Gentile reads aloud to pre-k children

April 5, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A visit by Councilmember Vincent Gentile (standing in center) meant a great deal to the pre-kindergarten program at Site Z075, according to Early Childhood Director Dianne Gounardes. Photo courtesy of School District 20
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Councilmember Vincent Gentile met some of his youngest constituents — 4-year-olds — when he visited a pre-K program in Bensonhurst on April 1.

Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) came to Site Z075 on Bay 11th Street to get a first-hand look at the city-funded universal pre-K program being operated there.

With Earth Day approaching on April 22, Gentile read “What a Wonderful World” by George David Weiss aloud to the children. The kids responded enthusiastically, according to Dianne Gounardes, the early childhood director for School District 20.

Gentile said he loved every minute of it.

“I had the opportunity to introduce students to Earth Day and read the children’s book, ‘What a Wonderful World.’ As Louis Armstrong said, ‘They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.’ The pre-K center plants the seed for future success and educational development for our pre-kindergarteners,” Gentile told the Brooklyn Eagle via email.

Before entering the classroom, Gentile was given a tour of the pre-K facility by Gounardes and other educators.

“We are so pleased that Councilman Gentile came to visit and interact with our children at the Bay 11th site,” Gounardes said in a statement. “I believe he saw firsthand how beneficial this program is to our students.”

Gounardes boasted that all of the pre-K centers in School District 20 offer an outstanding program for children. “We follow the New York State Pre-Kindergarten Foundation for the Common Core which supports meaningful social-emotional development in our young children. It also supports literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts and technology development and it is all done through purposeful play and exploration,” she said.

District 20 covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Sunset Park.

Approximately 700 families in the community are served by the district’s pre-K program.

Introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the city’s universal pre-K program, called Pre-K for All, provides a strong social-emotional foundation that allows children to be ready for kindergarten, according to educators.

Children born in 2012 are eligible to attend pre-K in September of 2016. Registration is currently taking place and will continue throughout the spring.

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