Not every parent wants to send their child into a full-time preschool program, and not every child is ready for a full-time preschool program. Lately, a number of child oriented businesses have begun to recognize the growing need to provide alternatives for parents who do not want to enroll their children in preschool, but still want their children to get a preschool-like experience.
The concept of providing a preschool alternative is still relatively new, but more and more places are offering classes geared to giving children the cognitive and social stimulation they would get in a preschool setting. These programs typically last between an hour and a half to two hours, and work on creating a full separation from the parent in a less formal setting. Here are some places currently offering pre-school alternatives in Queens:
Long Island City Kids offers a program that runs 9-12pm for kids that are 2 1/2- 4 years old. Students work on motor skills during gymtastic activities, and literacy and math skills. There is also a music and art component for the program.
The Queens Central Y offers two classes that help transition kids from home to school. Their Totally Tots class, for kids ages 2-3, engages kids in creative play, music, gym, and art. Their Nearly Nursery classes, for kids ages 2-4 adds on to what is done in the Totally Tots class by engaging students in early literacy, math and science. Classes are two hours forty-five minutes long and include snack time.
Tinkertots offers a class called Big Kids Nursery for kids 2-3 1/2 years old. The focus of the class is to teach your child the socialization skills necessary for a good transition to preschool. Kids engage in a number of activities including art, literacy and individual play.
My Gym offers a class for 2.5-3.5 year olds called Terrific Tots. The class is an hour long and engages kids in a number of teacher led activities that develop good listening skills and work on the development of fine and gross motor skills. Kids are challenged in number of physical activities that introduce them to gymnastics.
Gymboree offers a School Skills class for kids ages 3-5. The program encompasses art, science and play, in addition to story time and songs. The goal of the class is to provide kids with the necessary social and emotional skills they need to transition to school. Classes are two hours long.
Lolly’s Learning Center in Long Island City has a variety of classes and programs for toddlers up to age 5. They are split up into Lower Preschool and Upper Preschool and all sessions are available on a part time schedule.
Alley Pond Environmental Center has a full array of preschool alternative programs which involve nature based crafts, animal play time, and other activities. They last about an hour and are open to ages 18 months to 4 years.
by Simone Gobin