Wayne Ho, of the Campaign for Children, stands in front of some 20 children from the Chung Pak Daycare Center who made a silent plea for funding.
Rows of tiny children shivered inside puffy coats on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to make the cutest case possible for daycare, after-school, and full-day preschool funding.
Their plea wasn’t directed at the outgoing mayor, but the incoming one, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, whose campaign was fueled by a pledge to tax the rich to pay for full-day pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds and after-school programs for all middle-school students.
“We are here today ... to say: take your campaign promise and turn it into a reality,” said Wayne Ho, chief policy officer for Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, one of more than 150 advocacy groups and service providers in the Campaign for Children, a coalition formed to fight cuts to early-childhood and after-school programs.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott prepares to read to a group of 4-year-olds at the Bank Street Head Start center.
Using skills developed at his first job, Chancellor Dennis Walcott dropped to the floor at Manhattan's Bank Street Head Start center today and read a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to a circle of 4-year-olds.
Just as he said he had as a pre-kindergarten teacher in the 1970s, Walcott changed his voice for the different characters and acted out parts of the story, keeping the children laughing and acting along. (Watch video of the reading.)
The read-aloud came during a break in painting, mashing play dough, building with blocks, and assembling magnetic tiles — activities that look like fun and games but actually reflect the city's academic goals for pre-K students.
Those goals are set out in the city's new curriculum standards, called the Common Core, which start in pre-K. Like all city students, children in the Department of Education's pre-K classes are expected to complete Common Core-aligned "tasks" this year like the ones the DOE has suggested for units about trucks, plants, and the five senses.
Among the Common Core standards for pre-K: Students should engage in group reading activities such as the one Walcott led and practice addition and subtraction using everyday objects.