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Convenient for parents working in the Times Square area
Next to noisy Port Authority Bus Terminal ramp
The Hudson Guild Clinton Center at West 40th Street and 9th Avenue is one of four pre-k sites under the umbrella of The Hudson Guild organization, founded in 1897 to support Chelsea’s immigrant community.
The pre-kindergarten draws "a very diverse population,"� said site superviser Dionne Taylor. Indeed, we saw children of all ethnicities playing in classrooms as parents arrived to pick them up as the sun began to set. The program is on an upper floor of Metro Baptist Church, walking distance from the Times Square area where many parents work in restaurants, retail, dental offices or the New York Times building. Parents pick up children between 3 pm and 6 pm.
The small pre-k classroom is on the same floor as two 3-year-old classrooms. (A second pre-k classroom has been converted into a playroom due to low enrollment). Tall windows and high ceilings make it feel larger than it is. The room was stocked with a puppet theater, blocks, plastic objects for counting and costumes for acting out stories. On the wall, we saw a list of different types of light that kids identified, such as fireworks, headlights and lightning. The teacher said she puts together a calendar of activities for further exploration at home, for example, counting all the lights in the house or taking a walk outside with Mom or Dad to examine shadows.
Unfortunately, the church building is adjacent to a coil of Port Authority Bus Terminal ramps and West 40th is a truck route. The continuous rumble and sound of shifting gears and brakes is "sometimes distracting,"� the teacher acknowledged, but once in awhile she "plays off it,"� by asking kids to identify the sounds they hear.
The physical space is serviceable but not modern: cement walls covered in shiny bright paint, linoleum floor tiles, steep stairs and no elevator.
ADMISSIONS: Reserved for low-income families who meet requirements for Head Start, however 10 percent of seats are available for families in a higher income bracket. There were open seats at the time of our visit. (Lydie Raschka, February 2017)