I just finished watching the documentary, Nursery University, which follows five different New York City families through their attempts at getting their three year olds admitted into prestigious Manhattan nursery schools (at $20,000 per year). The documentary also follows the nursery school administrators as they face the difficult task of deciding which of the hundreds of adorable boys and girls are going to be admitted to their school. Sometimes, there are only 20 or so available slots!
All I can say is...wow.
The drama begins the day after Labor Day when mom, dads and even nannies are making phone call after phone call trying to receive an application to the school. They spend hours speed dialing and getting busy signals, but if they're lucky, they'll manage to get through to one or two schools. Because the demand for these applications are so high, by the time the caller reaches someone on the other line, they may be informed that they're out of luck and all applications have been handed out.
These poor parents are driving themselves insane during the application process, the interviews with the schools then acceptance process which, by the way, takes about 6 months! One of the parents that was interviewed said that getting in to the best nursery school will lead to the best kindergarten, followed by the best grade schools, high school then on to an ivy league college. Talk about pressure. I may be naive, but I thought preschool was about socializing with other children, singing, reading and playing! At least that's what it was like for me, my brothers and sister...but then again, we don't live in Manhattan.
By the end of the documentary, one of the families actually left the city to move to a suburb outside of Boston where the nursery school process wasn't as competitive. They moved because of a nursery school...what?!
I'd love to hear from you if you've either seen the documentary or have been through this tough process. Do I need to start worrying about preschool now while the boys are sitting in my belly?! I sure hope not...