Aug. 26, 2013 By Christian Murray
Demand to gain entry into free pre-K programs in New York City is fierce–and that is no different in Sunnyside.
Last year, more than 300 applicants tried to gain entry into PS 150’s program—with only 76 seats available, according to the Department of Education. Meanwhile, PS 199 does not offer a pre-K program.
To help alleviate the overcrowding problem, Sunnyside Community Services is launching its first pre-K program this September.
The center, best known for looking after seniors and offering after-school programs, decided to start the program since there are so many parents of 4-years-olds that can’t get into a public school program.
Sunnyside Community Services’ program, called Sunnyside Up, provides parents with an alternative pre-K option. Its program, which it has just started to market, will offer 36 seats and will start September 9 and run through June. The program will be run out of 39-01 Queens Blvd.
Entry into the Sunnyside Up program is on a first-come-first-served basis. This differs from public school programs where a lottery system is used to determine those children who get seats.
The Sunnyside Up program will offer free half-day programs, with a fee for those parents who want their child to remain in pre-K for the remainder of the day. The program will be in new classrooms, with accredited teachers and full-day, morning or afternoon sessions.
The location of the program is attractive, according to the program director, since it is just a few blocks away from the local elementary schools PS 150 and PS 199.
Pre-K is considered important for young children, since it helps their brain develop and teaches them how to sit still and get along with their classmates.