There’s no question about it: applying to Kindergarten in NYC is not for the weak. There are so many schools, private and public, each with its own set of requirements, tests, interviews, hoops to jump through. A parent can find themselves dragging a confused, sniffling child to many a desperate “playdate,” wondering, why? What? How did this happen to us?
But it doesn’t have to be like that. The process of finding a school need not be desperate or frightening. For us, it never was. From the first time that we visited Schechter Manhattan, when Bella, our seventh grader, was four, we were welcomed warmly. Schechter Manhattan felt like a secret; a respite from the madness.
Last week, my youngest, my baby-who-is-actually-sniff-almost-five, Louisa, was admitted to Schechter. We are thrilled, and not just because the process was as smooth and welcoming as ever. Louisa first visited Schechter Manhattan when she was barely a week old. I would bring her uptown on the subway, tied to my chest in a baby wrap. She has been asking for quite a while when it will be her turn to go to Schechter Manhattan. We have no doubt that the inquiry-based learning model will feed her curiosity. We are looking forward to the enrichment of her connection to the Jewish people, and to the Hebrew language. She will also benefit from being a part of a warm and caring community, just as her sisters have.
Growing up in New York City can be intimidating, loud, and busy; the smallness and warmth of Schechter Manhattan is a wonderful respite for my city kids. Having been a New Yorker for my entire adult life, I know a city secret when I see one. Schechter Manhattan is ours.
—Rachel Mann is a writer of plays and fiction and an editor at McGraw-Hill Education. She and her husband, Josh Rosenblatt, are the parents of Bella, 13, Ruby, 11, and Louisa, 4.