A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña visit our World of Creative Experiences Center, which serves PAL’s youngest, ages 3-5 years. The Chancellor and I saw firsthand the results of a parent engagement activity called Daddy Art Day – where fathers and their children made art together at the center. We were also fortunate to have Brooklyn’s elected officials Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and State Senator Roxanne Persaud join us to celebrate this day. It was terrific to see our city officials and elected leaders so invested in our youth, and so impressed with PAL’s offerings.
Thanks to the funding from New York City Administration for Children's Services, we serve 550 girls and boys, ages 2-5, in six centers in Brooklyn and Queens. Our research-based curriculum not only focuses on developmental learning but also exposes the kids to dance and music.
Another strong component of our Early Childhood Education program is that parents are closely engaged with their children’s development. Our parents volunteer in classes, attend monthly family workshops and even take part in literacy efforts such as our signature initiative “Bridging the Achievement Gap.” Through this initiative, we lend books to parents who then read them to their children at home. We make sure that the vocabulary from the selected books are incorporated in lesson planning. We have found that it is a great way to enhance our children’s vocabulary and reading skills.
The best part of working with Pre-K kids is that our staff get to see a dramatic transition – our kids come in as toddlers and then they graduate ready to attend a full school day. Our neighboring public schools speak highly of our Early Education programs, especially in getting our kids well-prepared for the rigors of schooling. In fact, 100% of our kids graduate our program Kindergarten ready.
Later this month, our PAL staff will prepare a hearty and nutritious Thanksgiving meal for our kids and parents to say thanks for another great year.
I want to say thanks to NYPD officers and all of you for supporting us this year – your monetary gifts, volunteer efforts, and feedback have helped PAL to give our young people another remarkable year of academic, sports and arts programming. We appreciate your generosity.
Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL