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Rad Women and Civil Rights Heroes: Children's Books for Right Now

By Gwen Glazer, recommendations librarian in the Readers Services unit of the New York Public Library.

Fred Rogers’ famous advice to "always look for the helpers" has never seemed more important. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville and beyond, parents may be looking for ways to engage their children with the social justice efforts—and also to talk about positive examples of activism and leadership.

We put together a list of 13 books for a wide range of children, from picture books for toddlers to nonfiction series for middle schoolers. These books address some of the most familiar human- and civil-rights leaders, like Malala and Gandhi, as well as some lesser-known activists who deserve more attention. All of them inspired others to create change in the world around them.

Which Preschool? NYC Parents Spill on How They Found 'The One'

When it comes time to choose a preschool for your NYC kid, especially the first child, the decision can seem daunting. What if you pick wrong and she hates it? What if you hate it? What if he won’t get the leg up you’re hoping for at this school? What if...what if...what if….?

At the time, it might even feel like the biggest parenting decision you’ve made to date, besides perhaps where to give birth or which pediatrician would care for your new baby. Seasoned parents, however, will tell you: It’ll be OK. 

Trust your gut—and it’ll be OK—and if it’s not, switch, or there’s always next year!

Don’t take my word for it, though. Here are four NYC parents who have been through the sometimes agonizing process of picking out a preschool and are now sharing their stories on how they whittled down the choices, selected a school, and made it on to pre-K and kindergarten without losing their...marbles. 

Léman Manhattan Launches a New "Grown-Up and Me" Toddler Program

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has been serving preschoolers in downtown Manhattan for the past twelve years, but parents of even littler learners will be happy to hear there's a brand new toddler program in town. Developed by the school's experienced early childhood educators, Léman Explorers is a “grown-up and me” class that aims to give children ages 16 months to 3 years old the skills and confidence they need for preschool and beyond.

Learn in the Great Outdoors at NJ Nature Preschools and Programs for Kids

As schools across the country cut recess in favor of test prep, and kids spend more time indoors staring at screens, there is a growing movement to reacquaint children with nature, free play, and the joy of exploring the great outdoors. Modeled after the forest kindergartens that have long been popular in Germany and Scandinavia, nature-based preschools, kindergartens, and other outdoor programs for young children are popping up all over the U.S., including New Jersey.

In these programs, children examine flora and fauna, climb trees, make art, splash in streams, play with mud, count sticks, sing, listen to stories, and more. Proponents of outdoor learning point to its many benefits, saying it can improve cognitive function and physical health, boost confidence and empathy, and even counter symptoms of ADHD. 

The Garden State offers a variety of options, from preschool programs that take place entirely outdoors to more traditional schools that place a premium on spending time outside. There are even parent-and-child classes, so grown-ups can get in on the fun, too. All promote child-led, unstructured play as a means to spark curiosity and foster learning and a love of nature. 

To find more opportunities for outdoor learning and exploration, check out NJ's great nature centers, and for a comprehensive selection of classes of all kinds, take a look at our guide to Classes and Enrichment Programs for NJ Kids

Affordable Preschools in Southeast Houston

In what seems like the blink of an eye, first smiles, first words, and first birthdays fly by leading up to one of the biggest firsts of all: The first day of preschool! So many factors play a prime role in determining what is best for a family when it comes to choosing a preschool. Price is definitely a major consideration that many families must make. Finding the perfect place for your little one to call their home away from home for a few hours a day can prove to be just a bit overwhelming…but it doesn't have to be. To make this big decision just a little easier, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite affordable preschools in Southeast Houston.

After-School Registration Now Open for Free NYC Program

We've told you all about the lottery for free kid activities and swimming classes operated by the NYC Parks Department, but did you know it also has you covered after school? Registration for the FREE after-school program run by the Parks Department opened on August 16, 2017 for NYC kids ages 6 to 13, and we've got details on what the program offers and how to sign up.

Find more after-school options in the Mommy Poppins Classes Guide.

10 Montessori Preschools for Long Island Kids

The days are long, but the years are short. Before you know it, it’s time for your little one to spread his or her wings and head off to preschool.

There are many preschool options on Long Island and choices can be overwhelming. But if you’ve decided a Montessori preschool is a good fit for your child, we’ve put together a list of 10 options to get you started on a search.

For the uninitiated, Montessori is an educational philosophy developed more than a century ago that encourages kids to be independent and learn at their own pace. Typically students are grouped by ability rather than age, classrooms are outfitted with specific learning materials, and specially trained teachers act as observers and facilitators.  

Take advantage of the tours and open houses these schools offer and bring along your child so he or she can get a feel for the school as well. For more learning opportunities for Long Island kids, check out our classes and enrichment guide.

School Start and End Dates: 2017-18 Academic Year Calendars for Houston-Area Schools

The greater Houston area is home to many, many school districts. And the nature of being a Houstonian means you have at least one friend or family member who lives in a different district than you. It's always handy to have school dates on hand, so bookmark this page for the 2017-18 academic calendars and start and end dates for the area's 31 school districts.

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