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SCHOOL TALK - INTERVIEW

The interview is the step in the application process where parents feel the most anxious about. It is human nature to feel on edge when facing unfamiliar situations, so avoid scheduling the first interview (when a child tends to be most nervous) with your top choice school. The good news is that most schools conduct their interviews in similar fashion, thus the second one will be a lot easier.

Schools typically do not allow parents to accompany their children during the interview. So before the interview, explain to your child whats expected of him/her and how long the process takes. Some schools observe the child in a playgroup setting, while others conduct one-on-one testing. There are also schools that require both group and individual evaluations that span several days.

Do not try to rehearse for the interview or exert pressure on your youngster. The interview is for the schools to find out whether your child is ready for rigorous private school education and whether he/she will succeed and be happy at their schools. So just let your child relax and allow the school officials to observe and determine whether their school is indeed the best match for you child.

The actual testing procedure vary from school to school but basically consists of activities like drawing, writing, listening to stories and discussing them, solving puzzles, answering questions about home life and hobbies, etc. The process is meant to be enjoyable for the child and allows the interviewer to study the childs reading, writing, and math skills, communication proficiency, attention span, hand-eye coordination, curiosity, maturity, and other traits which demonstrate that the child is physically, emotionally, and intellectually ready for serious schooling.

Remember that schools do not intend to put your child "on trial" during the interview. A bad interview experience does not in any way reflect failure on you or your youngster. Because of natural development differences, the school may deem that your child is not ready to begin kindergarten and it would be in your childs best interest to wait a year.

Examples of Actual Interview Activities from Several South Bay Kindergartens:

bullet Cut out 3 circles of different sizes and glue them to form a snowman; then decorate the snowman and write ones name on it.
bullet Draw (from a bag) a letter of the alphabet and make up words starting with that letter.
bullet Transcribe a drawing of various geometric shapes.
bullet A teacher tells a story to a group of children and then asks questions about the story.
bullet Pour sand from a large bucket to several small containers.
bullet Outdoor play time with other children.
bullet Count backwards from 30.
bullet Describe parents' jobs.

Note that schools typically do not expect kids to perfect all activites and answer all questions. Schools may include a few questions beyond the age group level to observe how a child reacts to unfamiliar situations or questions. It may be a good idea to let your youngster know that he/she is not expected to know everything and that it is okay to ask the interviewer for help or clarification.

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