Newest Standardized Test for Kindergarten Elite Schools (NYMag)

In the growing age of standardized testing, NYC elite private kindergartens are forgoing the 45-year standard, the IQ tests, for the “Educational Records Bureau's brand-new Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners.” This new standardized test will be administered on an iPad, cost $65, and has starting tutoring rates ranging between $140 and $200 a session. One of the elite schools, Horace Mann, explained the switch as “ensur[ing] that every applicant for Kindergarten and First Grade at Horace Mann School has completed a standardized measure of reasoning and achievement that is psychometrically valid… [and the score report from this test] is the only piece of the application that is consistent and objective.” But can any part of the four-year old mind truly be measured in terms of reasoning? How do you feel about the move made by this school? Click HERE to read the full article.



Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth (NYTimes)

For the first time in its history, the American Academy of Pediatrics “has officially weighed in on early literacy education,” announcing its new policy that doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth. These 62,000 pediatricians throughout the nation are going so far as to ask its members to “become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor.” This is all with hopes to “reduce academic disparities between wealthier and low-income children as well as between racial groups.” To read the full article click HERE.

What are your thoughts on the academy’s new policy for literacy?baby-and-mother-reading

city college

1-credit (graduate) weekend workshop: Health Education for Young Children and their Families

The City College of New York is offering a 1-credit (graduate) weekend workshop at the Children's Museum of Manhattan on Friday, June 6th from 3:00PM- 7:30PM and Saturday, June 7th from 9:00PM- 5:00PM.

This interactive weekend workshop is designed for educators and administrators who work with young children and their families. Conducted at and taught by instructors from the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), the sessions will focus on how to implement a program for young children and their families that promotes healthy lifestyle skills.  Please click here for more information:

Fee: $405 for 1 credit plus non-matriculation application fee of $125.

brooklyn college

Info Session: New Play Therapy Program at Brooklyn College

From Brooklyn College:

We’re proud to announce the launching of the Play Therapy Program at Brooklyn College. This 16-credit Advanced Certificate program aims to support all children’s mental health, development and learning. Learn more about the program

You are invited to attend an Information Session hosted by Professor Carol Korn-Bursztyn.

When? Thursday, May 1, from 6pm-7pm.

Where? Brooklyn College Library, 242.



NYC will spend $16.9M to raise salaries for pre-K teachers at community-based organizations

The de Blasio administration is raising the starting salaries of certified teachers with bachelor's degree from $35,000 to $44,000. Teachers with master's degrees will start at $50,000. Teachers at community-based organizations will earn nearly the same amount as starting teachers at district-run programs. Read more HERE


Big Brooklyn Playdate 2014

You’re Invited to the Big Brooklyn Playdate!

Wednesday, April 30, 10:30am – 12pm
​Central Library (Grand Army Plaza), Dweck Center

Stop by the Big Brooklyn Playdate to
enjoy fun games and activities that delight
young children and encourage early literacy.

Download the flyer for more information

Come to play and leave ready to turn
ordinary objects in your home into your
child’s favorite toys.

For babies and toddlers birth to
3 years and their parents and caregivers.
For more ideas on how to read and play with your child, visit


New Major Finding from FPG’s Abecedarian Project

New scientific findings are reporting that children who received high-quality early care and education in the Abecedarian Project from birth to age 5 enjoy better physical health in their mid-30s than peers who did not attend the program.

Frances Campbell, FPG Senior scientist and principal investigator of the Abecedarian Project, stated that  "to our knowledge, this is the first time that actual biomarkers, as opposed to self-reports of illnesses, have been compared for adult individuals who took part in a randomized study of early childhood education."

This research demonstrates scientific evidence towards the implication of health  and high quality early care and education. Read more about this study HERE



carmen farina

Letter to Principals from NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina

We thought we’d share a refreshing perspective on developmentally appropriate practices from none other than our NYC Schools Chancellor, Carmen Farina. Read what she wrote to principals below:

Dear Colleagues,

A few days ago, a colleague told me about a conversation she’d had recently with a principal. The principal explained that she had suggested to one of her teachers that instead of a one-time field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Bronx Zoo, which can overwhelm students, the teacher might consider a series of two or three shorter visits to allow students time to focus on one or two exhibits or key ideas and then consolidate their learning. The teacher seemed stunned; she couldn’t possibly take that time out of the classroom with tests coming up – she needed to prepare her students for them.

This exchange reminded me that test preparation in moderation is fine, but preparing for life is living it. As I visit schools and talk to principals and teachers, I often hear the same stories about how “real” teaching, engaging projects, and exciting trips are put aside to accommodate test prep. While I certainly understand the anxiety that children, parents, and teachers feel about standardized testing, it is important for all of us to keep the tests in perspective. Ask adults what they remember about their own schooling, and you will hear about the project they worked on for the science fair, the interview they conducted for an oral history project, the day an author came to visit the class, the trip they took to a battlefield, or the scenery they created for a theater production. It is rarely the day spent preparing for a test, memorizing vocabulary words, or bubbling in answers to multiple choice questions. All of those tasks may play a role, but they are not the activities that make students enthusiastic about coming to school. They are not the events that foster a sense of well-being and they should not be the heart and soul of the school experience for our students.

As educators, most of us know that the best preparation for the test is a rich, thoughtful, engaging curriculum that awakens curiosity in students, inspires them to ask questions, helps them explore complex problems, and encourages them to imagine possibilities. We understand that the best classrooms are lively places where students are immersed in conversation, debating ideas, and developing perspectives and viewpoints. And, because the single best way to improve reading proficiency is to read, and read, and read, students in these classrooms are reading plenty of authentic literature in addition to nonfiction. Literature is helping them to understand themselves, and to make sense of the world and their experience in it. They can lose themselves in books, and find themselves as well. And, research says that along the way, they are also becoming more empathetic human beings.

So, with the test season approaching, let’s try to remember what is most important about teaching, learning, and the school experience, and let’s try to help those in our charge do the same. I know I can count on you!

With admiration,

Carmen Farina

carmen farina






(photo courtesy of NBC)

In Memoriam: Elisabeth S. Hirsch

In Memoriam

Elisabeth S. Hirsch, a professor emeritus of The City College of New York, passed away, after a long illness, in February 2014.  Born in Budapest, Hungary, she was a Holocaust survivor and a wife and mother whose career included many years as an early childhood teacher at the Little Red School in New York City followed by many more years as a professor of early childhood education at The City College of New York. 

She was the author of seminal early childhood publications, the most renowned of which are The Block Book and Transition Periods:  A Stumbling Block of Education – both published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  These timeless works have supported thousands of early childhood educators – across the nation and the world – to become better teachers.  Grounded in a deep understanding of child development, they make complex ideas and issues easy to understand, demonstrating in a down-to-earth way how teachers and schools can facilitate young children’s optimal development by supporting the active nature of their learning and nurturing their social/emotional lives.

Lisa  – as she was known to her colleagues, students, and friends – was a great mentor and advocate for young children.  We each can honor her legacy through our commitment to continuing her work of ensuring the realization of high quality early childhood education for all.


Beverly Falk, Ed.D.

NY Times article

Robin Hood Foundation Funds PreK Study

Robin Hood Foundation,  Heising-Simons Foundation and the Overdeck Family Foundation are funding a study to determine what makes PreK successful. Here is a brief overview of the study:

The Participants: The study involves children in Brooklyn, who attend Public School 221 in Crown Heights. It will track roughly 4,000 children who enter prekindergarten in 69 schools and community-based organizations next fall, and continue following them through at least the third grade.

The Purpose: To gauge whether a certain math curriculum can create lasting improvement in students’ math and language skills, as well as their likelihood to persevere in the face of academic challenges

The Research Design: Half of them will get the curriculum, called Building Blocks, and the other half will not. Later on, if there is sufficient funding, a subset of each group will get a supplementary math program in kindergarten, in small groups or in the form of intensive tutoring.

The Idea:  According to Michael Weinstein, Chief Program Office, "he was interested in the promise of early childhood education to fight poverty, but unsatisfied by the existing research, which did not provide clear guidance as to which programs were the most cost effective."

What do you think it takes to make prekindergarten successful? Read more about this study HERE