Jeff's blog

News: Free Comic Books, Free e-reader Rentals, Wildflowers, New Zoo Animals and Godspell Auditions for NYC Kids

It's back to school this week and ironically, we have no school news this time around. Instead, we've got the scoop on new zoo animals, including one seriously coo-worthy giraffe, free comic books, toy recycling and more. Plus one scary article that struck fear into my heart about 10-year-olds and puberty, two things that definitely should not go together.

News: Carousels Reopen, Tribeca Film Festival, High Line Expansion, and Nannies for the 1%

Spring has sprung and we've got several great reasons to get outside with your kids, including the arrival of carousel season, the rebirth of outdoor New York Philharmonic concerts, a clever new public art installation, the chance to see hidden wonders in the harbor, and a handful of free family events as part of the Tribeca Film Fest.

There's also exciting news in the air as The High Line's stage 3 plans have been unveiled and a year-round ice skating rink has been proposed uptown.

Notable News: New Baby Movie Matinee, First Day of School Set for Fall and E.B. White Schools Us on Schooling

If you've got a kid in elementary school, happy parent-teacher conference week! Of course the students aren't the only ones being evaluated. In this edition of our biweekly links roundup, we highlight one teacher's reaction to his rating and a really cool op-ed that makes the case against testing by quoting a beloved E.B. White book.

We've also got the scoop on a cool new public art exhibition, a new baby movie matinee, the first day of school in September and what's blooming at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Notable News: NYC Teacher Ratings, Why Boys Should Play with Dolls, School Supply Drive

So... have you looked up your kid's teacher's rating yet? It feels like that's all public school parents and teachers and principals and newspapers are talking about these days. (All kids are talking about is having to go back to school after break. Perspective is everything.)

In addition to lots of links with different takes on the release of the teacher rankings, we've got info on a new elementary school in Williamsburg, a downtown school supply drive, a fresh debate over teacher evaluations (different than ratings, stick with me here) and a handy solution for the city's out-of-date school zoning maps.

Notable News: School Closings, New Chocolate Shop, Why the French Are Better Parents Than We Are

What is it with all the closings? Last time it was Moomah. Now it's a bunch of schools (18 to be exact).

But not all the news is grim. We've got the scoop on a sweet new chocolate shop on the Upper West Side (the perfect go-to spot if you need a last-minute Valentine's Day gift today), autism-friendly Broadway matinees and a family lawsuit with a number that rivals our national debt.

Notable News: Moomah and Southpaw Closing, Refillable Unlimited MetroCards, Annual Winter Jam Canceled Due to Lack of Winter

This month we've lost a number of venues we've recently written about, like Park Slope's PSbkln and Perch Cafe, and Times Square's Mars 2112. Now we hear Moomah, which we just featured in our roundup of restaurants where kids can play, is also shutting its doors, as is Park Slope's Southpaw. All these closures are bringing up our abandonment issues.

Not all the news this week is bad. We also have info on a free elementary school admissions seminar, a new charter school in the Bronx and a change that will result in a lot less MetroCard waste.

Notable News: Massive Cuts to After-School Programs, Redefining Autism, Unhealthy Food Fight, Join the Circus

We usually do these links posts once every two weeks, but so many stories caught our eye over the past seven days, we couldn't wait to share.

This batch is heavy on education-related news, including a stomach-churning breakdown of public school lunches, major budget cuts to after-school programs and a new definition of autism that could change available services.

Before you grab a bottle of aspirin (or vodka), not all of the news is bad. We've also got info on a new Montessori that's open 24/seven, the annual Doodle 4 Google competition and an open call for young circus performers—and we're not clowning around.

Notable News: Kindergarten Applications, Birth Styles of the Rich and Famous, New NYC Attractions for Kids

January is a time for new beginnings, and we've got a bunch of those in this installment of our biweekly news roundup. We have info on a new Williamsburg play space, a new start for an old museum, a cool new iPad app for creative kids, and a new celebrity baby whose birth created quite a stir. (Unless the cold is giving you a serious brain freeze, we're sure you know who we're talking about...but did you hear what our Mayor said about the whole controversy?) Plus, kindergarten applications, breastfeeding on TV and a little boy who needs your help.

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