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Brooklyn Free Space

298 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone:
(718) 965-3135

Website:

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Brooklyn Free Space is a licensed cooperative preschool for children of ages 2.6-4.8. We have been caring for and educating young children in Park Slope and surrounding neighborhoods since 1978 and are proud to have a full-time teaching staff of dedicated and experienced professionals.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Each classroom has a bulk of time dedicated to free play/exploration, with inviting materials and provocations prepared by the teachers. The teachers facilitate the exploration and learning of the children through questioning and scaffolding. There are also more structured elements of the day- with developmentally appropriate time frames- such as circle time and small group activities including cooking, art, and dance.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught We have a strong focus on social and emotional development and community building.

From the Director:

The teachers have been learning about emergent curriculum (a tenet of the Reggio Emilia Approach) though our professional development workshops, and have been integrating into their classrooms thematic explorations based on the interests of the children.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

At Brooklyn Free Space, we treat each child like an individual. We recognize that we must look at the whole child, and that this whole contains many aspects of development at many different levels. Development is not even amongst children, nor within a single child. We embrace and integrate children with all kinds of learning needs, and welcome the presence of various therapists working with the children in the classroom environment.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

In a caring and positive atmosphere, we create a warm and happy place for preschoolers to learn. As we create a bridge from home to school, we guide the children through the continual development of positive self-image while building collaborative social relationships. We promote the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of the children by giving them the opportunity to make sense of the world around them by doing, interacting, exploring and experiencing.
Based on the knowledge that children learn best through play, we create classroom environments that support this belief and allow children to interact with peers and learning materials in the many manifestations of play. Recognizing that children grow in predictable stages, we treat each child as an individual. All children have their own learning styles and interests, and we believe that when we meet each child where they are at developmentally and respect their interests, ideas and self-expression, then we help plant the seed for a life-time appreciation for the joy of learning.
Classroom routines are designed to balance structure and free choice, active and quiet times, and celebrate process rather than the product, which fosters a sense of accomplishment and pride. The learning journey is based on the interests of the children, and is facilitated by the thoughtful planning, observations and participation of the teachers.
As educators, we see ourselves as continual learners, and this is demonstrated by the active, ongoing professional development that our teaching staff engages in. We view ourselves as co-learners and co-researchers with the children as we explore together the world around us.
We value the active involvement of families in our program, both through cooperative and classroom participation. This involvement enables the children to see their parents as important and involved members of the school community.
Parents may gain valuable insights and techniques from the expertise of the staff and, at the same time, share their own insights, talents and interests so that we work together to create a warm, dynamic learning environment at Brooklyn Free Space. School then becomes a shared experience that we hope will continue throughout the educational process.

A Typical Day

Child arrives at school, is greeted by teachers and friends, selects a play area, and moves from one area to another at his/her own pace.

9:00-10:00 Free Play (music, art, table toys)
10:00-10:30 Clean Up/ Circle Time
10:30-11:00 Snack Time
11:00-11:45 Outdoor Activities (indoor or outdoor play area)
11:45-12:00 Clean Up (prepare for lunch)
12:00-12:30 Lunch
12:30-12:50 Story Time
12:50-1:45 Rest Time
1:45-2:00 Clean Up
2:00-2:15 Snack
2:15-2:30 Circle
2:30-3:00 Children Selected Activities
3:00 Dismissal

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Communication is very important in our school, especially as we are a parent cooperative, and we want families to feel included and empowered in this community. There are home visits in the beginning of the year to foster a school-home connection, 2 parent teacher conferences every year, as well as 2 classroom community meetings for parents to meet with teachers and all of the families of their classroom to discuss classroom learning, issues, and dynamics. Teachers share activity plans with parents weekly, as well as thorough reflections of what has been happening in the classroom. This is done in handout form, as well as through emails, website postings, bulletin board postings, and Reggio inspired display panels.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school

Separation

Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We recognize that separation anxiety is a major issue of the early days of school. We have a staggered start of the school year, where small groups of children will visit the classrooms at varying times so that they can begin to feel comfortable in this setting without being overwhelmed by a large number of children. The teachers are then also able to give more individualized attention. The teachers work with families as a team to help create the best goodbye routine possible for the child and parent.