In communities overwhelmed with poverty, many of the children begin school without the foundation that they need to succeed. The Police Athletic League has been providing vital early childhood education to New York City families for more than 40 years. The Early Childhood Education program prepares the children with a strong cognitive foundation prior to entering kindergarten and includes opportunities for children with disabilities throughout PAL centers in Brooklyn and Queens.
The Early Childhood Education Centers in Brooklyn and Queens currently serve more than 600 children, ages two through five. The centers in Brooklyn are PAL Carey Gardens, PAL La Puerta Abierta, PAL World of Creative Experiences, PAL Roberta Bright, and the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Early Learning Program. The centers in Queens are PAL Western Queens Nursery School and PAL Woodside.
“Preparing our children and families for success through quality early education is our priority,” said Asneth Council, Ph.D., PAL Director of Child Care and Nutrition.
The PAL centers integrate Head Start Programs, Daycare, and Universal Pre-Kindergarten as programs to provide the children with the tools they need to succeed. The children are exposed to science, music, and dance in their classrooms and also have the opportunity to plant their own garden in the spring. They are also equipped with recognition of the alphabet, letter sounds and counting skills.
Parents are encouraged to be closely engaged with their children’s development. PAL parents volunteer in the classroom, kitchen, on trips and attend monthly family workshops, as well as take part in literacy efforts. One parent, Mr. Covington, who participates in Daddy Read to Me Day, said, “PAL is a lifesaver. It provides me with access to affordable childcare that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.” Participants have shown an increase in family literacy and social skills. The Bridging the Achievment Gap Literacy Initiative focuses on encouraging children and families to read a minimum of 15 books in the “Book of the Month” lending library. These books are incorporated into Lesson Plans and children build their vocabulary with the “Word of the Month” chosen from the Book of the Month.
The U.S. Department of Education finds that 6 out of 10 children are unprepared for kindergarten, while all 2016 Universal Pre-K students in PAL’s Early Childhood Program were deemed ready for school. The program embraces and addresses each child’s individual strengths and needs in order to receive the best educational and developmental opportunities.
New York City’s Police Athletic League is the first and finest civilian-run PAL in the country. Founded in 1914, PAL has served the city’s young people for over 100 years. PAL provides recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to 30,000 boys and girls annually. It is also the city’s largest, independent, nonprofit youth organization. For more information, please visit www. palnyc.org.
Andrea Kotuk / Andrea & Associates / (212) 353-9585
Frederick J. Watts / Police Athletic League / (212) 477-9450