The Brooklyn Kindergarten Society (BKS) is the original “born in Brooklyn”. We were founded in 1891, and for 130 years, BKS has helped provide high quality early childhood education to some of Brooklyn’s most vulnerable children. BKS has grown up with the borough and continues to be a leader on equal access to a high quality early childhood education. BKS sees its mission as providing an equal first educational step to some of our borough’s youngest learners.
BKS, originally the Brooklyn Free Kindergarten Association, worked to provide kindergarten to immigrant communities primarily from Eastern Europe and Ireland. In addition to supporting the direct education of children from immigrant communities, BKS also promoted the professional development of teachers by supporting teacher training positions at various BKS run kindergartens. These positions helped to lift women out of poverty and provide them with opportunities to make a living outside of the home.
Today, BKS continues to chart its own course in supporting our earliest learners and serves communities and families with high rates of poverty and lack of economic opportunities. Through our seven early childhood education centers, located in NYCHA housing, BKS supports the cognitive development of more than 400 students aged 2 to 5-years old. Our Centers are situated in the Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Crown Heights neighborhoods. Our staff and students represent the diversity in those neighborhoods. We offer a creative curriculum that marries together reading, writing, movement and music, with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning.
Mission & Vision
Brooklyn Kindergarten Society is committed to nurturing our earliest learners to ensure that they reach their absolute potential. BKS works in partnership with our families to continue to be the stewards of passion, dedication, inspiration and so much more.
We believe that an equal first educational footing is essential to a child’s ability to grow and adapt. Educational disparities at an early age can impact achievement, graduation, earnings, and opportunities for a child’s lifetime. Providing an equal first educational step means children of color have just one less obstacle to “overcome” as they grow. BKS is not naïve enough to think that a child’s education is divorced from the rest of their life or their communities however, which is why BKS works to support and engage our families, as well as provide career development for our own staff. Our goal is to foster the following strategic priorities within the BKS community:
- High Quality Outcomes for All Children
- Strong Relationships with Parents and our Community
- Cultivating an Adult Culture of Learning and Inquiry
To that end, we look to serve more students in our neighborhoods. Shift away from a childcare model to a solid teaching model. Provide more comprehensive services (in house staffing and external partnerships both) for our students and their families to not only address hardships caused by Covid-19, but to work on larger issues of economic insecurity, economic mobility and educational attainment, and structural racism within education. We also see expanded access to enrichment programs including enhanced music and language programs, expanded STEAM curriculum, and to fully realize the “Sensory Gym”.