I Saw Your Preschool-Brooklyn Children’s Academy

Received Tuesday, December 11, 2007 -Preschool Warnings
I am a parent of a student at this preschool in Brooklyn, or rather "was". It's not a bad nanny but it sure is bad childcare. This is the flyer which we are distributing outside of the 'open houses' that the school is having to try to replace the 43 families they have already swindled.

Are you considering sending your child to Brooklyn Children’s Academy Preschool?

Please continue reading about the experience of current and former parents:

Virtually all of the 43 families that were enrolled at BCAP as of November 1st have now withdrawn their child as a result of the events outlined below:

• After a year of constant delays, on November 1, 2007 parents and teachers were given 2 business days’ notice of the move to the 25 Dean St Location. Teachers were expected to pack their classrooms WHILE watching a full room of children.

• On Wednesday, November 7th, BCAP opened its doors at 25 Dean St. Parents were horrified to bring their children in and discover a completely unsafe environment with:

• Toxic fumes from carpets installed the night before

• Unpainted walls

• Exposed outlets

• One working bathroom for all the children and NO bathroom for the staff
(they were told to go to Starbucks)

• No heat

• An open, unattended front door with no security system

• The Administrator, Lucy Kramer and the Executive Director, Andy Lewis, maintained that the school was safe and operable, and that problems were merely cosmetic.

• Further investigation by the parents revealed that the school had NO LICENSE TO OPERATED A CHILDCARE CENTER from NYC, and no Certificate of Occupancy.

• On November 9th, an inspector from the NYC Dept of Health ordered the school to close until all violations were corrected. 25 Dean St remains closed; BCAP left families in the lurch for a month while they looked for a temporary location. During all of this, communication with the parents was sporadic at best. Efforts to force accountability from the Executive Director have failed. Phone calls, emails and certified letters to the Executive Director have gone unanswered. We wrote a letter to the Board members of Better Brooklyn Community Center (the parent organization that runs BCAP), only to find that most of them said they had either resigned from the Board or never been on it in the first place.

• Parents also learned that the BCAP teacher’s paychecks have been bouncing since last summer. A teacher discovered that her health insurance had been cancelled due to non-payment of premium by her employer, BBCC.

BCAP has a history of very high teacher turnover. During all of 2007, there was little consistency in the classrooms. Some children saw up to six teachers come and go in just 10 months. Teachers left because they didn’t get paid, and because they were treated with disrespect by the school’s administration.

• NONE of the teachers employed at BCAP on September 1, 2007 remain. BCAP fired one head teacher for insubordination after she raised concerns about the safety of the children. BCAP also recently laid off all of their assistant teachers. As of December 7th, all the remaining teachers have now resigned.

• Families were charged full tuition for the month of November and were provided with THREE days of care in a legal, licensed space. We were then invoiced for December with no acknowledgement or offer of refund for the lack of care provided in the previous month. Brooklyn Children’s Academy Preschool should not be trusted with the safety and welfare of your child. They jeopardized the safety of our children without apology or remorse. Please be careful if you are considering this school.

Do you have a warning about a preschool or daycare to share with our readers? Please email isawyournanny@aol.com .


Kate in CO said...

How very sad for the children who are caught in the middle of this mess.....how the heck does this happen????????

mom said...

Just be careful in everything you say and in all materials you distribute to potential customers. You may face a lawsuit. Not that you shouldn't be alerting the public...in my opinion you should. But in the event they sue you for libel or slander, you will want to be able to back up everything you have said with documentation. As far as I know, the truth is always a defense to those claims. (But that doesn't stop some people from suing anyway...particularly the unethical ones...which it sounds like these might be.)

Anonymous said...

Although there is nothing good to say about the daycare, I commend the parents for taking the teachers into consideration. As a former preschool/daycare teacher (who is never to return), I was repeatedly berated by the director and owner, and was once told to "tone it down" while a prospective family was visiting. I once mentioned that I didn't feel well, and the director told me to take a pregnancy test because I was probably pregnant. We earned one day of vacation for every two months worked, had no spring break, were required to come in over the week of summer break, and were withheld paychecks over Christmas break. I'll admit that I did leave abruptly in the middle of the year, but when parents asked me why I was leaving, I was honest. I told them that I loved the kids, I loved my coworkers, but I could no longer handle the administration. I'm so glad I got out of preschool - I'm currently in graduate school, and teaching in a public school that I love. I can't say that I won't put my (unborn) children in daycare, but I'm going to avoid it as long as possible. I've worked in too many to know how horribly they treat the teachers, and I couldn't send my child there knowing how overworked the teachers are.

One more thing for the parents who send their children to daycare - the nicer you are to the teachers, the nicer we are to your kids. And no, we are not available to babysit after-hours.

Anonymous said...

Woah, 3:51, I was feeling sorry for you but your last two comments made me snap. So you just take it out on the kid if you do not like the parent? Sounds quite professional. I can understand why you would not put your own kids in child care...
I have always been nice (at least tried to) to my kid's preschool teachers, because I have a deep respect and admiration for what they do, not to play favorites.
And I am glad you do not babysit after hours.

Anonymous said...

calm yourself, 4:21. I think her point was that when you go out of your way to be extra nice to a teacher, she appreciates it and will of course be willing to go out of her way for your kid. this does not mean that the level of care for the other kids suffers in the slightest.

in life, there are some people you like more than others. it doesn't mean that you treat everyone you know badly -- it just means that there are some people you are extra-warm with.

Anonymous said...

holy crap! the difference between what you posted and the sense you get from their web site is huge! thank you for posting this.

OP - original poster said...

I don't think they want the publicity of a lawsuit. Plus they don't have money to pay teachers, I doubt they will pay a lawyer in a losing cause. And finally, well, it's all true.

mom said...

Actually 8:17 is probably right.
I volunteered in my children's classrooms all through elementary school, and was room mother also. I did not expect any special treatment for myself or my children (in fact, I frown on the idea of special treatment for anybody.) I would have never asked or expected a favor or preferential treatment of any kind.
Still, I did have a couple of times when a teacher would tell me that they had gone out of their way to make sure one of my children was placed with the best teacher for the following year, and I did get the feeling that a few of the teachers kind of looked out for my kids a little bit extra. Of course, the good teachers were always very fair and attentive to all of the other kids too. But I think there is definitely something to be said for being an involved parent as it does seem that the teachers maybe even subconsciously want to do an extra good job when they know a certain parent is going to be looking closely at what happens at school.

The principal of our school actually lived on our street for a while. My daughter left a little note in her mailbox one summer requesting a certain first grade teacher for the fall (this was all her own doing), and when school started the principal made a point of telling her that she had specially "granted her wish." I kind of suspect it might have been in "appreciation" for all of the service hours I put in. But you never know. Maybe she just thought it was a cute thing to do and wanted ot make her happy.

Anonymous said...

Mom is right about being an involved parent who respects teachers. Not only is it good for your own piece of mind, but it does indirectly effect the treatment your child gets. I volunteered and organized several teacher recognition events when my children were in daycare. It only took taking a few hours off from work here and there. When I noticed that one of my children's teachers and her young daughter, who also was in the daycare, were taking the bus home every night, I offered to wait for them and give them a ride--again only 15 minutes out of my day--but during those 15 minutes a day I learned more about what was going on in the classroom and at the center than any conference could tell me. And, not that the teachers didn't pay attention to all the kids, but I did get the sense that they paid special attention to mine. And BTW, some of the assistant daycare teachers approached me and told me they would like to sit if I ever needed someone after hours or on the weekends, so not all daycare employees rule out earning a little extra money from babysitting.

Anonymous said...

When I worked in childcare, I HAD to babysit after hours just to make ends meet.

mom said...

Oh, and if you happen to help up at the school and ARE the kind of person who wants and asks for special favors in return...I saw a kindergarten teacher turn over to one of the more, shall we say "vocal" moms, the complete responsibility of assigning all of the kids in her class to the teachers they would have for the next grade so that, not only did that mom get to choose which teacher her own son would get, but she got to choose all of his classmates too. She was specifically putting all of the "best kids" and none of the "troublemakers" in her son's class.
So don't think it doesn't happen folks.
I tried to stay away from that stuff, but I did see a fair amount of it.
And if you happen to be one of the moms who is tempted to use your "status" or relationship with the teacher to put your child ahead of the others, I don't recommend it. From what I have seen over many years, having watched many kids now grow from infant to adult, those kids who are taught that they are somehow superior, or more deserving than the others generally end up having far more problems in life than those who are taught to respect all equally, even to their own wonderful selves. Unless you plan to follow your child through every step of his entire life and make sure all who come in contact him understand him to be as exhaulted as he is in your eyes...be prepared to see him flounder through life.

3:51 poster said...

Yes, I made the comment about when a parent is nice to me, I'm nicer to their kid. What I meant was: I try to be as nice and fair as possible to all the children I worked with. When parents went out of their way to be nice to me - bringing coffee in the morning, packing a nice note in their child's lunchbox, telling me how well their child was doing (thanks to my effort), I always went out of the way to be nicer to their child. I'd make sure their child was placed with their friends during group activities, I'd tend to them first during lunch or nap. I never took anything out on the kids, even when their parents were mean to me (and they were). 8:17 summed it up best - it's not that I didn't like any of the kids, but ones whose parents were nice to me got a little more attention. Anyone who works in daycare, or even teaches in public school, will tell you the same.

kwolph said...

This is an insane story that hopefully has come to an end on the kids end. It has to be so confusing for a child to have no sense of what a teacher is or the type of relationship you can have with one who stays around for more than 2 months.

If there is any parent whose children went to Brooklyn Children's Academy and would like more information about a great child enrichment center in the area let me know. I represent New York Kids Club and am more than happy to further discuss developing a child's physical, mental, and social health at the preschool level. Check out www.nykidsclub.com to learn about winter/spring registration for all classes.

Anonymous said...

4:14, if you were a corporate boss and the kid/parents were your employees, you would be essentially making it easier for whomever is sucking up to you. I don't care how human or natural or common what you are doing is, it still is not right, even more so when dealing with small kids. Now, I have seen plenty of parents sucking up to the teachers, and I can tell you that really smart teachers know what it is all about.

Anonymous said...

Just passing through this blog, I was searching for Child Care providers who play favorites and the search returned these comments.

To 3:51 poster:
I am sick over the fact that you are going to treat some children as though they are more special than others consistently because their parents bring you coffee. I was the child who grew up unnoticed by my teachers. I beleive that at least once in a while ALL children should be treated as though they are special. You may be the only one in their life that gives them this little bit of human warmth. Take advantage of being able to share that gift with these little individuals, please, regardless of how their parent treats you.