We know, it’s ridiculous — preschool admissions can be as competitive and stressful as applying to college. But since you’re not about to pick up and move to Kansas, take a deep breath and heed advice from Roxana Reid, educational consultant and founder of Smart City Kids.
Step 1: Explore your options.
Start with a few great resources, such as The Parents League Guide to Preschools and Victoria Goldman’s The Manhattan Directory of Private Nursery Schools. On the Web, check out Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York and Downtown Early Childhood Association.
Step 2: Narrow it down, kind of.
The number of schools to consider depends on your location. Six to eight choices work for most of the city; if you are on the Upper East Side, Reid recommends ten. If a majority of schools on your list use a lottery system to grant applications or interviews, cast your net wider.
Step 3: Get organized.
Most schools start accepting application requests after Labor Day, so inquire about the process now. Once you have your applications, make a checklist that includes all relevant dates (tours, interviews, deadlines).
Step 4: Apply yourself.
In addition to asking for the basics, many applications have essay questions. Include memorable stories that paint a colorful picture of your child. Be sure to read brochures and websites, so you can highlight points about the school that resonate with your family.
Step 5: Meet and greet.
Most schools use a combination of parent tours, child playdates, and interviews as a means of evaluation, so be thoughtful about your comments and questions and stick to the positive. If you are bringing your child in, prep him with what to expect and arrive only a few minutes early to avoid ants-in-pants syndrome.
Here’s hoping for an A+.
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Kids in the Square
What: Start with free mommy-and-me yoga, take in a Broadway show, and finish with a dance party including contests, games, and temporary tattoos.
Why: Appearances by The Voca People and ImaginOcean, two of the year’s more inventive theater experiences.
When: Thurs. Yoga, 10 a.m.; performance, noon; party to follow.
Where: Union Square Park, Broadway, b/t 14th & 17th Sts., on the playground (yoga) and south plaza.
Brooklyn Kite Festival
What: Go fly a kite en masse.
Why: Kids get crafty making fliers with free materials and on-site instruction.
When: Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, 2 Old Fulton St., at Furman St.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
What: Experience an ancient ritual and watch more than 100 teams race colorful vessels across Meadow Lake for free.
Why: The perfect activity for your dumpling.
When: Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Grand Central Pkwy., at Van Wyck Expwy. Event shuttle provided from 7 train at Mets-Willets Pt. station.
Photo: Kyu Oh / Getty Images