pre-reading and writing skills, play time outdoors, fun daily activities (music, soccer, dance, yoga, and baking), and more!

See a full listing of preschool programs for the 2015-2106 school year here!

NYC’s Best Summer Programs for Kids are Here!

Yesterday marked the first day of June and the beginning of the summer season (ok, the first day of summer is June 21 but we’re definitely not counting). Many new classes and camps in NYC are starting this week and throughout the month, and there are lots of summer programs for kids of all ages, whether your little one is dying to get outside for soccer in the park or hit the gym for tumbling and strengthening. See some of our summer picks below, and check out Kidz Central Station for a full variety of classes!

standard_Teeny_Tumblers_2Jodi’s Gym. This Upper East Side program has it all when it comes to gymnastics for little ones. These weekly classes will get kids running, jumping, singing, and tumbling all summer long, and offer just the right exercises and activities for every age and skill level. There are three different summer sessions available to accommodate busy summer schedules, and classes are for kids age eight months to five years. The first session of summer starts this week!

Evolution Enrichment Center. Whether you’re looking for summer drop-in classes or a weekly camp for preschool-age kids, Evolution Enrichment Center has it all. Classes include unique offerings such as Science Ninjas, Yoga, Jewelry Design, and their signature class, Rhythmic Gymnastics, or you can opt for their Preschool Summer Program, which includes a variety of these fun activities as well as daily lunch for campers. Starts June 29.

Kids ‘n Codingelementary school students in computer class. In today’s world, coding is an important skill to have, and the earlier you learn it, the better off you are. Kids ‘n Coding is a great kids’ coding program located in downtown NYC, where your little ones can get a leg up and learn all of the coding basics. During the month of July, the program is offering two one-week sessions for kids as young as six years old on Coding Robots—basically a step-by-step coding intro through fun games and activities with robots!

Music for Aardvarks. Music is always super fun for kids, but when it’s outdoors during summer in one of NYC’s beautiful parks it’s even better! Music for Aardvarks’s summer session of outdoor music classes starts June 23, and it includes the same singing, dancing, instrument jam sessions, and music storytelling found in all of their upbeat classes. You can find them everywhere from uptown in Central Park to Rockefeller Park in Tribeca, and there are tons of times available so you’re sure to find one that works.

Tennis Innovatorstennis boy. The perfect choice for sport-loving kids, Tennis Innovators’ Summer Camp session not only includes tennis lessons (with stroke development, private instruction, fun drills, and games), but its daily schedule also incorporates soccer, basketball, and baseball on nearby outdoor fields! Camp starts June 15 and runs through September 4, and parents can register kids for weekly sessions in the morning, afternoon, or all day long!

Wait, there’s more! Visit Kidz Central Station and search summer programs by age, location, date, neighborhood, and more!