Moving from Park Slope, Brooklyn to Long Island was a scary transition for our little family steeped with city to suburb culture shock and many unknowns. Scarier still was the idea that, if I wanted to go back for my Master’s degree in eduation, our little 2 year old boy, who had never spent a minute alone with anyone but immediate family members, would have to be shipped off to dreaded day care. Well, call it karma, call it luck, call it whatever, after weeks of internet research and phone calls I found the most conveinent choice to be right around the block from our new home, literally walking distance. Calling All Kids, at that time was located on Park Avenue in Huntington and it was there that I found the wonderful caring director and staff that I do business with to this day, 4 years and another child later.
Calling All Kids has since moved, and is now called Calling All Kids, Again. It is located at 563 Broadhollow Road (Rte 110) in Mellvile, Long Island. Upon entering the first thing you will notice is how unique the school is physically. The building is a sprawling and spacious one story barn type structure with vaulted ceilings that give it an open loft like feel. Personal ID numbers must be keyed into a pad to enter, giving parents a comfy sense of security. Once in the lobby a very friendly receptionist greets all kids by name. Inside the ‘barn’ there are three distinct sections. Quardened off from the rest of the facility are a the baby rooms for the tiny ones, shoes off please as you walk through the picket fence like gate that lets moms and babies into the infant court, which is a cushy play area with soft toys that stimulate gross motor skills and eye hand coordinaion. This baby court is shared by the occupants of the two baby rooms, inside which are individual cribs for each baby, high chairs, and changing tables.
Outside the baby area is a very large toddler court filled with bigger and better toys for the older sect who reside in the three toddler rooms that flank it. Bright colored balls, tunnels, trikes, and see-saws litter the carpeted floor of this court and inside each toddler room more toys including a rice table and art station entertain and teach the 2 and 3 year olds.
Walking through a large archway brings you into an even larger court, the preschooler’s court. A wooden bridge, a basket ball goal, more balls, and other big kid toys are available for the preschoolers who are in the three rooms along the back of the court. In the preschool rooms are more toys, puzzels, blocks, art stations, science corners, dress-up bins, and so much more.
And then there is the outside. The entire length of the building is enclosed by a beautiful white fence and between the building and fence are a series of playgrounds for each developmental group; a baby playground, a toddler playground, and a preschool playground. The equipment is fun and safe; climbing structures, slides, sandboxes, and more.
My favorite things about Calling All Kids, Again are; all the children’s art on the walls, their attitude toward structure (which is essentially that some structure is neccessary and appropriate, but let’s also follow the individual child’s lead as to what he/she wants to do and when, for example, art isn’t only at art time, a child can paint whenever the urge hits), and Adam the Music Man, the director’s son who plays the guitar and sings twice a week with the kids. I could go on and on.
My first son is a gradute from the pre-K room at Calling All Kids, Again, and kindergarten was quite successful, I credit his preschool experience very much for his success. My baby just graduted from the baby room to the toddler room at their sister location, the smaller, but just as wonderful, Calling All Kids, Too. I wish I could keep having kids just to keep this wonderful school in my life, it is truly a special place.