Skip to Content

News & Alerts

News Item

Valentine’s Day Pizza Party

To celebrate this special day there will be a school-wide lunch time Pizza party.

Health Alert

Staying Healthy

Staying Healthy: We have only had a few confirmed cases of the flu reported at Open House. We will continue to keep the school clean, monitor hand-washing and have tissues readily available. To help us all stay healthy I am sharing the New York State Department of Health. Seasonal Flu: A Guide for Parents

News Item

February Break Program

Please visit the Summer & Holiday Program Page to learn more about our February Break Program Food Detectives: Where does food come from?  Chase away the winter blahs by coming to Open House. 


News Item

Saturday Movie and Pizza Party

January 20th 10:30 am — 1 pm

Drop off your kids for a morning of play, pizza and fun while you get a break — or get a little something done!


 The cost is $30 per child, $15 for siblings


Open House teachers will be on hand, along with parent volunteers.


TO VOLUNTEER (and bring your child free of charge!)

This is a very popular event and space is limited, so don’t wait to sign up! Stay tuned for one more Movie & Pizza Party coming up in March . . .


News Item

Open House Annual Fund

As you know, Open House Nursery School has been nurturing and educating Brooklyn children for more than four decades, and our ever-growing community of past and present students and parents is one of our greatest strengths.  Without you, we could not fulfill our mission to protect each child’s right to a joyful, unhurried childhood – a mission that grows ever more important.
Your annual support is an important part of our success.  Gifts from the families and friends of Open House enable us to improve our facilities and to provide specialized education–yoga, music, dance and science–in the classroom.  These funds also enable us to offer significant financial aid to families in need. Open House is one of the very few neighborhood preschools that offers financial aid, and we are proud that we have maintained our commitment to Brooklyn’s rich cultural and socio-economic diversity through these resources.

Won’t you consider helping Open House with an end-of-year gift? Your contribution, at any level, helps to guarantee that our school will flourish for many more decades to come. Not sure what your gift can do? Here are a few ideas:

  • $50 pays for finger paints and paper. 
  • $250 provides a day of classroom visits from a Teaching Artist.
  • $500 pays for a class field trip to the Botanical Gardens.
  • And $15,000–we know it’s a lot but a school’s got to dream!–grants a child-in-need one year’s tuition and an educational foundation that will last a lifetime.

Your tax-deductible gift can be made online at

or through the Open House website (click Support Us.)  Please check with your employer to see if they offer matching gifts.

Thank you for all that you do to make Open House a vibrant, happy place. We couldn’t do it without you!

All our best, 

Eileen Shannon
Executive Director

News Item


As Halloween nears and holiday decorations abound, parades are planned and costumes are readied with much excitement. Most of the little ones at Open House will have no memory of last Halloween and may become confused and overwhelmed by the day’s events. Therefore we are passing along some tips for helping young children enjoy Halloween’s  “kooky” creativity while managing its “spooky” side.
Since most young children enjoy playing dress-up, eating sweets, and visiting neighbors, focus your child’s Halloween on these activities.  However, even with the best of preparation children can become overexcited and or frightened by Halloween costumes and decorations. Old anxieties, insecurities, and fears may become activated and compound with new ones, affecting your child’s behavior at home and in school. 
Children may show aggression to defend against vague threats and fear of the unknown. They may regress to clinging, and separation fears once thought resolved may reappear. Children may show a sudden drop in verbal communication as they try to process such abstract concepts as ghosts. The dividing line between fantasy and reality may become blurred; therefore this is a good time to talk with your child about what is real and what is pretend. 

To help your child enjoy Halloween, Open House has developed school-wide policies.

  • We will read about and discuss Halloween.
  • Classroom festivities will be developmentally appropriate.
  • Costumes and masks will not be worn at school.
  • “Dress-up” or face painting may be a choice in some classrooms.
  • Weapons of any kind may not be brought to school.

We also have some general suggestions, which may be helpful:

  • Reading books at home about Halloween will provide a forum for your child to ask questions and share feelings.
  • When adults or children wear a mask, they should remove it periodically so that young children can be reassured that there “really is a person behind there”.
  • Let your child know that there is no failure on his/her part to be afraid.  All feelings are valid and should be acknowledged.  Calmly reassure your child that you love them and that you will always do your best to keep them safe. 


For more on Halloween see the links below:

Health Alert

Pond Room: Coxsackie

New York State Department of Health Last Reviewed: October 2011
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (Coxsackie viral infection)

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection caused by a strain of Coxsackie virus. It causes a blister-like rash that, as the name implies, involves the hands, feet and mouth. (Hand, foot and mouth disease is different than foot-and-mouth disease, which is an infection of cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer and is caused by a different virus.)

Who gets hand, foot and mouth disease?

The infection usually occurs in children under 10 years of age, but occasionally can occur in young adults.

How is it spread?

The virus is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, blisters and feces of infected people.

What are the symptoms and when do they start?

Symptoms of fever, poor appetite, runny nose and sore throat can appear three to five days after exposure. A blister-like rash on the hands, feet and in the mouth usually develops one to two days after the initial symptoms.

When and how long can someone spread the disease?

A person is contagious when the first symptoms appear and may continue until the blister-like skin lesions disappear. The virus has been known to be shed in the stool for up to several weeks.

How is hand, foot and mouth disease diagnosed?

The diagnosis is generally suspected on the appearance of blister-like rash on hands and feet and mouth in a child with a mild febrile illness. Although specific viral tests are available to confirm the diagnosis, they are rarely performed due to expense and length of time needed to complete the tests.

Does a prior infection with Coxsackie virus make a person immune?

Specific immunity can occur, but a second episode is possible from a different strain of Coxsackie virus.

What is the treatment?

There is no specific treatment. Treatment is aimed at fever control and maintaining good oral hydration

Can there be complications associated with hand, foot and mouth disease?

The illness is typically mild, complications are rare. More serious infections have been seen recently with a certain strain of Coxsackie viral infection in Indonesia

What can be done to prevent the spread of this disease?

Children who feel ill or have a fever should be excluded from group settings until the fever is gone and the child feels well. Thorough hand washing and care with diaper changing practices is important as well.

Is there a risk for pregnant women?

There is debate as to any congenital disorders related to Coxsackie viral infections and pregnancy. Pregnant women should consult their obstetrician for further

Health Alert

The Flu: A Guide for Parents

The NYS Department of Health has issued this important notice.

News Item

You are invited to our Fall Social

The Fall Social  Saturday is October 14th  from 11:00-2:00. Your whole family is invited to join old and new Open House friends for brunch. Drop by the school for the whole time or just for a bit. There will be bagels, quiche, fruit and treats

Health Alert

The Garden Room: Strep Throat

A case of Strep Throat was reported in the Garden Room on Wednesday October 4th

What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. This common condition is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat can affect children and adults of all ages. However, it’s especially common in children between the ages of 5 and 15. Sneezing and coughing can spread the infection from one person to another.

  • Symptoms of Strep Throat
    The severity of strep throat can vary from person-to-person. Some people experience mild symptoms like a sore throat, whereas other people have more severe symptoms including fever and difficulty swallowing. The common symptoms of strep throat include:
    a sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
    a sore, red throat with white patches
    a headache
    a loss of appetite
    swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    trouble swallowing

The symptoms of strep throat typically develop within five days of exposure to the bacteria.

  • When to See Your Doctor
    Not all sore throats are a result of a strep infection. Other illnesses can cause a sore throat, too. This includes: the common cold, a sinus infection, postnasal drip and acid reflux. Sore throats caused by other medical conditions usually improve on their own with or without treatment in a few days.
    Call your doctor if you experience:
    a sore throat that lasts longer than two days
    a sore throat with white patches
    dark, red splotches or spots on the tonsils or the top of the mouth
    a sore throat with a fine, sandpaper-like pink rash on the skin
    difficulty breathing
    difficulty swallowing
  • Diagnosing Strep Throat
    If you complain of a persistent sore throat, your doctor will examine your throat and check for signs of inflammation. Your doctor may also check your neck for swollen lymph nodes and ask about other symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have strep throat, they may do a rapid strep test in the office. This test determines whether your sore throat is caused by a strep infection or another type of bacteria or germ. Your doctor swabs the back of your throat with a long cotton swab, collecting a sample. Your doctor will then send the sample to the lab to look for signs of bacteria.Results are available in about five minutes. If your rapid strep test is negative but your doctor thinks that you have strep throat, they can send your sample to an outside lab for additional testing. These results are available within a few days.
  • Treating Strep Throat Antibiotics: If you’re diagnosed with strep throat, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. These medications inhibit the spread of bacteria and infections. Several types of antibiotics are available. However, penicillin and amoxicillin are the most common medications given for a strep infection.It’s important that you finish your antibiotic treatment course to kill the infection completely. Some people stop taking their medication when symptoms improve, which can trigger a relapse. If this happens, the symptoms can return.
  • At-Home Care
    In addition to antibiotics, there are at-home treatments to improve the symptoms of strep throat. These remedies include:
    drinking warm liquids, such as lemon water and tea
    drinking cold liquids to help numb the throat
    turning on a cool-mist humidifier
    taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
    sucking on throat lozenges
    adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of water and gargling the mixture
  • Outlook and Potential Complications of Strep Throat If strep throat is treated, the symptoms will improve within one week. But if it’s left untreated, serious complications. These complications include:
  • an ear infection
  • sinusitis
  • rheumatic fever, which is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints, the heart, and the skin
  • post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the kidneysmastoiditis, which is an infection of the mastoid bone in the skull
  • scarlet fever, which occurs when toxins created by the strep infection cause a scarlet-colored rash to develop on different parts of the body guttate psoriasis, which is a condition that causes small, red teardrop-shaped spots to appear on the body
  • peritonsillar abscess, which is a pus-filled infection that develops in the back of the tonsils

To reduce your risk of complications, contact your doctor if your strep throat symptoms don’t improve within 48 hours of taking an antibiotic. They may need to prescribe a different antibiotic to fight the infection.

References: Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, December 16). Strep throat. Retrieved from