Gifted Test Prep for Preschoolers: Day 1
Test prep for preschoolers is a contested subject. Some people believe in it, some don’t. I definitely believe that the more you expose your children to, the more opportunity they will have because their repertoire is there to support them. I’m also well aware, as just about any educated NYC parent, that public schools are a challenge to navigate and a G&T designation can be a huge leg up for our kids. So, I have opted to try out the Bright Kids Skill Builder Program for free to see what Gifted Test Prep for preschoolers can do for my kiddo.
I have heard that the G&T programs give tons of homework, that they are all different, that some are not even as good as the regular public program or are too focused on one area or style that may not resonate with your child. But, as a parent who values education, hard work and seizing opportunity, I couldn’t NOT at least have my son sit for the G&T test this coming January. So, when Bright Kids contacted me about trying out their Skill Builder and G&T Prep programs in exchange for my writing about them…I kind of had to say, ‘yes!’. I did just finish reading Outliers and am still buzzing from the concept of “right time + right place + unusual opportunity + hard work = extraordinary success”.
My son is a little bit of an “outlier” to begin with, though. He started speaking at 14 months, which is normal, but by 22 months was clearly speaking in 5 word sentences like, “I want some pizza, mommy”. We have recordings of this. He said his first poem like a beatnik at 2 when we were leaving the park: “They took me away from the swings, and the trees, and the fire trucks (big sigh) … home.” And, he asked the next day if he could go to the park to play his guitar under a tree. At 3 he played with a set of gear construction toys for more than 4 hours only to stop to eat and use the bathroom because we made him. I know that every parent thinks that their child is exceptional, so take my words with a grain of salt. But, I’m just putting it out there that this is where he is starting from so his results may not be normal. With that said, he can get frustrated easily, won’t focus if he’s not interested and defaults to acting like a chimpanzee when he’s even the slightest bit tired. These are things that I’m hoping Bright Kids can help him with.
We recently started their Skill Builder program. You’ll be following me along my path with Bright Kids. I’ll be sharing our experiences, thoughts and results so that you can think through your own choice for your own children.
This one-of-a-kind program is offered in-office only for students ages 3-5, who are looking to begin early preparation for the Gifted and Talented, Stanford Binet, and other Private School entrance exams. Rather than diving right into the content that is seen on the exams, one-on-one Skill Builder sessions help give children a strong foundation to better understand how to approach actual test questions. Many children have not been exposed to the rigor and difficulty of these exam questions, so having a strong foundation will help them to excel even more.
About our Skill Builder Experience
We were given 6 sessions that we have opted to use weekly until the G&T Prep begins in September. Our experience with the Skill Builder Program began with a 45 minute evaluation session. We arrived at their quaint office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and sat in their quiet waiting room stocked with a selection of well-loved books on a book case. We read a few books and waited our turn. My son said that he didn’t want to go in without me, but I assured him that I would be waiting in the waiting room for him when he finished and that I couldn’t wait to hear about what they did together. So, he went into the room by himself with the instructor without any tears or apprehension. Thankfully!
They went through a binder of puzzles, games and prompts that utilized toys, talking and lots of brain power. Then, my son came bouncing out of the room just dying to get me in the room to show me all that they had done. It was really cute. I was happy that he was happy and hadn’t felt forced to “work”. He was really enjoying it!
The instructor went over the concepts and “games” that they played. She explained where there was room for improvement and where there was success. This was all fairly general because the kiddo was right there and we didn’t want him to overhear too much. They give you access to an online portal where they provide detailed feedback from each session that you can review on your own and decide how to work on things at home, if at all, between sessions.
I learned that, he will have the same instructor for every Skill Builder session to help him get used to the type of material that will be covered in G&T prep without also having to adapt to a new person each week. But, when the official “Bootcamp” starts, he will see different instructors 1 on 1 in order to get used to the G&T test environment where they have to go into a room with a stranger and answer questions for 45 minutes straight.
I will continue to check in on our path through Skill Builder and G&T Prep and will follow up after we get our G&T test results back, too. So stay tuned and check out the whole series by using the “search” tool on this blog and searching “Kindergarten Prep”.