The city is an amazing place…especially for preschoolers!
Often, families impose an artificial timeline on themselves—and often, that timeline is, “we HAVE to be in the ‘burbs before the kids start school!”
While we absolutely get it, and we’ve absolutely seen tons of our city friends flee to the suburbs pre-preschool, here’s our take: toddlers and preschoolers belong in the big city. It was, truly, meant for them. Their natural inquisitiveness, their enthusiasm and their pure excitement at learning, growing and experiencing new things every single day.
That’s what kept the Urban Jungle team here, at least in the beginning, Watching our kids experience everything on a pint-sized level made us fall back in love with NYC all over again. And, now, we’re getting a chance to see and do things we never have before, simply because our crew can’t get enough—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Some of the reasons we’re staying through the preschool years?
#1. Three letters: UPK
Still relatively new, UPK—the city’s universal preK program—is open to all residents of all five boroughs. Now, your four-year-old can enroll in full-day preK for free at a local school. For many families who dropped $10,000, $20,000 or more on a “3s” program, this is a huge win.
In lots of cases, kids can stay in their current 3s school and simply scoop up a free year as part of UPK. In other cases, preK kids get into their future school, getting access to where they’ll spend K-5 a year early.
Keep in mind, some districts are also eligible for “3PK,” a similar 3s free program. The challenge? Access is still limited and not every school is jumping in.
#2. Milk, 24/7
You’re out of the baby stage but, still, preschoolers need things—a lot. In the suburbs, it can be tough to find even the basics after hours. Not so in the city. Not only can you get milk, bread, egg around-the-clock, but you can often order them with a quick click and have them delivered in minutes. Especially, when you have a cranky preschooler.
#3. Playdates just happen…
While you’ll undoubtedly coordinate playdates in the city or out, when you’re in NYC, you can simply pop over to a local park or playground and, instantly, your kids will have access to tons of playmates whether they are kids from the building, kids from school or afterschool classes or just kids they’ve seen out and about. That’s powerful and that builds community.
#4. Activities abound
Sure, the suburbs have arts and music and sports but in the city, it’s a different ball game. Preschoolers can sample anything and everything, from traditional sports/arts/theater to truly eclectic pursuits like fencing, DJ training, aerial arts and more—hello, college apps…
#5. Life happens in your “backyard”
Yes, your suburban friends have a backyard but you have (literally) everything else. From Central Park to the Natural History Museum to authentic cuisines and cultures that span the globe to epic options for everything from where to go to kindergarten to what show to see tomorrow afternoon, there’s no shortage of things to do, people to see and places to discover. It’s the ultimate landscape for a preschooler—and a perfect place to bring up baby.
Staying in the city? Urban Jungle’s got you covered. Get in touch with an Urban Jungle Strategist to start exploring the best neighborhoods for your family.