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.

Under the Radar Preschool: The Downtown Little School

See updated information about The Downtown Little School in our Preschool Directory.

The Downtown Little School is old school. By that I mean it reminds me of what nursery or preschools were like before they became the first step to getting your child into Harvard. The program focuses on the social development. The school claims not to focus on academics, but, perhaps unavoidably, many activities teach counting and pre-reading skills). Children in the 2s start out with separation, potty training, etc and later, "Me." The 3s study "My Family," the 4s "Growing Up." Basically they play with blocks, paint, do clay, and dress-up while learning about how to be part of a community. You know, old-school preschool stuff.

City Alphabet Books:Required Reading for the Urban Diaper Set

The urban blogging parents at Sweet Juniper have upped the ante on urban alphabet books. (via apartmenttherapy) Avoiding the trite apples and boa constrictors, they didn't just set the alphabet in the city, but used urban graffiti of hipster parent appropriate images. Look for H is for Homeless, I is for Icarus, and J is for Jew.They just did this for themselves, but due to popular demand, have made copies available for purchase via lulu, the self-publishing site.

Inspired, Mommy Poppins sought out the other great Urban Alphabet Books:

Washington Market Preschool

Washington Market School is the most polarizing preschool downtown. Some love it. Some hate it. And some probably love it and hate it at the same time. It's the only preschool in Lower Manhattan with a buzz. Search on urbanbaby and you will find parents posting controversy, sniping, praise, questions and confusion. One of the things that sets this school apart is its place in the "preschool as stepping stone for getting your kid into private elementary school" sport. It's not really clear that the school will make your chances of getting into a private school better, but it's the only one in Lower Manhattan that plays the game.

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