January 8, 2007

Pre-School Play Audition Smackdown

When little Natalie was almost two, her entire future hinged on how well she performed during the succession of 30-40 minute play auditions for Brooklyn's private pre-schools.

A veritable Burgess Meredith to Natalie's Rocky, dad Tom Roston accompanied his daughter and then wrote about the whole crazy thing--after she got accepted, of course, and even then, he only mentioned Natalie's safety by name:

Many New York private schools use the system of assembling applicants in a room and observing them at play, which helps them decide whom to accept. It is as hard-fought an event as can be, given that the combatants are soft as kittens, walk like drunk Hobbits, and can be entranced by butterflies.

...

I know that parents willing to subject their children to such a process must seem shallow. I myself have always snickered at Texas moms who drag their daughters to beauty pageants. And now I feel you quietly judging me. But go ahead, because this is the only game in town. And my kid is going to win it.

Rotson writes to entertain; not even the most disastrously over-coached kid has an inkling of what shallowness is. Teachers do, though, and I'd guess they can see pretty quickly if a kid's being raised with psychopathic tendencies like his M&A-dealing banker parents, or if he's being treated like an organ grinder's monkey, performing meaningless memorized tricks. Anyone who has a clue about what pre-school teachers and admissions people look for in this situation, please feel free to chime in.

Natalie's Triumph [nyt]

1 Comment

Oh Greg, pulllease share the stories from your pre-school choosing/applying/etc. processes. Surely you can make it moderate and anonymous enough to protect the guilty and innocent!

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