PLG’s Maple Street School in Talks With Glassy Tower

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Children are an increasing population in Brooklyn, sometimes sparking a culture war that’s feeling a bit stale, but more importantly putting a strain on pre-school programs. Prospect-Lefferts Gardens’ Maple Street School, operating out of the Prospect Park B/Q/S station, is no exception, with a waiting list up to 100 children that’s bound to grow if developer Henry Herbst builds his planned tower next door. But Maple Street board member Marc Dicus said he hopes the tower will also give the school a chance to expand. The two parties are in talks, said Herbst and Dicus, for Maple Street to lease the tower’s 23,000-square-foot community facility. “We’re in just very intial conversations with him about being interested in that space,” said Dicus. “We’re a nursery school and we may not be able to go on the second floor; we may only be allowed on a ground floor. But if it’s feasible, we’d like to serve more kids.” He said the school would keep its subway station space, leased until 2015. Maple Street School takes children aged 2 to 5, but it’s licensed up to age 6. Director Wendy Cole said the additional space could give them room for a kindergarten program. Already, she said the co-operative school, started in 1978 by a group of parents, serves 80 families. The diverse group of kids can regularly be seen lined up, holding hands and wearing little matching vests, on their way to the zoo, Botanic Gardens, Audobon Center or Prospect Park. “There’s a shortage of pre-k programs in general,” said Dicus. “There’s just been a huge explosion of children going to school in the borough.” Do you think more new buildings should provide space for strained facilities?
There’s Not Enough Room in City’s Kindergartens [NY Mag]
Glassy Tower Bad News For Birds, Says Expert [Brownstoner]
Common Area Dispute Erupts Into Culture War at BellTel[Brooklyn Eagle]
Park Slope Stroller Nazi Story Getting a Little Stale[Brownstoner]

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  • It’s botanic, not botanical.

  • Biff Champion

    I hope the migrating rugrats don’t get confused by the reflections in the glassy tower and try to run through the windows!

  • Who thinks this tower will actually get built? I can’t imagine it is going to survive the downturn.

  • great! now my kids will have to skip over dead buzzards from canada before going into class.

  • The Cobble Hill Playgrgoup, a long-standing, cooperative pre-school in the Cobble Hill/Carroll Garden area, purchased a 4,000 s.f. commuity facilities unit at 93 Rapeleye Street three years. While the developer and the school were very motivated, the amount of government red tape involved (it required agency sign-off from DOB, DOH and FDNY!!!) made it almost a non-start. If we really want to aid non-profits in the space crunch, govenment agencies need to be reading off the same page when it comes to issuing a C of O for a building with a community facilities.

  • There are actually lots of pre-k spots available at local public schools in PLG. The yuppies, the buppies and the bo-bos won’t send their kids there.

  • I bet you 11:46 is right and if he’s not we shouldn’t try to solve real problems with fictional buildings.

  • great! now my buzzards will have to skip over dead kids from canada before going into class.

  • good lord 11:46 – This was about PRE-SCHOOLS, not pre-K. My child entered pre-school when she turned 2 and will stay until kindergarten because 1) pre-k only takes late 4′s, and 2) most pre-k programs are filled to the brink.

    great idea. good luck. more developers should do this.

  • 12:49,

    public pre-k don’t take only late 4s. enrollment is based on the year the child was born. Also, most public pre-k programs in the PLG area are not over enrolled, just not desirable to a certain ilk.

  • great! now my canadian elk will have to skip over dead buzzards before going into class.

  • 11:30 – you must oppose AY, as only an anti-AY nut would engage in the hairsplitting that you do.

  • 1:09 still pre-k is not pre-school. and that is what this is addressing. personally, as a white yuppie, i would not move to that hood because i do not have the time to fight the public school culture battle. and, i think it’s way tougher to gentrify or gain ground in a mostly black neighborhood.

    also, it’s too far for me anyway.

  • If Clinton Hill is any guide (and we all know it is the standard by which all others are judged) parents are more than willing to trust the public schools with their children in pre-k and kindergarten. After that it becomes more of a delicate dance around issues of race, class, and entitlement in negotiating with existing communities. Some principals seem up to the task, others not so much.

    Of course that said, whether or not parents are comfortable with the public schools is irrelevant to the need for more pre-schools in every neighborhood.

    And bo-bos – as in bourgeois bohemians?

  • 1:42, I agree that it is hard to fight “the public school culture battle” but your statement “it’s way tougher to gentrify or gain ground in a mostly black neighborhood.” Is untrue. Harlem, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, all previously predominantly Black areas, seems to have gentrified as easily as Park Slope which was predominantly Puerto Rican and Black.

  • 1:42, what do you think Fort Green and Prospect Heights were even as recently as the late 1990s? They were mostly black neighborhoods and the gentrification of those areas seems to have moved along as easily as it has moved swiftly–and successfully, I might add. The ease of gentrifying a neighborhood is not dependent on the people who currently occupy the area, but the transition depends much more on location, size of the area (geographically and population-wise), and housing stock (houses versus apt buildings), etc. It’s really amazing how people post things that make absolutely no sense.

  • 1:42, what do you think Fort Green and Prospect Heights were even as recently as the late 1990s? They were mostly black neighborhoods and the gentrification of those areas seems to have moved along as easily as it has moved swiftly–and successfully, I might add. The ease of gentrifying a neighborhood is not dependent on the people who currently occupy the area, but the transition depends much more on location, size of the area (geographically and population-wise), and housing stock (houses versus apt buildings), etc. It’s really amazing how people post things that make absolutely no sense.

  • “personally, as a white yuppie, i would not move to that hood because i do not have the time to fight the public school culture battle. and, i think it’s way tougher to gentrify or gain ground in a mostly black neighborhood. also, it’s too far for me anyway.”

    People in Lefferts Manor can afford private schools. Sorry.

  • Two observations about the Maple Street School:

    1–I’ve long known that many parents from outside of PLG brought there kids here, but I’d always assumed that they were from further south in Flatbush, since dropping kids off at this location, next to the Prospect Park subway station, is really easy for anyone on the Q (Brighton) line. When I attended a fund raiser last Fall, I was surprised to learn that many out of neighborhood parents were from closer-in brownstone neighborhoods. Maybe that shouldn’t have been such a surprise because–

    2–my son attended MSS in the mid-80s and I know how good it’s always been.

  • Bob,

    I know someone who lives in a Park Slope Coop who takes the train “Q” back a couple of stops to drop of her child and then reboards for her commute to the city. “Q” train must not be as bad as some make it out to be and PLG/Victorian Flatbush is not as “far out” as others say.

  • I’ve tried posting twice on this thread today and it won’t appear! Problem??

  • 5:37,

    FWIW PLG (Prospect Park stop) is only one stop from Park Slope (7th Ave). Close in physical distance; far, for some, in perception.

  • To clarify terms for the uninitiated:

    “Preschool” is for two-year-olds and three-year-olds.

    “Pre-kindergarten” aka “Pre-K” or “UPK” (the state term) is for four-year-olds.

    Many, but not all, public schools offer UPK, a free pre-K program for any child who turns four in that calendar year. Many of these programs are “half day,” which is to say from 9 to 11:30. Pretty much nobody wants these programs. Others are “full day,” which is 9 to 3. The UPK program is administered separately from elementary schools. Most UPK programs are pretty good, no matter the state of the elementary school that houses them. Most full-day UPK programs are full. In Brooklyn, and particularly in brownstone Brooklyn, there are WAY more four-year-olds who need / want UPK than there are full-day spots.

    I don’t know PLG schools in particular, but if they are low-scoring, higher-income parents may be reluctant to send their children to their perfectly good UPKs because they don’t intend to send their children to the not-so-good elementary schools. Having a young child in three different schools in three years is not a desirable scenario.

  • Good info 6:57. I can definitely see how most “UPK’s” are good programs considering that they aren’t run by the DOE. Besides, how bad can the teachers screw things up at that age?