Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm Preparing For My Daughter’s Kindergarten Interview. Because Kindergarten Is Serious Business


I know my daughter’s only 2 and kindergarten seems far away, but that doesn’t matter, because today I spoke with a worried, stressed out father about his 4-year old daughter's recent kindergarten interview.
And let me just say - it did not go well. They told her (not him) that she needed to work MUCH harder if she wanted to get in this Fall.

A 4-year-old.

Into kindergarten.

To be a somewhat fair, this is a ‘prestigious’ private school here in L.A. But who cares - it’s kindergarten for crying out loud! It’s not like she can’t spell her name, count, say her ABC’s, etc., she can. But evidently that doesn’t cut it anymore. Apparently the marketplace is flooded with 4-year olds that can debate strategic economics over Cheerios and discuss the recent downturn in the housing market after waking up from an afternoon nap.
It’s as if the world change and I was asleep at the wheel. How naive I was to think that kindergarten was a time of having fun doing things like painting, playing, making weird crafts out of egg cartons, milk bottles, and daddy’s empty beer cans? (puff of cigarette) It was when I was a kid.
Statistically I should be in jail, or worse, involved in multi-level marketing.

I don’t want my daughter to fall into this trap. I want her to succeed in kindergarten because if she doesn’t, God only knows the horrible things that might happen.
Hopefully with some prepping and training, it’ll go something like this:

Head Mistress: What was your GMAT score?
4-Year-Old: 680. I could have done better, but I poop regularly 20 minutes after eating a meal.

Head Mistress: What do you plan to do after kindergarten?
4-Year-Old: Take a year off before 1st grade to join the Peace Corps.

Head Mistress: What extracurricular activities do you participate in that will be beneficial to your learning?
4-Year-Old: I’m currently at Gymboree. I help mentor the 3-year olds.

Head Mistress: Whom do you most admire for their life endeavors and accomplishments?
4-Year-Old: Snow White. She has a pretty dress. And I hear she helped unionized poor midgets and improved their working conditions.

53 comments:

Reluctant Housewife said...

Wow! All I had to do to get my 5 year old into kindergarten was show up on registration day and sign on the dotted line.

Melody said...

This is too funny!

I'm with reluctant housewife - If it's more complicated than showing up and proving my residence, It's pretty much too difficult for me!

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I'm honored, you're like a celebrity! Feel free to steal any of my children's funnies - I've got so many, Conversations will probably become a regular feature on my blog. Kids.

SaraLynn said...

Love the post, especially the interview! It is amazing really how the school systems have changed. When I was in kindergarten, we had centers where we played for half a day. Now if your child hasn't been to pre-k they will have a hard time in kindergarten. And as they get older they are taught how to take a test. The tests that determines how much money the school gets from the government, based on students' success. Isn't parenting in this day and age fun?!
Good Luck!

Mama DB said...

I have got to get my kids out of LA. Sheesh. I can't handle the pressure.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I can't imagine this! There really is no pressure up here in Canada. Even for prestigious private schools. You fill out the forms and voila!
Now we are weirdos and home educate, so we don't even have to do that. Either way, I am happy to not be in California right now.

Maureen said...

Wow. Just. Wow.

Yup, up here in Canada we still have the old "show up for first day, play and have fun."

I feel bad for those kids and parents already stressing about school and beyond nowadays....

That's just crazy.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

WTF? Are kids not allowed to just be kids anymore? That's just... wrong. Kindergarten interviews should consist of, "Yeah, I eat mud pies on a regular basis, I can make farting noises on my inner elbow, and I know how to torture my sister by stealing her toys."

Seriously.

Beck said...

Hm. In Canada, as people have written, you just show up. But you're still expected to be reading before grade one starts, so I think there's a LOT more seatwork than there used to be. (also, school starts the year you turn four, which means that a lot of kids are THREE on their first day of school, which seems AWFULLY young.)

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I think it is a private school thing.

Back when my oldest was of age, co workers were telling my husband which pre-k program was the best kindergarten prep.

She used those words... "kindergarten prep" (WTF?) then went on to talk about the stress of the entrance exam for K5.

I think there is a current generation of parents that just need to get the F over themselves.

Metrodad said...

Alas, my dear friend, here in NYC, the streets are filled with above-average kids who can spell their names, count, and say their ABC’s. If you really want to get her into a good kindergarten, then private tutoring, suzuki lessons, and multilingual language skills are de rigeur.

And to add insult to injury, you'll also have to cough up $35,000/year for that kindergarten class.

Needless to say, we've decided to stick with the public school system (unless, of course, my kid turns out to be a genius.) Hold that thought. I just caught her eating dog food again.

Jenster said...

Oh Tony. You make me giggle.

beaverhausen said...

Hahahahaha!
I'm no where near a parent, but the only trouble I had into kidergarten was that I was about a month too young.

But they looked past that, because I attended (and graduated from) Pre-K. And Pre-K equals "success" in their book.

Leslie said...

Too much pressure for a 5 year old, wouldn't you say?

My most vivid memories from Kindergarten are playing in the wooden row boat that was in the corner of the room, coloring an Octopus for the letter O, and getting to hold the magic wand and wake everyone up from rest time.

Times have changed...

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pageant Mom said...

Hmmm.

Sounds like a lot of trouble, but worth it if it will look good on her Harvard resume!

I dunno, I'm down with the interview, but I don't know if I could stand to be around all the parents bragging about how their kid made it in LOL.

Good Luck, kids need all the help they can get these days!!! Good for you to start out early :o)

I think the worst thing you can do is pressure a child to be so successful "on paper" you can drive them to be repressed or even walk away from their opportunities. (I am sooooo a three part walking mini series on that) Just because they can't do algebra by 5th grade is no real measure of what they will be successful at in the future. (Although that's a pretty impressive feat ;o)

Amrita said...

You are super CD. Thanks for visiting my blog.

In India they have serious interviews and written for 3/4 ur old getting onto KG, their parents are interviewed too.

Velma said...

Every now and then, I'm glad I live out in the boonies where our school choices are limited. If you are leery of the public schools, you have the choice of shelling out the big bucks for the fancy private academy with the so-so reputation or signing your kid over for scary religious indoctrination at one of the uber-Christian schools. Public school for us!

Danielle said...

I hate all the pressure. My kids go to "school" now, and I would say they are pretty smart. But they still pick their nose.

Speaking of which, after reading your nose-picking post, I told my three year old that if he picked his nose spiderman wouldn't play with him and he would grow a tail.

He thought that was cool. Now he picks his nose all the time waiting for his tail to grow so he "can swing on trees like the monkeys do". And, he "wants his little brother and daddy and me to all grow tails, too, so that we can all swing on the trees together".

How do you spell "backfire". Great advice!!!

Danielle said...

Oh yeah- and when my "smart" kids finger paint, they also paint their arms. And their bellies, and their FACES, and their hair....

and they eat bugs.

They're friggen genius'!

:)

(I love when boys act like boys.)

creative-type dad said...

Danielle -- Wow! Maybe you should tape tails on their bottoms when they're asleep?
And have Spiderman send them postcards saying "You're my new enemy! Love, Spidey"

That should up your game.

Metrodad -- 35k! Wow. Out here they're around 22-26K. N.Y. really is more expensive... or you guys are getting ripped off.

Queen of Shake-Shake -- "kindergarten prep" somehow I'm imagining finger painting techniques and slide etiquette. But that's probably not accurate.

Melody -- Celebrity!? I told my wife that, then she asked me to take out the trash.
I'll have to watch for paparazzi...

painted maypole said...

this makes me glad I'm not in L.A. anymore! ;)

carrie said...

Maybe you could bribe the Headmistress with come KFC?

That oughta get her in! :)

chanchow said...

competition is fierce these days. i heard that some schools require the parent has to write an essay about the kid.

meg said...

Tip: A sizeable monetary donation to the school from Mom and Dad can make the interview process go much more smoothly for her.

You're welcome.

BookMomma said...

Oh, dayum! Another thing I must stress about!!!

Do they offer kindergarten scholarships?

andi said...

I thought the whole interviewing for Kindergarten thing was something they made up for the movies. Guess not... That sounds completely ridiculous.

I guess I'm insulated from all of that up here where most kids go to public schools and private ones are pretty rare. Thank god for that - I do not have $35,000 to spend on paste and magic markers.

Artist Unplugged said...

Wow...Y'all got it reeeel bad, us, down heerree in the sticks just a goes n' shows up, a justa hopin' to get a lil' book larnin'. Can't pay anothin', ah lessen you a willin' to swap a sow or sumpin'!
Sounds like the old movie, "Baby Boom", with Diane Keaton, which I loved! Should of played those tapes to the womb.......

Whirlwind said...

Ughh, I just finished writing the check for next years kindergarten and second grade registration. I still don't know why it costs $200 every year, when the kids are in the system and there's nothing for them to update except maybe that they are a returning student.

Luckily, once you have a kid in the system, the siblings are picked for the school over other kids.

Oh and you thought 2-3 years prior to kindergarten was bad to plan. Just wait. Out oldest is in first grade and we've already started talking about where we want her to go to high school. Needless t osay, our public school is not an option so we've either A) have to move to a different district, B) Sell some kidney's C) hope they get scholarships or D) I've got to get a job that will cover tuition for three at the same time (since they will all be in high school at the same time). Thankfully in another year or so when Moe does start kindergarten, I will be looking for a job.

Oh and the nose picking, it still happens. In fact, I'm sure my six year old will be standing up in front of the church during the Mass her class is leading, picking her nose for everyone to see. She doesn't seem to mind an audience.

Redneck Mommy said...

Guaranteed, if your little one uses those answers she'll be a shoe in for a fancy schmancy kindergarten.

That or you may have to get used to the idea of homeschooling her.

LOL.

creative-type dad said...

Whirlwind -- Wow, I can't imagine paying for 2 in HS at the same time. You better start growing some more kidneys.

meg -- That's a good idea. Maybe meet the principal in a dark parking lot with a suitcase of $100 bills and an apple at 2am...

carrie -- I like that idea!

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

oh WOW.

that is LA for ya!

;o)

i love love love your interview - it sounds like the exact same answers i woo would give....WOW

clever you are!

;o)

a-licious
in da hizzzzzzzouse

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

i TOO would give ( i meant )...ugh i bet that will keep me out of kinderG now...LOL

(un)relaxeddad said...

How good a school can it be if that's the way it treats four year olds?

Sarah O. said...

As always, a wonderful post. I laughed so hard I can't tell you what happened.

I am such a fan of yours!

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

Can't you use one of your fancy connections like Debbie Gibson or Scott Baio to give her a good recommendation? Speaking of Scott, could you call him and have him ask Jeffrey Tambor, who he co-stared with in Arrested Development, to call and ask Bea Arther (played her doctor but you probably knew that) why there was a coffee cup in the fridge?

PS- Pooping 20 minutes after eating...I'm impressed, I don't even know if Big Daddy can do that.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ahhhh... no wonder my niece started her kindergarten at the age of 2!
But today she is almost 12, and still can't be trained at NASA for the Mars mission!
What a wasted 10 years of learning!

Mommy Bits said...

It is insane how competitive schools can be. We have one here in Cincinnati that you have to get on the list for while you are pregnant if you want your child to be elegible for their 3 year old starter program!


Thanks for stopping by!
Shannan

April said...

This was hilarious! Although scary as HELL that a FOUR YEAR OLD has to be interviewed kindergarten! Craziness in the world today.
P.S. Thank you for stopping by my blog!!
:-) April

Jackie said...

I was a nervous wreck the day of my daughter's Kindergarten interview. I knew there was nothing to worry about - she's a smart cookie (and it's public school! ;-p ) but still nerwracking...

Haley-O said...

I can't BELIEVE it's that rigorous! Kids need to have a LIFE! OY! They want a school full of perfect little geeks???!!

Dad Stuff said...

It's a pretty tough interview, but it is so worth it to have a 'prestigious kindergarten' on your resume for that first job.

Her Bad Mother said...

That just hurts my head. Then again, *I* only made it as far as a doctorate, so that's maybe to be expected. There's no way I'd get into kindergarten these days.

kittenpie said...

Get in? What get in? You don't just show up, prove you live in the neighbourhood, prove you've had your shots, and that you will turn three before year's end? That's what we just did. Of course, I had to go back with more proof of address like property tax bills, because apparently people cheat and claim to live in the area when they don't really. Bizarre. And then there is the form for getting a handle on their development that I had to fill out. but still. Get in. Pah.

Kelly said...

I feel like a freak parent because the truth is I don't really care about stuff like this. I once told a woman I work with, who was ranting about her son going to an ivy leauge school (he's 6, btw)that I was hoping that Jack went to college, Burger King college. She was livid as I laughed my arse off and left the room. It seems that everyone around me is all uber-competitive and trying to live vicariously through the success of their children*BARF* This post was refreshing. Nice to find and to have someone else to mock it with. I'll be back to get some more of ya witty.

creative-type dad said...

Kelly -- Yup, it's weird. I see parents who put way too much emphasis on things like this, then I see parents who don't do anything at all.

kittenpie -- I'm told they do that at our local public school too. I guess they don't want the kids from the other side of the tracks to ever "move on up" (like george and weezy.)

The Real Mother Hen -- I would be asking for a refund!

Mitch McDad said...

Dude...awesome post. Reminds me of an episode of Entourage.

Just move to Denver. I don't think we have that problem here. I think you just have to be able to pick your nose and not eat it and your in.

Rebecca said...

Poor kids. Childhood is short enough as it is without all of this added pressure. Geez

creative-type dad said...

Mitch McDad -- Man, those are some pretty tough requirements. Do they grade on a curve?

Kristen said...

wow, I couldn't even color completely within the lines and they let me into kindergarten. But at least I didn't eat Playdoh like most of the other kids.

Lowa said...

Precisely why my kids are homeschooled! :)

Love your blog, found you through poop and boogies.

wayabetty said...

It's tough out there Tony! The hubbie banned me from helping my 2nd grader with his homework! I won't be on the "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" show any time soon!

creative-type dad said...

Kristen -- I didn't eat PlayDoh either. I ate glue and sniffed fruit flavored markers instead.

maria g said...

How funny, listen I teach Kindergarten,and yes Kindergarten today is like 1st grade of years ago. Remember we as parents set the standards high, by introducing our children to everything. I run my Kindergarten class like a gifted and talented program. We do lots all field trips and lots of hands on learning. My class has reached a point where they do book reports once a week.Do I expect perfection, absolutely not. It's for learning to love reading.I feel that if I dont introduce everything to these 5 year olds, they dont know whats out there.I'm only sparking an interest, it will grow in years in to come.THE CHILDREN GUIDE ME INTO WHAT THEY WANT TO LEARN.In september when the children come in for the first time(with their parents)I sit on the rug and play and talk to the children. I treat it like a meet and greet. The parents ask me questions and so do the children. Once the parents are at ease so are the children. Parent involvement is a big part of my class. Dont be afraid to get involved. Go on a field trip. Go in and read a book to the children.Go in and teach them something. Remember your the child's first teacher. My parents always thank me.