The Observer’s Rankings of New York’s TOP 160 Schools of 2012

This past Monday morning, I arrived early at my desk to begin my regular, post-weekend ritual—putting my things away, checking the phone messages, reading my emails.  The first email I came upon was from a member of our school building’s condo board; some of you know that I have served on the Maritime’s condo board since CHP took ownership of our school space in 2004.  The email concluded with a congratulatory message—for being named the fifth-best preschool in New York City, as ranked by The New York Observer’s Scooter magazine.  I promptly emailed a thank-you and decided to find out what this news was all about!  Before logging off my email to start investigating, I received another another email message, saying that I could find a stack of the New York Observer Scooter magazines in the building’s lobby.

Magazine in hand, I found out that the New York Observer had ranked 160 of the top preschool, elementary, middle and high schools, both public and private, from the thousands of schools in New York City.  The Observer described its readership as based in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so the final list emphasizes these boroughs.  Schools were ranked on six dimensions:  buildings and facilities, faculty, culture and arts, curriculum, family involvement and athletics.  Rankings were compiled with the consultation of over 80 experts - school coaches, educational professionals and activist parents.  I was so proud to see that CHP was rated fifth overall on the list of preschools, with an “A” in all categories and an “A+” in Culture/Arts and Curriculum.

As an introduction to the list of preschool rankings, the title page read:

Preschools--They’re entrance points for the competitive world of NYC schools.  But for now, play-based, good times rule.  These are the schools you’ll want your littlest ones to attend to begin building the blocks towards higher education.

You can find the complete list of rankings here.

A big thank-you to the entire CHP community, past and present, for making our school what it is – a place where “play-based, good times rule!”

Carol’s Wall—Asking Questions to a REAL Author!

We have been enjoying a series of books by Kate and Jim McMullan.  Recently, I was lucky enough to make a connection with Kate.  I thought the children might like to send a letter to ask a real author about her book, I Stink.  Kate was kind enough to send a prompt reply, isn’t that just wonderful!  Here is the children’s letter and Kate’s reply.

 

Kate's Reply:

Hi Carol -
Happy to answer your kids' questions - I'll do it in caps below.
~K

 

The Children's Letter with Kate's Reply:

May 4, 2012

Dear Kate,

We love your book, I Stink.  It was stinky good! We have some questions and comments for you:

 

Comments about the book: (What the children wanted you to know)

" I have three garbage cans at my house."

 THREE! THAT MAKES THE STINKY TRUCK VERY HAPPY!

 

"A garbage truck comes to my house to pick up and it's not too stinky."

OH…THAT'S GOOD. YOU MUST BE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ROUTE.

 

"When we are awake, there are garbage trucks on the other side of the world working."  (Isn't this an AMAZING comment from 4 year old!)

THAT IS SO TRUE, AND I'D NEVER THOUGHT OF IT LIKE THAT. THANK YOU!

 

"I loved this book and I liked it too."

I'M GLAD YOU LIKED IT AND LOVED IT!

 

Questions for Kate:

"Why does the garbage truck eat with his back, not with his mouth?  Kate, I know you know why garbage trucks eat this way."

THAT'S JUST HOW TRUCKS ARE SET UP, WITH THE HOPPER IN THE BACK.  IF THE TRUCK OPENED UP HIS MOUTH REALLY, REALLY WIDE, YOU WOULDN'T SEE HIS TONSILS, YOU'D SEE HIS ENGINE.

 

"Why is your book so yucky-poo-poo?  Your book was very ewwwww when I saw the dirty diaper!"

WELL, WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU THROW INTO THE GARBAGE? SOME OF THEM ARE SORT OF YUCKY, RIGHT?  I'LL TELL YOU A SECRET -- WHEN I SAW THE WAY JIM (Jim is Kate’s husband and the book’s illustrator) DREW THE DIRTY DIAPER, I THOUGHT, YUCK!

 

"Do you know Kate, why does trash stink?"

BECAUSE WHEN FOOD ROTS, IT GIVES OFF GAS AND THAT'S WHAT SMELLS. BILLY AND EARL, OUR SANITATION WORKERS (Kate followed real NYC sanitation workers before she wrote the book) , TOLD US THAT THE HUMAN NOSE CAN SMELL A BAD SMELL FOR A FEW MINUTES, AND THEN THE SMELL FADES AWAY. THEY ARE VERY GLAD THEIR NOSES WORK THIS WAY SO THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO SMELL GARBAGE FOR VERY LONG.

 

"Why does the truck roar?"

THE ROARING IS THE ENGINE REVVING WHEN IT'S POWERING THE CRUSHER BLADE, WHICH COMPACTS THE TRASH.

 

"Why does the garbage truck say "STOP" at the end of the story?"

THE TRUCK SAYS 'STOP' WHEN ITS HOPPER IS FULL AND HE NEEDS THE CRUSHER BLADE TO COMPACT IT SO HE HAS ROOM FOR MORE.

 

"Why did the barge carry the garbage?  Where does it go?"

NEW YORK CITY GARBAGE IS SOMETIMES TAKEN BY BARGE TO UPSTATE OR TO NEW JERSEY OR OTHER PLACES. SOMETIMES IT IS TAKEN BY TRUCK TO A LANDFILL.

THERE IS TOO MUCH GARBAGE. WE ALL NEED TO CUT DOWN ON HOW MUCH WE THROW AWAY!

 

It's good and funny, we really love your book.

Love,

Your friends at the Cobble Hill Playschool

PS.   Please write back and write a bunch more books. 

 

THANK YOU! I LOVED YOUR QUESTIONS. THEY MADE ME THINK ABOUT THAT GARBAGE TRUCK.  OUR LATEST BOOK IS, I'M FAST!

IT’S ABOUT A RACE BETWEEN A FREIGHT TRAIN AND A RACE CAR. IT ISN'T YUCKY AT ALL AND NOW WE ARE WORKING ON A BOOK ABOUT A FIRE ENGINE.

IT'S GOING TO BE CALLED, I'M BRAVE!

YOUR FRIEND,
KATE MCMULLAN

 

Hi Kate,

Thank you so much for your prompt email reply.  My students will be so excited that you wrote them back!

One more thing--I have a little "Carol's Wall" on our school website where I post all kinds of classroom related things.  I would love the parents to see what the children wrote to you and what your responses were.  I would like to post the letters but I will not do that without your permission.  If it is alright with you to put your reply on our website, please let me know.

On a personal note, I am quite excited about your new projects and cannot wait to read your new books to my students!  We just LOVE race cars, trains and the FDNY!

With my kindest regards,

Carol


 

From Kate:

Carol, post away! (hope no typos!)

I had fun responding to such great questions!

~ K

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

On May 2nd, the CHP Cooperative Community Support committee (thank you Rose Kob!) with the help of local Kindergarten teachers (thank you Carolyn Rivas and Lesley May!) and Kindergarten parents (thank you Pamela Herper and Kristin Brady) presented an evening to help our parents prepare for Kindergarten.

Here is the hand-out I contributed for the event.
 

Getting Ready for Kindergarten—Helpful Tips from Carol!
 

Kindergarten entrance time can be so scary…for grown-ups!  We want the best for our children and when the Kindergarten process seems beyond our control, it is upsetting.  Take heart, there are many things you can do to make your child’s Kindergarten experience more rewarding-and less stressful for you too.

Here is a list of things I did (or in retrospect wish I did) to help my own children have a successful Kindergarten experience. We all live such busy lives, there never seems to be enough time and it seems like we are always playing “catch-up.”  Preparation and planning will go a long way on the road to a smooth transition to Kindergarten.
 

Where to begin:

  1. Sleep is important.  Set a reasonable bedtime and be consistent.  Kindergarten is full-day, full tilt.  If you want your child to enter Kindergarten each day at their best, make sure they get enough sleep!  Structure is important to everyone, especially to your little Kindergartener.  Set a reasonable bed time and stick to it. It would be wise to begin this regime a few weeks prior to the beginning of the school year so that Kindergarten does not get a bad rap for causing an early bedtime! 
  2. Be prepared.  To eliminate potential trials and tribulations in the morning before school, make sure your child’s clothing is set for the next day and all their backpack is ready to go.  If your child brings his or her lunch, it can be prepared the night before. Prepare lunch and place it in the refrigerator so you have one less thing to in the morning.
  3. Lunch Prep. If your child has never eaten lunch at school, or if you get a new lunchbox, practice eating lunch out of the lunchbox prior to the commencement of Kindergarten.  I fed my own children from their lunchbox the summer before Kindergarten began, and they really liked it!  I choose the food they liked for lunch and made sure that they could open the lunch box and containers inside by themselves.
  4. Eat Healthy. Get up in the morning with enough time to eat a good healthy breakfast.  Food is the fuel your child needs to get their day off to a good start.  If your kids are well rested and you are not running about looking for their backpacks or arguing over clothing choices, you might find that you have time to eat breakfast with them!
  5. Morning Activity. There is not enough physical activity in the Kindergartener’s day.  If you can, walk to school and even get in a 15-20 minute run in the park or the schoolyard prior to the commencement of the school day.

Starting Kindergarten:

  1. GET TO SCHOOL ON TIME!  I cannot stress enough the importance of punctuality.  Children need to enter the classroom together, to experience the structure and rituals that are part of the advent of each school day.  When a child is late to school every day, they enter the classroom disadvantaged, almost as an outsider.   Not only will your child benefit from entering the classroom on time, but you must know that our middle schools and high schools are highly competitive.  Applicants are screened not only by academic performance but by absenteeism and lateness.  Getting to school on time will teach your child to be punctual which will serve them well now and for years to come.
  2. Get involved.  Your child’s teacher needs your help.  Volunteer to become a class parent, donate supplies and let your teacher know you are ready, willing and able to do what you can to help out.  Remember that your child is part of the Kindergarten community; what you do for your child’s school and classroom will help everyone in the school, including your child.
  3. Do not overschedule your child.  I scheduled my children’s play dates and afterschool activities on Friday and Saturday because Kindergarten was a long day.  I felt the most important afterschool activity was to let my children run-off steam in the park before we went home.  After a run in the park, we went home and started homework.  When you get home, always check your child’s folder for notes and homework. I never found success leaving homework for after dinner, as dinner time was the best time to talk about my children’s day and decompress.
  4. Have fun!  Always remember that YOU are and will always be your child’s first teacher.  Talk to your children, read books, visit the library, and broaden your child’s horizon by visiting new places and learning new things together.

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