Many parents worry about the entrance exams that their 4 year olds are required to take to enroll in New York City private and selective public elementary schools. Fortunately, the best ways to prepare your child for these standardized exams are fun. The following activities help children improve their intellectual skills as well as prepare them for the test itself.

  • Talk and read to your children regularly
  • Encourage questions and answer them thoughtfully
  • Enjoy and explore the tremendous sites and museums in New York City
  • Assign your children with a set of responsibilities, such as dressing themselves, cleaning their own room and putting their toys away
  • Develop tasks with multiple step directions
  • Play with them (i.e., block games, activity books, children's computer games, and counting games)

If your child does not immediately find games easy or does not follow directions to the letter, be patient. If your child does not like a particular activity (other than cleaning their room), stop the activity and try something else.

Testing Week: A day before the test, tell your child that s/he is meeting with an adult for a brief period of time, that the adult will talk her/him and may ask the child to perform some thinking activities which may include blocks and pictures. Tell your child that once the meeting is over, the two of you will do your child's favorite activity or something special. The parent or guardian that separates most easily with the child should accompany the child to the test site. If your child is sick, upset or does not separate quickly, leave and reschedule. Once a test has begun, the tester is required to relay the results to the schools, and the child cannot retake the test for a year. The test typically lasts one hour.

Reggio Emilia Preschools

Teachers acts as researchers who work collaboratively with children on projects that involve exploration, discussion and revision. The curriculum emphasizes constructive thinking, planning and implementation skills. The children, with the instructor’s guidance, select the activities that they will pursue.

Reggio Emilia prechools are best suited for children who are:

  • Advanced congnitively and are exposed to math and language skills at home
  • Auditory or hands-on learners
  • Self-motivated learners


The Family Annex Preschool

Is your child self-motivated and creative? If so, the Family Annex Preschool might be the right school for your family.

Children’s interests and input assist adults in implementing the co-created curriculum. Children are encouraged to explore the various materials offered to support their learning. We believe our current practice, inspired by the philosophy of the Infant Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, is the natural growth and evolution in The Family Annex’s long-time commitment to providing the highest quality care and early education.

Once you have selected a group of schools in which you are interested, you will want to visit them. If possible, visit the school during the school day when classes are in session. You will learn a great deal about the school by simply observing the classrooms, facilities and school walls as well as the sounds from the students and teachers. The following are a list of questions to ask about the manner in which the teachers develop various skills.

Skill Development

  • How is math taught (i.e., rote memorization, workbooks, manipulatives, or practical problems)?
  • How is reading taught (i.e., phonics, whole language)?
  • What kind of writing is required in each grade? How is it taught?
  • How is science taught (i.e., in class or lab)?
  • Is there musical instruction? How many days/hours per week?
  • How much homework is required daily at each grade level?