PAL touts success of early childhood education program
The Police Athletic League is famous for the recreational programs it runs for children during the summer, as well as for the annual “Police Commissioner for a Day” essay contest it sponsors for students.
But the 104-year-old organization also operates a program that doesn’t get much notice: an early childhood education program with sites in Brooklyn and Queens.
“Preparing our children and families for success through quality early education is our priority,” said Dr. Asneth Council, PAL’s director of Child Care and Nutrition.
More than 600 children attend classes at the PAL’s Early Childhood Education Centers in Brooklyn and Queens. The centers in Brooklyn are PAL Carey Gardens, PAL La Puerta Abierta, the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Early Learning Program in Coney Island, PAL World of Creative Experiences in Brownsville and PAL Roberta Bright in East New York.
The centers in Queens are PAL Western Queens Nursery School in Long Island City and PAL Woodside.
The PAL centers incorporate educational ideas that are used in Head Start as well as Universal Pre-Kindergarten in their classes. The children get the opportunity to learn the alphabet and how to count. Science and music are part of the curriculum and the students take part in dance programs in class. The youngsters also learn about nature by planting their own gardens in the spring.
The PAL, which has been providing early childhood education for more than 40 years, encourages parents to be deeply involved in the programs, according to the organization’s representatives.
Parents accompany classes on trips, attend monthly family workshops and participate in programs to increase literacy.
One parent in PAL’s Daddy Read to Me Day called the organization a lifesaver. “It provides me with access to affordable childcare that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise,” he said.
As part of a program called the Bridging the Achievement Gap Literacy Initiative, children and parents read a minimum of 15 books together. The books are then incorporated into lesson plans in classrooms.
New York City’s PAL is the first civilian-run PAL program in the U.S. It serves more than 30,000 youngsters a year with recreational, educational, cultural and social programs.
For more information, visit www.palnyc.org.
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