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HeartShare’s First Step Early Childhood Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, hosted an open house showcase in April 2015 for education administrators and teachers as a model early education program. The showcase featured HeartShare teachers utilizing art in social studies, science and mathematics. HeartShare Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Mabrouka Braktia, using a spring theme to explore science areas, such as weather, plants, gardening and pollution, commented,
“Each child deserves a vibrant education; one that engages them academically and empowers them personally with hands-on learning that sparks their imagination and curiosity.”
Through its Showcase Schools Program, the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Interschool Division of Teaching and Learning recognizes, celebrates, and shares best practices among city schools based on several criteria, including rigorous instruction and effective school leadership. “I am so proud that the HeartShare team has been nominated for this prestigious showcase and that our teachers have been recognized for their truly crucial impact on the lives of our students,” remarked First Step Program Director Jill Fitzgerald.
Some featured classrooms are comprised of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, while others bring together special needs and Universal Pre-K students. “HeartShare pre-schools are a powerful tool for the screening, identifying and intervening to address developmental delays,” explained teacher Emilia Nilkina. “It’s also a place for children from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds to come together.”