Astoria Blue Feather Head Start, (ABF), located in Astoria, Queens, has been providing high quality services to children and their families for over 15 years. The preschool was recently awarded the Gold Certificate of Excellence by the Administration of Children and Family Services/US Department of Health and Human Services.
ABF educates sixty-five children in inclusionary classrooms, twelve children in a self-contained class, and ensures high teacher to student ratios in all instructional settings. Classrooms include young learners receiving Special Education services, as well typically-developing children, from the local Astoria community. As a Head Start program, Astoria Blue Feather is unique among AHRC New York City preschools.
With students who learn best with content presented in other languages, ABF has teachers who can provide bilingual instruction in the classroom setting. Bilingual staff is available to assist families to grasp the sometimes complex issues surrounding their child’s preschool education and future decision making.
ABF offers multiple opportunities for all parents to visit the school, attend free workshops and volunteer. The parents are invited to attend progress report and team meetings. Parents are always recognized as key participants in their child’s education.
Understanding the differences between each child and family allows the teachers and school leaders at ABF to plan, develop, and implement developmentally appropriate practices. This encompasses each child’s individual learning style, and address specific family needs. These efforts contribute to a school culture that is safe, supportive, and stimulating for all children. Helps foster collaborative partnerships with families, to prepare children for elementary school.
At ABF, instruction is provided by highly-experienced educators who understand child development, value and respect individual diversity. All inclusionary classrooms have a Special Education teacher, a child development associate, and an assistant teacher, all who hold New York State certifications. The school also benefits from a dedicated team of school administrators and therapists to help cultivate a successful learning environment; this includes a Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational and Physical Therapist, Nutritionist, School Psychologist, specialists in technology, curriculum, and childhood development.
These resources guide educational programming as the students develop skills, build meaningful relationship, and collect valuable experiences. Instructors are also expected to utilize the Creative Curriculum for Children in their classrooms.
The Creative Curriculum, which is present in all AHRC NYC preschools, focuses on child development, learning environments, content areas, defining the teacher role, and recognizing the family role. Along with establishing specific “interest areas” in the classroom (e.g. block area, dramatic play area, etc.). The Creative Curriculum has shown to facilitate social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. The Creative Curriculum emphasizes small group instruction and rotations in order to provide the most effective, accessible instruction. Visual, auditory, and hands-on teaching are all aspects of the Creative Curriculum approach and provide the instructional tools needed to further child development.
Teachers are also trained on a corresponding Assessment system, Teaching Strategies Gold: Objectives for Development and Learning Assessment Tool. This allows them to accurately track children’s progress and identify areas that need further attention. Further, teachers at ABF have access to Handwriting Without Tears, Stern Math, I Am Moving, I Am Learning (IMIL), and Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK).
With access to multiple curricular resources and consistent training, teachers can arrange classrooms that support overall childhood development and allow for individualization when necessary.
When it comes to preschool education, the administration and teachers at ABF recognize five essential domains that impact instruction and learning. They are:
The daily activities, lessons, and tasks are designed with these domains in mind.
Astoria Blue Feather Head Start
27-07 8th Street
Astoria, NY 11102
Principal: Denise Polanco-Nieves
School Hours: 8:45 to 2:15