Are Their Privates Still Top Tier If They Have VD?

For parents who are clawing to get their children admitted to NYC Top Tier private school Horace Mann, $300,000 (a conservative approximation of 12 years of tuition) is nothing compared to the value of providing their children with an elite education, safe from the baser elements they might face in NYC public schools. While these parents are imagining their children ensconced in the crГѓВЁme de la crГѓВЁme of New York, noses buried in Chaucer, happily dreaming of their Ivy League careers, they are blissfully unaware of the nightmare the parents of Horace Mann seniors are currently facing.

Useful links for school hunts

In NYC we suffer a wealth of choices when it comes to schools. Whether you're looking for a preschool or a high school for your kid, there are so many schools to choose from, just thinking about it will make your head spin. And where do you begin? How do you find that one school out there that is the perfect one for your child? Mommy Poppins has put together a list of useful resources to help you navigate the twisting and turning road of New York schools. We hope it's helpful. If you have one you'd like to add, leave a comment or let us know.

Are Parents Opting Out of Preschool?

The NY Sun illuminates a new twist to preschool admissions madness (via daddytypes) by pointing out the apparent trend to supply resumes and custom DVDs of your toddler with their preschool application. They then go on to destroy the tactic with several preschool personnel weighing in on how this would essentially get your application disqualified.

The article doesn't hold any big surprises. Any sane human being should be able to figure out that preschools are not looking for toddlers to have media kits and that this is precisely the type of showing off that turns people off. (see Are First Choice Letters Nuts?)

What was interesting was the proclamation that parents are skipping preschool all together just to avoid the madness of the application process:

Day Tripping: Explore Northern Central Park

Just in time for the weather to warm up a little this weekend, we're taking a recess from posting about schools just long enough to send you out on an exciting field trip to Central Park.

You and the kids have trammeled every inch of Manhattan's Central Park, or so you think. Bored of the zoo, outgrown the carousel. If you've never ventured to the northern extremes of Central Park, you are in for a surprise. Four trains (the B,D and 2/3) stop right on the border of the park making access easy, just exit the train and walk right in to the park. Inside you'll find rustic woods, rock formations, streams and ponds, formal gardens, historic military ruins, seasonal swimming, fishing or ice skating, plus ball fields and playgrounds - more than enough activities to keep you busy for a full day. It's like a cross between the Catskills and Chelsea Piers.

Under-the-Radar Preschool: Educational Alliance Preschool

We received this Reader -Submitted Review for the Educational Alliance Preschool, but it's such an excellent under -the-radar preschool that we wanted to include it, with a little bit more background from the Mommy Poppins team.

If you would you like to review your child’s preschool or ongoing school, send it to Mommy Poppins. Or, if you have additional thoughts or questions for our readers about Education Alliance Preschool, leave a comment below.

The Educational Alliance is an organization which runs the Sol Goldman 14th Street Y and many other community centers, including two preschools. In addition to the Educational Alliance Preschool that our reader reviews below, they run the Gani Preschool which is located on 14th Street in Manhattan. Children at both schools learn Jewish studies, but the schools are very diverse and have many non-Jewish kids as well.

The Education Alliance is a very well-respected preschool in Education circles. I have first hand experience of hearing an ongoing preschool Director make an exception for a student based on the recommendation from the Preschool Director at the Ed Alliance - isn't that the holy grail for preschools? The Educational Alliance Preschools definitely fall into the Under-the-Radar Preschool category.

Reader-Submitted Preschool Review: Chelsea Day School

A Mommy Poppins reader who has a child at the school has submitted this preschool review for Chelsea Day School on 14th Street. It's not under-the-radar preschool by any means, but it is a wonderful school worth looking into for your children.

If you would you like to review your child’s preschool or ongoing school, send it to Mommy Poppins. Or, if you have additional thoughts or questions for our readers about Chelsea Day, leave a comment below.

Chelsea Day is a fabulous preschool, held together by its principle, Jean Rosenberg, with some exceptional teaching staff. Unfortunately it too is in the ranks of the "very difficult" to get in to. But its certainly worth trying.

Best Educational Toys for NYC Kids

Nowadays it seems like every hunk of plastic they sell at a toy store is marked educational. Sure, LeapFrog Toys are probably good and all that (I don't know if they'll teach your kid to read or anything), but what a NYC kid really needs is toys that will teach him to survive and thrive in the City. So Mommy Poppins' intrepid shoppers have gone out to find some of the best educational toys for NYC kids.

Reader-Submitted Review: Merricat's Castle Nursery School

A Mommy Poppins reader who has a child at the school has submitted this preschool review for Merricat's Castle Nursery School on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. If you would you like to review your child's preschool or ongoing school, send it to Mommy Poppins. Or, if you have additional thoughts or questions for our readers about Merricat's Castle, leave a comment below.

Merricat's Castle Nursery School, located in uptown Manhattan, is an integrated school - meaning they have kids with special needs mixed in with kids who are developmentally on track. The school has an exceptional staff - having experienced 3 NYC preschools, Merricat's Castle Nursery School wins for the most consistently warm, fun and smart staff. My child LOVES his preschool.

Under-the-Radar Preschool: Children's International Workshop

For some reason all-day schools are not considered in the same category as preschools with shorter programs. It seems the fewer hours your child is allowed to spend at a preschool, the more cachГѓВ© the school has. Perhaps it's the theory that if you're paying more for less, it must be good. Or maybe it's that the kids just don't have enough time at school for anything to happen that could make you not like it. But, most likely it's because all-day schools are often seen as daycare - which has become a dirty word in NYC parenting circles. (Newsflash: sending your child to daycare, instead of keeping them at home with and full-time nanny and paying $15K for a couple hours of preschool is considered neglect in some NYC circles.) But, of course, this is just nonsense and there are some wonderful all-day preschools that parents are really missing out on if they overlook them.

One we particularly like is The Children's International Workshop on Union Square. Located in a sunny, open loft with large windows facing North - children learn colors from the lights on the Empire State Building - the space has a lively, homey energy.

A Better Lunchbox to Inspire Better Lunches

I'm pretty much convinced that kids can live on peanut butter alone, which is good since creating new lunches for the kids every morning while you're trying to do ten million other things is hard enough. But, there's a neat product I've been eying, called laptop lunches, that could make lunch duty a little easier.

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