SmackDown: Should Parents Expect Pricey Preschools to Get Their Kids into the Ivy League?
Filed under: Opinions
Parent Deserves Preschool Services She Paid (a Lot) to Receiveby Tom Henderson
Academic pressure can wait. Preschool should be a time for singing songs, playing games and having fun.
Really? You want to pay $19,000 a year so your kid can learn the finer points of patty cake? Do yourself a favor. Band together with other families with young children and form a cooperative day care.
You will spend a lot less money. And -- don't worry -- your kids won't learn squat.
Nicole Imprescia, the Manhattan mommy suing the York Avenue Preschool for allegedly failing to live up to its academic promises, falls neatly into one of society's favorite stereotypes. She comes across as the wealthy snob with a type A personality and superficial values who robs her daughter of her childhood by insisting that preschool act as a springboard to the Ivy League.
(And rumor has it she killed Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick.)
Come, let us scoff at her and her elitist values, that we may feel better about ourselves as parents. After all, we let our kids be kids. We don't put undue pressure on them. We don't put them in day care centers and preschools to learn anything. We just stow them at such places until they fit into our schedules again.
Of course, we don't spend anywhere near $19,000 a year for the privilege.
Preschools are either learning environments or warehouses. If they're nothing but fun and games, kids are better off at home with one or both of their parents.
Can't afford to stay home with your kids or have a career that's just too important to you? Then admit you're warehousing your children and don't judge Imprescia for paying for something extra.
School officials allegedly promised to prep students for the ERB (Educational Records Bureau) -- a standardized exam necessary for admittance to Manhattan's elite private elementary schools. Imprescia paid a princely sum for that purpose.
Instead, Lucia, her 4-year-old daughter, was supposedly stuck with younger kids learning shapes and colors.
Preschools don't have to be springboards to an elite education. But when they make that kind of promise, they bloody well better make good on it. They charge far too much money for simply offering a primer in circles, squares and the hues of the rainbow.
This is not a case of a snobby mommy pushing a kid too far too fast. This is the case of consumer who feels she was taken for a $19,000 buggy ride based on false promises.
And she deserves her day in court.
You can look at this case as a metaphor of how we push our children too hard to compete academically, but, seriously, look at the state of learning in the United States.
It will be a long time before the pendulum swings too far in that direction.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.