District 13 Pre-K Center at 25 Dock Street
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Lovely new building and large, well-appointed classrooms
No outdoor playground onsite
The Dock Street Pre-k Center is located in a sparkling new building just a block from the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the waterfront. It occupies the light-filled ground floor of a building shared with Dock Street Middle School. Above them is prime residential real estate.
Each of the four large classrooms has its own charm, with cozy, inviting corners for children to snuggle up and read on bean bag chairs, play in toy kitchens, or dress up for dramatic play. There is also up-to-date technology including an interactive, digital whiteboard in each classroom, headsets for childen to listen to stories and other technology.
Children get art every day from a dedicated art teacher. "We believe in authentic art," said Stephanie Seaton, the site director who is also director of early childhood education for District 13. Posted art work showed children's creativity at worknot decorated cut-outs.
Each month there's a different theme, such as transportation. Children took walks around the neighborhood to see what forms of transportation they could discover, made and floated their own boats and created charts to compare how each traveled to school. Parents participate in regular gatherings celebrating each unit of study and are invited in every Tuesday.
Children go into the small gym for movement and dance with a dance teacher daily but there is no outdoor playground attached to the building. Weather permitting, the four-year-olds walk a block to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
ADMISSIONS: Priority to District 13. The school holds almost daily tours during the application season. It did not fill in its first year, 2016-2017, but that is likely to change as its reputation grows. (Pamela Wheaton, February 2017)