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Williamsburg and Greenpoint's Free Pre-K Options in High Demand

WILLIAMSBURG — When she advises clients on their children's pre-K plans in the neighborhood, mother and educational consultant Jessica Glorieux warns them to play their cards wisely — and prepare an alternative if they get shut out of a free public program.

"Since pre-K has a lottery, they don't have a guaranteed seat. We'll put down our deposit at the YMCA," Glorieux said of her own daughter's private pre-K back-up plan. "But if we get into P.S. 110, she'll go there."

In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, it's fairly common for public pre-K's to receive five or six times more applicants than they have spots — and some schools are answering fierce demand by adding extra classes.  

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

"We have two full-day programs," said P.S. 110 Principal Anna Cano Amato, "and now we're adding a third."


Here are some of Williamsburg and Greenpoint's noteworthy public pre-K programs:

P.S. 110, 124 Monitor St.

This Greenpoint school, known for its close-knit community, is Glorieux's choice for her daughter partly because of the French-English dual-language program. Last year, 190 children applied for just 36 spots, so the principal added one more class to have 54 available seats for the 2013-14 school year.

P.S. 132, 320 Manhattan Ave.

This large Williamsburg school has a rigorous pre-K program with a well-established teacher who sometimes assigns homework, parents said. The full-day pre-K is one of North Brooklyn's larger preschool programs, with 72 seats available for the fall of 2013. The school boasts a band and a highly involved group of parents who worked hard to help staff affected by Hurricane Sandy. 

Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School, 325 S. 3rd St.

This progressive new school, which opened in 2012, will have its first pre-K class this fall with 18 seats, according to the Department of Education's list of programs. Parents have raved about the environmentally focused education at Brooklyn Arbor and have compared it to a Montessori school.

P.S. 34, 131 Norman Ave.

This Greenpoint school between McCarren and McGolrick parks offers a half-day session of two-and-a-half hours for parents who are easing their kids into school, Glorieux said. The historic institution — Brooklyn's oldest elementary school — has started a new chess team and has partnerships with many local institutions to compensate for a lack of a gym or auditorium. New principal Carmen Asselta said the students and staff build a sense of closeness by holding activities in the cafeteria and in other neighborhood spaces.

P.S. 84, 250 Berry St.

A magnet school for arts and sciences near the Williamsburg waterfront, P.S. 84 boasts both a popular full-day pre-K and a highly acclaimed elementary education for families in the neighborhood. The school is preparing to build a rooftop greenhouse classroom to offer hands-on learning, and this year the pre-K will include 74 seats, an increase after last year's quickly filled 52.