I cannot write a review that will do this school, its teachers, the other parents, or the fantastic students justice. If you are looking for a school that will help your children become the best versions of themselves - look no further. Or, no, please look. I am confident you won't be able to find another school that can do as much for your child as City Kids can, but at least if you compare it with the other schools, as I did, you'll be even more confident in your decision.
We feel so lucky every day that we get to send our daughter (and soon our son) to this fantastic learning environment. A little jealous of them, too.
In preschool (and beyond) there is a huge focus on social-emotional intelligence, as well as fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and more - all through fun play-based and project-based learning. Starting at 3.5 years old, the kiddos get to start going on field trips throughout the city... about twice a week! They also learn about financial literacy, and they learn about a new country each month - even eating cuisines from that place.
EVERY child gets a specialized learning plan based on what they need. Every child. This is amazing. The individualized attention is spectacular. And the classes are a ratio of 1 teacher per 7 students in preschool. They really know your child. It makes such a difference!
The Spanish immersion component of the curriculum was the initial and greatest draw for us. They speak only in Spanish with the children until after nap. The children learn it so well, so quickly. My daughter is 4 years old and speaks it well and understands it perfectly. Her English is also excellent (which is what we speak at home.)
The food was a huge draw for me, as I don't particularly like to have to pack snacks and lunches every day of the week. (*I hate it.) No need to do that here. They feed them breakfast, lunch and a snack. All vegetarian food, but they don't preach about it, it just is how it is, and it's served family style so all the kids are eating the same stuff at the same time.
Time was also a huge draw for me. You can drop off as early as 8am and pick up as late as 6PM! I didn't find that anywhere else, unless I wanted to pay an additional fee after 4pm. Not at City Kids!
The extracurricular activities are awesome too. My daughter learns aerial arts, and she's taken soccer and has even gotten to perform a little show at YADA (Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts) and more - all through City Kids. They also go swimming for an hour each week at Lenny K at the JCC. It's chaperoned by the teachers and by the actual swim instructors, and the kids wear float up vests, and are given pool noodles, etc. They have a great time.
The preschool location at Venice is basically like a children's museum. There is a little market, and a hospital, and big twisty slide into a ball pit which is the "pool". There is a light / shadow room for the kids above that. Outside there is a sort of tree house fort thing over a huge sandbox (with a place to hose them off afterwards.) There is a huge aerial arts setup, and a "maker's space" in back where they can do art projects, sew, and soon even learn some woodworking. There is a great library, too. You sort of have to see it to believe it.
The school also has a huge focus on building community - with families meeting up on weekends, for the annual camping trip *I'm not a camper and I REALLY enjoyed it!*, family beach days, and more. The other families and what they have come to mean to me and our family was a surprise that I wasn't expecting, but that I cherish.
There is such amazing diversity at this school too - families from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds are part of our community. We have moms and dads, single parents, families with two mommies or two daddies - no matter who you are, City Kids is ready to embrace you AND your amazing little one(s).
The mission of the school: To create future innovators, globally responsible citizens, and mindful individuals.
I see it happening already. And I can't wait to see what these kids are going to accomplish in the years ahead.