The Little Brooklyn Pre-K Center at 211 8th Street
Brooklyn NY 11215
Visual arts program
Uncertain future location
The Little Brooklyn Pre-K Center on 8th Avenue is located in a former parochial school building, St. Thomas Aquinas, which houses the popular PS 118 Maurice Sendak Community School. The pre-k center is separate from the four pre-k classrooms that are part of PS 118. The future location of the pre-center is uncertain because PS 118 may eventually expand into the extra classroom space.
The pre-k center has a music teacher and small group Spanish lessons. Teachers take children on field trips around the neighborhood, such as to Two Boots Pizza to learn how to make their own pizza, and to pick pumpkins and apples in the fall. Classrooms have easels and lots of art activities [photo from the pre-k center's Facebook page].
This and three other Little Brooklyn Pre-K Centers are overseen by District 15's Director of Early Childhood, Maria Interlandi, a long-time Brooklyn educator and former assistant principal of PS 94. Interlandi takes inspiration from K-280, at the Bishop Ford School site in Windsor Terrace, which has a popular inquiry-based approach; children take daily walks, keep journals and explore topics that range from medicine to nocturnal animals.
Interlandi said Little Brooklyn does "small group work more than large group work" and lots of hands-on projects. Parents are invited to join students for special monthly projects such as constructing 3-D shapes out of straws, pipe cleaners, marshmallows and toothpicks.
Pre-K centers are run by the Department of Education. There are more than 70 throughout the city, in schools and community centers.
ADMISSIONS: Visit The Little Brooklyn Pre-K Center website and Facebook page for more information. (Lydie Raschka, phone interview, November 2016)