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Jax’s P.S. 51 and Graduation Day, Pre-K

By Mama Cat Wayland
P.S. 51 or Elias Howe on 45th Street is an oasis of learning in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, NY, USA. As a parent, I do not know where to start with my first and last impressions of the year Jax spent there for his preschool.

Is it the first moment when I opened the door each morning to greeters and bustling children and meetings of parents in the gym-cafeteria-ballroom-auditorium? Is it the always smiling administrators of Principal Nancy Sing-Bok and Parent Coordinator Giselle Leon, and all the others in the Main Office. Is it the wonderful nurse Viv and the dentist on site who would bring Jax in for boo-boo Band-Aids and a new toothbrush? Is it the ballroom dancing classes, the ESL classroom, or the parents taking cooking classes?

I don’t know what exactly makes P.S. 51 so special. It is more than the details that I can share in a few paragraphs; it is the feeling that everyone was welcome. And that everyone can learn something inside the front doors of P.S.51. Everyone. The children are so busy with their lessons, the math competitions, community service projects, computer lab, the dancing, sports and their field trips. The teachers are so busy with their meetings. The parents are so busy with their lunches, planning after school events, and their own classes. P.S. 51 is a community of learning and everyone is “in” on it.

P.S. 51 is a little United Nations in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Jax had friends from all over the world in his preschool classroom. Many languages are spoken and yes, English is the language of the teaching and the learning. But parents and children flow in and out of the halls each day with many languages flowing in and out of the doors and windows. The announcements are in English and Spanish. There are days on the school calendar reserved for meals and sharing of all the cultures of the school – everyone shows off their recipes and cooking, and laughter and eating are the starting dialogue. Wonderful.

I think I will stop here and let Jax’s pictures of P.S. 51 and the day of his graduation from preschool say the rest. I think pictures are worth a thousand words. More than I can say is the smile on my son’s face. I owe P.S. 51 a debt of gratitude for the world they shared with our family. And all the learning that didn’t ever happen in a book.
Thank you, thank you P.S. 51

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