A new kind of preschool will open in Brooklyn next year, serving children between 6 weeks and 5 years old—a “cradle-to-kindergarten” model for children in poor neighborhoods, says the New York Times.
The school is known as Educare, and the approach has already proven effective in 17 other cities, says the paper.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the city is proposing to house Educare at the current site of P.S. 41, in Brownsville, and will enroll from 115 to 135 children.
“Our goal is to have every city kid arrive in kindergarten ready and prepared for a lifetime of success,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference at the New York Public Library on Monday.
The program, he said, “has proven very effective in preparing academically at-risk children for success in the school, helping to close the achievement gap and break cycles of poverty.”
With the Educare model, children are broken into classes by age group, with staffng ratios also set by age. With the youngest children, one of the first things teachers do is to hold them and talk to them while looking into their eyes, says the paper.
Walcott also announced on Monday that the city would convert 4,000 half-day prekindergarten seats into full-day seats, mostly in poor neighborhoods next fall. This would help working parents who can’t pick up their children during the day.
The cost of the pre-k expansion will cost the city $20 million, officials said on Monday. The city will also earmark $10 million to set up Educare, though private foundations are expected to contribute, as well.