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NY schools

(30 Posts)
bambiandthumper Sun 12-Dec-10 16:54:54

Hi everyone, just joined in the hope you can provide me with some advice!

DH's job is moving us to New York around May/June next year, so we need to find schools for our 3 year old twins (DS and DD) to start at in September. I understand that they will need Kindergarten places, and that it is crazy competitive over there.
At the moment the DT's are in the Nursery section of a central London Girls Prep (the Pre-Prep section is Co-ed), DD was going to stay on and DS would leave at 7+ with the rest of the boys. What I think I am trying to say is that we are happy with Single Sex, though I guess Co-Ed would be good from a practical sense!
We will be living in Manhattan (looking at the Upper East Side and Tribeca), and will go Independent. In the New Year we will pop over to have a proper look at apartments and schools, but I wanted to get any opinions anyone had on the schools we are considering (thus far), and if we had left any off:

Nightengale Bamford
Convent of the Sacred Heart

St Bernards


We will also need to get DD2's (6 months) name down for a nursery at some point, so any recomendation's there would be most welcome!

bambiandthumper Sun 12-Dec-10 22:39:25

Any opinion on any school in our area would be useful!

SatinandTat Mon 13-Dec-10 01:31:20

I am so sorry I have very little experience of NY. I know from people who have moved to / from the area that it is a hideous process. Even with the weight of a large corporation behind them children are not guarranteed places. There is a novel titled Admissions by Nancy Liebman that is supposed to be a scarily accurate portrayal of the system. The only practical thing I can say is that you should be looking at JK or junior kindergarten not kindergarten. You should also start the process now - don't wait, contact the admissions offices as soon as you can so you are on their radar. Work with the HR department of your relocating organization, get in touch with the spouses of other ex pats - be really, really proactive. Good luck.

bambiandthumper Mon 13-Dec-10 11:38:11

Thankyou so much SatinandTat, that is unbelievably helpful about the JK places, they would be starting Reception next September if we were to stay over here.
I too have heard the process is horrendously competitive, and there are all sorts of tests and 'playdate' assessments, they are only 4 fgs hmm.
DH's company has provided us with some contacts who have been incredibly helpful, but ultimately it boils down to their cleverness, as unfortunately we are neither diverse candidates or legacies - two factors that take precedence in the process, just showing how the schools really only reflect such a minority in society.
I will try and pick up that book this afternoon, I am off for a quick dose of Winter sun tomorrow but will be back on Sunday, so bump for anyone else!!

SatinandTat Mon 13-Dec-10 12:54:19

Enjoy the sun! Our DC attend a school where legacy and annual giving (on top of the huge fees)are the key - we didn't understand all of this when we came here. It is a strange environment and you have to have a thick skin and be happy with who you are! On the plus side the academics are great. One of mine took the selective playmate assessment and exam at four. It isn't as awful as it sounds. Good luck.

bambiandthumper Mon 13-Dec-10 17:41:35

May I ask where abouts you live/ what school satinandtat?
I'm glad to hear it wasn't too horrendous for you, and hopefully will be the same for us.
The legacy bit didn't suprise me too much, both DH and I attended public schoools in England where precedence is openly given to the children of old boys/girls, though the annual giving is much more of a subtlety
For you did the majority of children come from a specific few pre schools/ nursery, and did your children take the ERB? I am starting to get quite worried about the latter, but it seems to be shrouded In a cloud of mystery!

dinosaurinmybelly Mon 13-Dec-10 18:13:19

Hello Bambi - we move out here from London 3 years ago and As i was pregnant with DS2 I didn't have time to get involved in all the hype. It will be fine- the preschools here are great. I am on the Upper West Side so happy to help with any specific questions in relation that area. I do know that the process kicks off the first Tuesday in Sep which is the day after Labor Day so at is when you will need to step up to secure a Kindergarten place for your little ones in Sep 12. They would need to be 5 before 31Dec12 to gain entry that year. The Dec date cutoff is different to the UK.

bambiandthumper Mon 13-Dec-10 23:13:01

hi dinosaur, we are aiming more for the east side, but it would be great to hear your opinions on any preschools , good or bad, and any of the schools I listed in my first post!
My DT's will be 4 in May, so am I right in thinking that they will have a year of pre k and start kindergarten in September '12? I can't believe I'm thinking this far ahead!

dinosaurinmybelly Wed 15-Dec-10 05:20:55

Hello Bambi - we are at Dwight and can highly recommend it. They also have a preschool feeder called Woodside which I also have experience of. Other Kindergarten choices on the UWS include Calhoun and Claremont which are very good. I walk by Collegiate a lot but have no experience of it I'm afraid. I think whichever school you choose, you will be pleasantly surprised however. There are also some good public school options here (state schools) and they have specialist schools for the gifted and talented where places are highly sought after as you can imagine. On the East side I know that Bono sent his kids to Dalton and that they are rumored to ask for a significant donation to their Annual Fund at the interview. I have friends who attend St Steohens of Hungary school on the Eastside and they love it. There is also the British International School done by the United Nations Building to consider. If a school is a good fit but far from where you live, often there are buses which pick up and drop off so ask about that.
Outside of schools, if you settle on the East side you have fantastic access to Central Park, the Met, the Guggenheim and the 92nd street YMCA which has an incredible program for kids with after school language, sorts, music, art etc. Fear not, you little ones will thrive here...

bambiandthumper Tue 28-Dec-10 16:39:35

bump for anyone else

MilaMae Tue 04-Jan-11 14:28:38

Can I just ask is this the same situation for all schools or just pre-schools?

Also are there any decent state schools or are they highly over subscribed?

bambiandthumper Tue 04-Jan-11 18:09:01

I have a feeling it is like this all over for the independent sector, and for the best public (state) schools.

DH and I are going over at the end of the month to have a look at preschools and houses, so can get a more accurate picture then.

dinosaurinmybelly Wed 05-Jan-11 00:02:05

There are decent public schools and they have limited capacity, however their catchment area changes to match their capacity and so it is entirely possible to find a place to rent within their catchment area and any good real estate broker would be able to help you do that. We are on the Upper West side, where PS199 is a very good school.

cityangel Thu 06-Jan-11 12:27:03

Hi Bambie, I have just found out dh may also be moving to NYC and I have a 2 year old ds due to go to Pre school in Sept in London. How are you getting on? I am keen for us to live in Manhatten somewhere pushchair/ family friendly (also have a 4 month ds) I may only have a month to do all my research so am gratefull for any feedback.

midtowner Thu 06-Jan-11 12:39:06

I live on Manhattan, but my children are older so I don't know much about pre-K/K. People I know have children at the UN school, British School (both a long way from the UES), Dwight and Nightingale, but again they are all older than yours. I've heard people with little kids talk about pre-Schools of America, but that sounds more like a full time nursery (these are working parents) than a school if that makes sense.

The one thing I would say is that there are other places to live in New York - e.g. Brooklyn, parts of Queens, where you can get more for your money accommodation-wise: I've found apartment living in Manhattan great for me and DH, but less good for DS's. Ds2 (who's 9) in particular finds the lack of outside space difficult, and with hindsight we'd have been better off a bit further out, but in a house with a garden. Having said that, there are lots of young families on Manhattan, and it's perfectly do-able, especially if it's only for a few years!

bambiandthumper Thu 06-Jan-11 23:06:48

Hi midtowner and cityangel!!

Cityangel- We are going out to look at apartments and pre-schools in February. After looking online and talking to a few friends and people we have been put in touch with who live over there, we have pretty much decided that the UES will be the best fit for us, in terms of schools and what we can get for our budget. We are also going to have a look at Tribeca though, so we can get a different 'feel', though I think DH prefers the UES. We are arranged to look around All Souls, 92nd Y, Episcopal and Brick Church, though last night I had a look on Urban baby shock shock (only do so after a strict drink), and I think I will have to do a bit more googling!

Midtowner - How are your friends finding Nightingale? This was on my list for the DD's when I thought the DT's would be starting school next year as they would be in England blush. And do you have any recommendations for preschools? We have definitely decided to go for Manhattan, we currently live in London and love it, and if we decide we need more space we can always move out later, though I don't think we will be there long enough at the moment, but who knows!

cityangel Fri 07-Jan-11 01:36:46

cool will be following closely any feedback would be great.

Any tips on sites to look for rentals Google is a minfield and the corporate real estate people are behind the curve

bambiandthumper Fri 07-Jan-11 12:15:22

I'm on my iphone, and haven't worked out how to do links yet on it, but I have found the NY magazine website in terms of general information. It has a good section on real estate and sections on education, culture ect..

I have just looked at Southeby's real estate, I know DH has looked at more but neither of us can remember which one.

pooka Sat 08-Jan-11 00:25:33

Oh my god. Have just been sucked into urban baby. It is insane. I thought school stress was bad enough here. The competitiveness and bitchiness about pre-school admissions! Unbelievable. But so addictive as a site.

bambiandthumper Sat 08-Jan-11 01:15:31

Hi pooka, are you another one who's moving out then?

bambiandthumper Sat 08-Jan-11 01:16:11

Oh, its horrific isn't it.

pooka Sat 08-Jan-11 07:46:42

No! No not moving. But find it fascinating to compare UK/NY. Mumsnet/UB. So many of the same sort of threads (clothes/mothers in law) but way more about household income, donations to private schools, whether a 3 year old is "connected".

I'm thinking though that UB not representative of the majority of New Yorkers.

pooka Sat 08-Jan-11 07:54:16

I'm hooked. People are so forthright. grin

pooka Sat 08-Jan-11 07:55:47

I do think that moving to NYC sounds like a fantastic adventure. Love love love the place. Alas DH works for very settled family firm (his family). So no chance envy

said Sun 09-Jan-11 23:55:03

Ha ha - me too at being hooked on Urban Baby. People are so rude grin.

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