It's been a rough week for the nation's toniest toddlers. First the Times runs an exposé on San Francisco's Skull and Bones-like "Playgroup," and now a New York mom has been forced to file a lawsuit against a preschool for hurting her daughter Lucia's chances of getting into Yale.
In Nicole Imprescia's suit, she demands that the York Avenue Preschool refund the $19,000 she paid in tuition and seeks class-action status for other children who received inadequate preparation for the E.R.B., the standardized test that determines whether or not kids will get into the "right" private school. According to The New York Daily News, court documents imply the preschool may have already damaged Lucia's academic career, citing an article that says preschools are the first step to making it into an Ivy League school.
After only three weeks at the preschool, Imprescia transferred Lucia out because the 4-year-old was learning about shapes and colors with 2-year-olds. According to the suit, "the school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom." The school's website lists separate programs for different age groups, but Imprescia's lawyer Matthew Paulose says, "They put a bunch of kids of different ages together and gave her some excuse about construction."
Imprescia gripe about tuition sounds somewhat reasonable. The school claims it has a "no refunds" policy, so Imprescia is out $19,000 even though Lucia only attended for less than a month. Paulose also argues, "This is about a theft where a business advertises as one thing and is actually another," and if the school really wasn't teaching to the child's age level as promised, he may be right.
However, Imprescia expecting the court to validate her neurosis about the path to admission at an elite college is ridiculous. On York Avenue Preschool's website it lists the private schools its students have been accepted to and says:
Confidence, ability to express themselves, in addition the knowledge of the alphabet and number correlations are all mastered in the Fours/Pre-K class. Our students have consistently tested well on the E.R.B, which is given on site, along with the Board of Education Gifted and Talented tests. We are very proud of our Kindergarten placement record and work closely with the ongoing school directors.
While we don't know what Imprescia was promised before enrolling Lucia, we're guessing no one told her she would be drilling for the E.R.B. with flashcards from day one. One would think that four-year-olds taking classes in French, music, and language skills would be more than adequately prepared for Kindergarten, even if the school does occasionally allow playtime. We expect this incident will ultimately help Lucia during the college admissions process, as she can now write an essay about how she managed to pick up the pieces after being forced to attend a merely adequate preschool for three arduous weeks.
Manhattan Mom Sues $19K/Yr. Preschool For Damaging 4-Year-Old Daughter's Ivy League Chances [N.Y. Daily News]
Learning For Tomorrow [York Avenue Preschool]