State-of-the-art pre-K center focusing on STEAM classes will open near Hall of Science in Corona

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Erwin Bernal

Future scientists, mathematicians, engineers and artists will get a head start in their studies when a new pre-K center opens in Corona in 2019.

According to the Department of Education, the city agency will team up with the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and the Department of Cultural Affairs to open a 250- to 300-seat pre-K focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education.

The school will be located on the same site as the NYSCI at 47-01 111th St. The museum will also help create the curriculum.

“We are excited to work with the city on this opportunity because it has the potential to make a significant, lasting impact in our community,” said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of NYSCI. “Children in our neighborhood deserve high-quality pre-K education, and parents should not have to endure long commutes to a distant school in order for their kids to learn.”

School District 24, which encompasses Corona, Glendale, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Long Island City, Maspeth and Middle Village, has notoriously been one of the most overcrowded school districts in the city. The DOE said it has begun to take some steps to alleviate this problem and will implement some short-term solutions.

For the 2016-17 through 2018-19 school years, DOE will add 17 pre-K sections with 312 seats in Corona and Elmhurst.

Plans include three sections at P.S. 7 in Elmhurst and seven Transportable Classroom Units (TCU) – three at the Pre-K Center at P.S. 28 in Corona, two at the Pre-K Center at P.S. 16 in Corona, and two at the Pre-K Center at P.S. 7.  The TCUs have bathrooms and meals will be provided on-site. Students will have access to outdoor play areas.

In the 2013-2014 school year, only 72 pre-K seats were available in Corona and Elmhurst. For the 2016-17 school year, DOE will have more than 2,500 seats for children in those communities.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 26 and interested parents can call 718-935-2009 or fill out a form on the DOE website. Applications for the pre-K at P.S. 7, where classes will start in October, have not yet opened but DOE will notify parents when it does.

“Finding space for free, full-day pre-K is a priority for my district,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “While trailers are not a long-term solution, they are the best option to keep children local and provide for immediate spaces for a short time frame. This plan ensures that the trailers will truly be temporary and addresses the need for permanent pre-K seats in our neighborhood.”