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  NYC's Top Schools  
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  Finding a Babysitter  
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  What to Pay a Sitter  
  Best Bets: Baby Gear  
  Mac vs. PC  
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  Kids' Hairstylists  
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  Child Care Services  


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Educare Early Childhood Center
484 Second Ave., at 28th St., second fl.
212-679-2393 (ages 2–5)
320 E. 26th St., near First Ave.
212-779-2650 (ages 5–10)
Recently awarded the Department of Education’s Outstanding Early Childhood Program award, this 32-year-old program accepts 100 children per term. Youngsters play with building blocks, dance, and color, or learn computer games, play with instruments, and explore woodworking. Prices range from $7 per hour for 2-year-olds to $6 per hour for 3-to-10-year-olds; parents can opt to pay monthly rates, which range from $391 for part-time care to $900 for full-time. Student-teacher ratio ranges from three to one to six to one.

Manhattan Kids’ Club
21 E. 13th St., near Fifth Ave.
Manhattan Kids’ Club II
629 E. 14th St., near Ave. B

The preschool program at these multiroom centers offers field trips to the Central Park Zoo and the aquarium, plus baking classes, movement classes, music, Spanish instruction, and computer games for children 3 to 5 years old. The center takes infants as young as 3 months; monthly prices range from $645 for two days a week to $1,300 for five days a week. Student-teacher ratio varies with age groups.

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Manhattan Treehouse
148 W. 83rd St., near Amsterdam Ave.

Daytime activities at this center include storytelling, arts and crafts, cooking, and sing-alongs and dance. Manhattan Treehouse, open for three years, has two rooms separated by glass doors. Prices for children ages 6 months to 5 years are from $25 to $150 per visit. Student-teacher ratio is four to one.

Pike Street School Age Day Care Center
P.S. 2, 122 Henry St., at Pike St., Room 109

Older children (ages 6 to 12) study, cook, sew, tumble, and visit museums during Pike Street’s after-school programs, which generally run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the school year. About 110 children are registered per year and are separated (by age group) into five rooms. Parents should contact the school for prices. Student-teacher ratio is eleven to one.

Red Balloon Day Care Center
560 Riverside Dr., near 125th St.

With an outdoor play deck and indoor gymnasium, Red Balloon offers children ages 2 to 5 plenty of space to romp and flex. The 31-year-old program is located in a Columbia University–owned residential apartment, where each age group has its own classroom. There’s also a kitchen and a big library for beginner readers; about 48 kids are registered at a time. Prices for the five-day-a-week program are $1,200 a month for 2-year-olds; $1,000 for kids 3 to 5. Student-teacher ratio varies with age groups.

Tickles Daycare, Inc.
165 Sterling St., near Bedford Ave., East Flatbush, Brooklyn
276 Rutland Rd., near Rogers Ave., East Flatbush, Brooklyn

Owner and director Patricia Gbayor opened her smallish East Flatbush center nine years ago, providing preschool and after-school programs to little Brooklynites. There are fourteen kids in two five-room homes, one for infants ages 6 weeks to 2 years, the other for kids 3 to 5. Instructors usually start the day by discussing current events (weather, sports, news) and end with math, arts and crafts, computer learning, and a little exercise and dance. Weekly prices are $150 per child. Student-teacher ratio is about five to one.


Baby Sitters’ Guild
60 E. 42nd St., near Madison Ave.
In business for over a half century, the guild can dispatch a bilingual sitter (sixteen languages are represented), or one with a nursing background, to all five boroughs. Rates start at $15 per hour and vary with age (sitters are 25 and older; parents can request a particular age). There is a minimum of four hours, plus $4.50 for travel costs until midnight; $7 thereafter.

Barnard Babysitting Service
Barnard College
11 Milbank Hall, 3009 Broadway, at 119th St.
Undergraduate students use this baby-sitting work-study program to make a few extra dollars while they’re in school. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island families must register before requesting a baby-sitter, and they should give at least two days’ notice. Rates range from $11 to $16 per hour with a two-hour minimum; families are expected to pay for dinner and transportation after 9 p.m.

The NYC Babysitters Club
35 W. 35th St., near Fifth Ave., Ste. 600
Pay a one-time fee of $99, and get access to a list of pre-screened sitters, ages 22 and up, who will charge between $10 and $15 an hour to watch your children after 6 p.m. on weeknights and anytime during weekends (in Manhattan only). References are available in the sitters’ online profiles; they recommend calling at least one week in advance to make arrangements.

Pinch Sitters
Sitters who have been subjected to a thorough background check charge $16 an hour (cash only), with a four-hour minimum, plus additional transportation fees when the job runs later than 9 p.m. Two families can prearrange to share one sitter, starting at $18 per hour. Parents are charged $35 for canceling within 24 hours. Services are available only in Manhattan and select areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
For an inital fee of $39.99, and $5 per month thereafter, parents can tap into the country's largest baby-sitting database. The Website offers profiles of college students who are ready to take on the job--in all five boroughs (not to mention throughout the rest of the country). Sitters, ages 18 and up, charge $10 to $15 per hour, and have not been pre-screened..

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From the Fall 2003 edition of the New York Family Guide
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