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Inquiry-Based Learning is Front and Center at Blue School

What does it take to be named one of the most innovative schools in the entire world? Just ask the founders of New York City's Blue School, who actually co-created the performance art phenomenon Blue Man Group more than a decade before deciding to build an educational program that embodies that same boundless energy and rule-breaking creativity. Since it first entered the scene back in 2006, the independent school for two-year-olds through eighth grade has been named one of the thirteen most innovative global schools by Business Insider and one of just six selected by Wired magazine.

Located in lower Manhattan, the oh-so-modern Blue School campus is filled with unexpected spaces including a "Wonder Room," an Upcycling Center, and a double-height Materials Library. Meanwhile, thoughtfully designed classrooms; designated lab spaces for studio art, STEAM, science, music, and drama; a gymnasium and performing arts space; and the outdoor roof and terrace are all equally reflective of the school's mission to provide students with endless opportunities for collaboration, exploration, and self-expression. (You can see for yourself at an upcoming open house or admissions tour.) Across the campus, you'll find two-year-olds exploring materials by digging their toes into mounds of clay; third graders writing non-fiction pieces about Westward Expansion through the eyes of animals who bared witness; and fifth graders studying social justice through independent research into the unknown stories of known activists.

Free and Cheap After-School Programs for NYC Kids and Teens

Back-to-school season is also back-to-after-school season, as families look for enriching and fun programs for their children. There are tons of sports, arts, academics, and other kinds of classes for New York City kids, many of them reasonably priced. In fact, a handful of high-quality after-school programs are actually free or super inexpensive!

Some places, like the New York City Parks Department, offer after-school coverage Monday through Friday. Other programs only meet once or twice a week. We've rounded up 15 organizations that offer complimentary or reasonably-priced classes to kids and teens throughout the five boroughs.

These Great Bilingual and Language Immersion Preschools Make LA Tots Polyglots

We've all heard that children have a much easier time learning a second language than adults do, but it's not always easy to provide the opportunity. If a parent or grandparent speaks another language, having the language reinforced in a community setting can increase a child's interest in playing along. If there is no other language at home, a bilingual preschool may be the only way to give your child the gift of a second language. Immersion preschools can also help to prepare a child to attend one of LA's bilingual elementary schools

The schools below are organized by language; scroll to the bottom to see them on a map. (We know some great language immersion preschools in Orange County, too!)

52 School Lunch Ideas for Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat

Chances are that by now you've had some healthy, well-packed lunches delivered back into your hands virtually untouched at the school end of the day. There should be a special name for the heartbreak one endures at the words "I told you I hate peanut-butter and jelly," when not only is this the first you're hearing of it, but you spent extra money on organic jelly and freshly ground peanut butter. And if not PBJ, then what? Well, we've got 52 answers to that question!

Language Immersion and Bilingual Options in LA's Public Schools

There are a things kids can do better than adults: cartwheels and crawling under beds, for example. And then there's learning languages. Kids have a huge capacity for learning languages that will never be as powerful and flexible later on as it is in the early years, and an increasing number of parents are taking advantage of that window by sending their kids to bilingual and dual immersion schools (and preschools). Southern Californian families are lucky to have an unusually wide variety of public school options to support raising bilingual kids. At a time when gifted programs, arts programs, and extracurricular classes have been cut from public school budgets at an alarming rate, parents can still seek out an extra enriching curriculum by choosing language immersion.

The NYC Public School Calendar for 2018-2019

If you're a parent of a child in public school, you live by the school calendar. Even many local NYC preschools follow the public school schedule. As the first day of school in NYC approaches (Wednesday, September 5...but who's counting?) you'll want to bookmark the New York City Department of Education's calendar for the 2018-2019 school year.

Keep this list handy as you start making next year's family vacation plans! With the exception of the occasional unplanned snow day or case of the sniffles, these are all of the dates you can count on your kiddos being out of school.

How to Pick a Daycare That You Actually Love

Whether it's your first child or your third, finding the best daycare option for your family comes with its share of challenges. Most parents are looking at factors like cost, hours, location, safety, and child-teacher ratio, but of course, another major requirement is an environment that's warm, inviting, and family-friendly. While trying to find the perfect daycare can make any parent anxious, the relationships and beautiful memories you'll create as a family will make all the effort worthwhile.

To help guide your search for the right daycare, we reached out to childcare program directors, Mommy Poppins editors, teachers, and professional moms to collect their stories and consolidate their advice. These daycare veterans have had time to reflect on their choices, and are ready to share their wisdom and lessons learned, which, together with your area's Daycare Listings, can help you pick a daycare that you actually love.

Preschool Watchlist: 5 New NYC Preschools

Shopping around for a preschool program is a daunting task. At the top of your preschool criteria list are probably cost, location, and a good personality fit for your child, with class size and educational philosophy factored in as well. Fortunately New York City parents have a broad range of options when it comes to finding the right preschool fit. Interested in bilingual immersion, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia inspired, or a traditional preschool program? Are your goals for your child academic, social, learning through play, or all the above? Maybe your child has a love of nature you would like to see celebrated in an outdoor classroom

Our Preschool Guide is a resource that can help you find the perfect preschool for your child. Below we've highlighted a few preschools that are new to the MommyPoppins Preschool Directory to add to your watchlist.

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