Hidden Gem: MAP Program At Greenwich Music House (the perfect pre-school option)

greenwhich music house MAPThe school days are almost upon us! NYC Public schools start next week, and while Aria is super excited about going to school, she also insists she wants to go back to her old school “with Miss. Lyra and Emy”.

Last year Aria attended the MAP (Music, Art & Play) at Greenwich Music house in the West Village. We had done the whole Nursery School application routine (alright, only really one place), but in the end decided on Greenwich Music House. In retrospect, I think it was one of the best things we could have done for her, and the program is definitely a hidden gem for west village parents.

Greenwich Music house offers a variety of programs for all ages, but the MAP program is perfect for 3 year olds, providing just what they need at that age. Art, music and play suits their age perfectly, stimulating their senses and creativity, but not overwhelming them (and it’s FUN — social skills develop too!).

We got a great variety of daily art projects sent home, seeing Aria’s creativity bloom (and I’m convinced today she’s such a good drawer in part because of this). We also saw our little one grasp onto music, finding confidence in her voice and embracing all different kinds of instruments and her own musicality.

The building is a charming brownstone, a warm loving environment that is safe and contained, and also boasts a sweet outdoor garden for them to play. Many a day, Aria did not want to leave after wrapping up with the daily, “It’s time to go now,” Goodbye Song.

MAP program greenwich music house nyc pre kLearning also extended beyond the brick and mortar of the school. The kids had a variety of field trips and outings, serving the community with a holiday sing-along at a local senior center, and taking advantage of the cultural playground that is NYC (see photo from a Very Young People’s concert at Merkin Hall).

Finally, and most importantly, the teachers are WONDERFUL. I can’t say enough good things about their care, which definitely eases an anxious parent who may be leaving their child in another’s care for the first time. Both Ms. Lyra and Ms. Emy are extremely capable, loving and caring, and very communicative with parents– providing email newsletters on what the little ones are up to, and always being open and welcoming to all.

The program is offered half days (mornings) for up to 5 days a week. We loved the flexibility of it, not having to commit to 5 days, but setting up times that worked with our lifestyle and our child. That being said, if you’re a NYC mom or dad of a toddler who’s looking for a GREAT nursery option this fall, check out Greenwich Music House. I promise you won’t be disappointed (except when it’s time to go!)

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Preschool In The City: The Interview.

pre school interview nurserySo, Aria had her first “interview” at Barrow Street Nursery recently. Essentially (and thankfully) it was only observed play in a classroom, and pretty painless. She and four other kids rotated at different play stations– a little kitchen with tea pots and dolls, a table with puzzles and toys, and another covered with paper and  marker paints. One parent of each child (me in this case) was allowed to sit in but were asked to not get too involved. I  must admit, a time or two I had to hold my tongue when my natural reaction was to interject or direct her (or praise her and call attention to something she was doing that was particularly impressive:).

What exactly NYC preschools are looking for during these interviews, I’m not sure. I’d say she did well, but she definitely didn’t follow every direction and certainly didn’t pull out all her charisma and charm (I guess that’s reserved for audiences in her own living room). She played well and didn’t cling to me as one of her other little co-interviewees did his mom. She was herself (although perhaps a toned down version)–  showing her nurturing side with mothering dollies, unabashedly expressing her will when another little boy tried to pry the tea pot our of her hands, and asserting her independence when she decided to rearrange the little chairs instead of sitting down on the rug for story time (free thinker? artistic expression? Surely thing was a good thing??).

Anyway, regardless, I’d say it was a success. If nothing else it’s planted the idea in her head that school is fun. She did not want to leave when it was time, and has brought up going back repeatedly since.  As mentioned before on this blog, I didn’t apply to any other schools, so we’ll see where she ends up. The mom next to me applied to 11, but Barrow was the only one they made through the lottery and got an interview.  I guess I should feel good since essentially we’re 1 for 1.

Chatter on the playground: Where did you apply?
Top choices amongst West Village mom’s seem to be:

Barrow Street Nursery
Mandell
West Village Nursery 
City and Country School
Downing Street Playgoup Co-op 

What I wish I knew then:
I wish I had applied to the two  co-ops. Subsequently (and unfortunately post-deadline) I have heard great things about both. Parents take a larger role and are more involved in co-ops and (because of this) they are considerably less expensive.

I also wish I had read this article which tells you a little bit about what to expect and gives a few tips. Luckily, I did  keep my mouth shut, and her independent streak  and will may very well have been a looked at as a positive in the end.

Good thing because ends up preschool is the best job training program out there. Or at least according to this article. 

Need help navigating the preschool madness ? A great listing of NYC preschools (listed by neighborhood) can be seen on MommyPoppins.

I Pick Up Moms On The Playground

Seriously, I do. Or at Starbucks, or at the park, or on the street corner.  Gone are the days of scoping out the hot guy across the room at Soho House, I’m now passing off my number to new moms. It’s just something about that baby carriage that can’t keep me away.

So, yes, I am naturally social, but as a new mom you need to be— for your sanity. My biggest piece of advice for those new to the club (including Carol who I chatted up this morning over my Blond Roast) is find other new moms who get what you’re going through (your single friends will not– believe me.)

My mom-group kinda saved me those first few months. I had gotten hooked in because a fellow mom blogger (Arielle) and I chatted each other up on the corner of 7th & Bleeker, exchanged info and planned a (play) date. She had already met a fab group of new moms through the neighborhood Parent’s Association (check those out too), and our weekly play dates, lunches, swim lessons, library runs, etc kept me sane.

So next time a mom on the playground catches your eye, go over and say hello. You never know where it could go.