By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Monday that New York City would open its first "Educare" school at P.S. 41 in Brownsville next fall. Educare, a national network started in Chicago, provides all-day, year-round care and education for at-risk children age six-weeks to five-years-old.
The Educare model features small classrooms, parental involvement and connections to other essential family services, and will help disadvantaged children hit kindergarten ready to learn.
Educare has the backing of philanthropists like Susan A. Buffett, daughter of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and chair of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.
The Chancellor also announced the addition of 4,000 new full-day pre-kindergarten seats for the 2013-14 school year, most in high-needs areas. Many existing pre-K seats are only half-day, making it almost impossible for parents to hold full-time jobs.
Mayor Bloomberg said the emphasis on pre-kindergarten was an investment that would “prepare our youngest students for a lifetime of success. More and more research points to the importance of early education in closing the achievement gap and helping children of all backgrounds achieve academically.”
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said that expanding full-day pre-kindergarten has been one of the Council’s top priorities. “Working with the Department of Education, we have added thousands of full-day slots and led efforts to increase the number of full day pre-k seats in New York City.”
The city’s Department of Education found that third grade students who had attended universal pre-K were 28 percent more likely to pass the state English exam and 54 percent more likely to pass the state math exam than similar kids who did not attend pre-K.
The Department of Education will work with the Administration for Children’s Services to develop the Educare program, as well as with other partners including the national Educare Learning Network, a partnership of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
Brooklyn’s Educare school will include a leadership institute to train early childhood school directors.
For more information about how to enroll a child in pre-kindergarten, please visit www.nyc.gov or call 311.