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.

Off the Cuff Links:Play Forts

A collection of links on a random topic.

Forts are a great imagination-building activity for city kids on a cold winter day - or any day. Here's a collection of links to get your imagination going:

Wondertime (via nursery.apartmenttherapy) article featuring three different ways to build forts.

For the ambitious, check out MrMcGroovys awesome fort plans including instruction for cardboard castles and, perfect for city kids, skyscraper forts.

Playhut pop-up forts are perfect for apartment dwellers. One minute you have a suburban-style playroom, then fold it up, tuck it in the closet and nobody even knows you have kids.

For one dad's take on the fun of forts check out Ryan's Rage blog post, "Busy Hellions".

For more fort-building ideas pick up a copy of The Kid's Guide to Building Forts from Amazon.

Find more great activities like this in our Indoor Activities Guide.



An Overview of the NYC Preschool Admissions Game











To say there's a lot of hype around the preschool admissions process is an understatement of epic proportions. Anecdotal evidence regarding every aspect of the game flies back and forth across the playground like, well, children. While this post won't answer all your questions about preschool admissions, we hope it provides a solid overview.

While, for the most popular preschools, the admissions process can be very competitive because many more people apply than there are spots, outside of the most popular schools there are many other schools that one can easily find a spot in without having a nervous breakdown. The most difficult thing may be finding a spot in the exact program and schedule that you want, but if you can be flexible there are plenty of spots in very good schools.

Why are the most popular schools so sought after? One reason is that some of them are considered "feeder schools" for the most popular ongoing schools. Whether this is true is hotly debated. The truth is probably that it is partly true and partly not true. It is true that the directors of certain preschools have relationships with the directors of certain ongoing schools, but that does not necessarily mean that going to one of these "feeder schools" will give you a better chance of getting in to the ongoing school.

Move back to NYC when you're ready to have kids

Thank you, Greg Allen of DaddyTypes, for bringing our attention to Steve Johnson's response to David Brooks' Hipster Parent rant. Johnson does a nice job of dissecting the multiple layers of BS in the editorial, but what I am really happy about was his main point - that the big deal with the hipster parent movement is the choice to raise kids in the city.

I'm so glad that he said that because I do believe that is a big deal and he's really hit on the crux of the matter. As Johnson says, let's "see the forest for the t-shirts." This obviously isn't an issue of whether you put your kid in a Power Ranger or a Pogues shirt as it's been (constantly) purported to be by the press. However, families moving back in to the cities is a huge cultural phenomenon and will have strong ramifications on our country for years to come.

I followed a link in Johnson's post to another article he wrote for Babble about how raising kids in the city creates beautiful communities. This is a wonderful article, well written and feels so true to me. It brought back a lot of feelings that have faded from my consciousness, but really shaped how I feel about living in the city with kids and the choices we have made since.


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