The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Parents Search for Pre-K Spots in Overcrowded Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens

COBBLE HILL & CARROLL GARDENS — Overcrowding at some of the most admired schools in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens is leading some parents to turn to the lesser-known schools in the area for pre-K, according to local education experts.

The neighborhood’s most popular schools, P.S. 58 and P.S. 29, “will not meet the demands in pre-K,” said District 15 Community Education Council President Jim Devor, predicting that far more students would apply than the schools can hold.

The two Carroll Gardens schools each have 54 pre-K seats, but it’s likely that siblings of current students at the school will fill them, the schools said.


DNAinfo.com New York ranked sought-after public pre-K programs based on their 2012 admission rates.
View Full Caption
Celine Huang

Devor advises parents to look into growing schools in the area, such as P.S. 133 William A. Butler in Park Slope, which will be adding two new pre-K classes next year, said parent coordinator Ahmed Dickerson.

Neighborhood schools P.S. 15 and P.S. 261 have programs strongly focused on art and music, according to parents, and P.S. 32 is known for its small class sizes and the individual attention that students receive.

Here are some of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens' noteworthy public pre-K programs:

P.S. 58, The Carroll School, 330 Smith St.
One of the most popular schools in the neighborhood, The Carroll School is well known for its active PTA and dual-language program in every grade, in which students are taught to write, read and speak both French and English. P.S. 58 is zoned, but native French speakers from outside the zone can attend the school.

The school has two pre-K classes, according to Devor, making it particularly competitive for seats. In the past few years, most of P.S. 58’s pre-K seats have gone to zoned children with older siblings attending the school, according to its website, and the school expects the same to happen this year.

P.S. 29, John M. Harrigan, 425 Henry St.
Another popular yet overcrowded school serving Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens is P.S. 29. Known for its arts enrichment programs and active PTA, the school raised more than $850,000 in revenue in 2010, according to the PTA’s filings.

According to the school’s website, PTA funds are used to pay for additional teachers, arts, music and theater enrichment, professional development for teachers, supplies and administrative support.

There are 54 pre-K seats at the school, according to the DOE's guide.

P.S. 32, Samuel Mills Sprole School, 317 Hoyt St.
While less popular than its neighborhood counterparts, P.S. 58 and P.S. 29, the school is definitely one parents should be considering, Devor said. The school is over capacity, but it isn’t impossible to get your child enrolled, he said. There are 30 pre-K seats, according to the DOE.

Small classes and individualized attention for students, with two teachers in almost every classroom, are positives at the school, according to an Insideschools review. The Carroll Gardens school is also known for its Nest program, where high-functioning children with autism can learn crucial social skills, according to the review.

P.S. 261, Philip Livingston, 314 Pacific St.
The school is focused on integrating the arts, like dance and music, into its curriculum, said Beau Ranheim, president of the PTA. The school has two pre-K classes with 18 students each and two teachers in each class. The classes also use student teachers most of the time, Ranheim said.

Pre-K classrooms are located apart from the main school and they also have their own playground, Ranheim said. Science classrooms use observational techniques like looking at seasonal changes and seed growth and caring for classroom pets, according to the school’s website.

While the school received an F in the student progress category of its 2010-2011 progress report, P.S. 261 raised its overall grade to an A last year, according to the DOE.

P.S. 146, The Brooklyn New School, 610 Henry St.
The school serves about 36 families with two pre-K classes, said parent coordinator Amy Sumner. Enrollment in the last few years has shown that “about two-thirds of our seats will go to siblings,” she said.

The school boasts an experienced set of teachers, with staff meeting pre-K families during the summer before school begins to build up a sense of trust, according to a review by Insideschools.

The pre-K program is considered an integral part of the school, with students participating in activities including gym, library and Spanish. As an applied learning school, exploration and social-emotional growth are encouraged through art, school trips and cooking in the classroom, Sumner said.

“We believe the job of 4-year-olds is to learn how to be in school,” she said, adding that there is no homework and no worksheets for pre-K classes.

P.S. 15, Patrick F. Daly, 71 Sullivan St.
Located between Red Hook and Carroll Gardens, P.S. 15’s distance from brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods can be a downside for some families, Devor said.

The school has four full-time pre-K classes with 62 seats in all, including one dual-language Spanish class, said Juanita Laboy, the school's parent coordinator.

P.S. 15 offers free after-school programs for pre-K and kindergarten kids four days a week. The school also has a strong focus on arts enrichment, including music classes.

“[It’s] a really terrific school,” Devor said.