View Full Version : All NYC Prepping for the Playdate Test

08-25-2010, 08:36 AM
An excerpt from the WSJ article (http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB1000142405274870455770457543777307260 9694.html) by Shelly Banjo:
Good eye contact, a firm handshake and self confidence can pave the way to a good interview. Turns out, that's the case even if the applicant is 4 or 5 years old.

In the frenzy to get kindergarteners into the top private schools, parents are now hiring consultants to coach their children on the art of the interview.

For years, such preparations have been the norm for the standardized tests children must take to get into private schools, the so-called ERBs, which measure IQ and are administered by the Educational Records Bureau. But after a cottage industry devoted to test-prep materials and classes developed, parents say scoring in the top percentile or two became the norm rather than the exception; schools such as Horace Mann, Dalton and Collegiate began placing more emphasis on the interview and getting more granular in their assessments...

"Scores on the ERBs went up because kids were preparing and parents began thinking, 'My kid got a 99 but so did my neighbor's kids, what else can we do to better our chances in this market?' " says Suzanne Rheault, a 40-year-old mother of two who left Wall Street last year to start New York test-prep company, Aristotle Circle.

Enter the mock playdate.

On a recent morning in Manhattan, former Horace Mann admissions director Dana Haddad asked a group of 4- and 5-year-olds: "Do you have your marching shoes on?" The children began marching, left their parents behind and followed after Ms. Haddad, as she led them into a Midtown office turned preschool playroom, the new headquarters of Aristotle Circle.

As the children followed tasks such as identifying their name tags, putting together a puzzle or drawing a series of shapes, Ms. Haddad and two educational consultants took copious notes...

Like most things in New York, the sessions don't come cheap. Aristotle Circle charges $400 for a 45-minute observation and assessment. Bright Kids NYC, a similar company started last year by Bige Doruk, a mother of three, charges between $175 to $275 for sessions lasting between 45 and 75 minutes.
To read more, click here (http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB1000142405274870455770457543777307260 9694.html).

08-25-2010, 08:39 AM
Related to the article is a video feature by MyFoxNY.com on school consultants. Have a look at the video (http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/education/nyc-parents-turn-to-consultants-for-kindergarten-admission-20100819).

08-30-2010, 01:55 PM
Granted my daughter isn't nearly at the age yet where we are thinking about K admin process, but I current thought is that these "test prep" businesses for small children like Aristotle's Circle and Bright Kids NYC are just preying on my, certainly not my daughter's, insecurities about getting into the "right" school. Isn't all of the stuff that AC and BKNYC prep for, the same stuff that we, as parents, SHOULD be doing with our kids at home anyway (drawing shapes, reading, playing make believe)???

Thats not to say that I'm not curious as to what their ERB tutoring is like, which in theory I know is wrong, but then again...I am a NYC parent who wants only the best for his daughter...

09-08-2010, 08:14 AM
For our movie The Kindergarten Shuffle (http://shop.grandfatherfilms.com/The-Kindergarten-Shuffle-11.htm) we went to a tutoring agency where they administered an IQ evaluation test. But I agree, I feel that is is better to do much of the work at home or in pre-school.