Kids' curiosity inspires the curriculum.
School only goes through 3rd grade.
PS 130 is one of the most sought-after schools in Queens, and if you visit it you'll see why. Small and enchanting, with strong leadership and a talented staff, PS 130 is a school that's both academically challenging and fun for kids. Small class size, beautiful books and equipment, and lots of extra grown-ups (student teachers and paraprofessionals) in the classroom make the school especially appealing. The school takes the curiosity that all small children have about their world and uses it as the foundation for formal education. Teachers build the curriculum around children's interests. Kids' everyday experiences are linked to knowledge available in books to answer questions the children pose themselves.
For example, they might learn to predict the weather from cloud formations, using a reference book on the weather in their school library. They might capture the gas released when baking powder combines with water by mixing the two in a bottle, attaching a balloon to the bottle neck, and watching it inflatean idea from a children's book on chemistry in the school library. The school has almost no textbooks or workbooks. Rather, children learn to read from works of literature, study math using coins and blocks, and learn how to write by making up their own stories. Children are encouraged to use their own spelling in kindergarten and 1st grade; in 2nd grade, teachers begin to edit their work and encourage conventional spelling. PS 130 is one of 209 successful schools that the chancellor exempted from the citywide uniform curriculum mandated in 2003.
There are no rows of desks or teachers standing at the front giving lessons to the whole class. Children work independently or in groups at tables and on rugs, while the teachers move from child to child, giving help and advice. Sometimes the children gather together and the teacher reads to them as a group. The atmosphere is homey, "almost an extension of nursery school," one mother said. The school is orderly and the children are attentive, moving smoothly from one activity to another without a lot of wasted time.
Admissions: PS 130 is open to children who live anywhere in District 25. Open houses are held in January, and applications are due in February. Notification is in May. Applications are available at theregional office and at your neighborhood school. Parents also may want to consider PS 242, the new early childhood center in Flushing, which opened in 2001. (This school is featured in New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools. Clara Hemphill, updated 2003)