Who We Are
BKS has remained a leader in the early childhood field since 1891 serving numerous children and families who grow up and give back. Our generational impact is unmatched as well as a commitment to lifelong connections is unwavering. Our staff often relies on us to educate their children and in some instances our now adult former students opt to send their children to the centers as well. We serve children 2 to 5 years old that come from neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. And while our roots include centers operating within the city’s public housing developments, a growing number of our children do not reside in the developments yet still many come from families impacted economic hardship and related challenges.
BKS’ program model is grounded in the belief that parents, families and communities are the principal influences on the development of children. So in partnership, we work together to raise strong, healthy and curious children.
BKS teachers use high-quality, research-based curricula, understand how children learn, and receive ongoing professional training. BKS is recognized by Root Cause’s Social Impact Research Report on School Readiness as one of the top seven school readiness programs in New York City (more than 1,700 programs were examined in the metropolitan area).
Classrooms are designed for creative play. Children learn new skills in “interest areas,” with areas for blocks, dramatic play, music and movement, reading as well as sand and water play. Children engage in conversations, enjoy read alouds, learn songs and rhymes, and are exposed to diverse activities that expand their vocabulary and foster compassion.
Enrichment programs are key to developing cognitive and socio-emotional skills, and are a unique feature of BKS. Activities include: bi-lingual movement and music, Suzuki violin lessons, STEM gardening, and Tennis lessons.
We recognize that families, the key to children’s success, often benefit from resources and support beyond the classroom. To that end, BKS Family Services has built critical partnerships with human services agencies equipped to provide counseling, referral services, and workshops for children and their families.
BKS preschools operate twelve months a year, ten hours a day, unlike most New York City Universal Prekindergarten classes. A nutritious hot breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack are served family style every day. Each classroom has three teachers. In every class, there is at least one Spanish-speaking teacher to meet the needs of our early language learners. The city relies heavily on organizations like BKS to make wider access to preschool possible—about 60% of UPK classes are held at private and community-based organizations like BKS.
As a matter of compassion, justice, and solid public policy, BKS believes that every child deserves a high-quality education, an enriching environment, and the opportunity to fulfill his or her potential.