William Shakespeare had his stages of man, NYC kiddos have theirs: studying to get into elementary school, studying to excel in elementary school, and studying to get into middle school (after that, they’re not exactly kiddos anymore, though many a mom would beg to differ). In honor of these uniquely NYC stages (and with apologies to The Bard of Avon), Red Tricycle presents a variety of tutoring centers to prep for each one.


Get Into Elementary School with Testing Mom & Aristotle Circle

Welcome to NYC, where securing a kindergarten place for your child is a matter luck, lottery or a test (often followed by a lottery, and a whole lot of luck). If you’re looking to apply your four year old to a private school or a public Gifted & Talented program, you will need to subject them to a battery of intelligence tests.

And if you want to ensure them scoring above the 90th percentile (the minimum required for public G&T), TestingMom.com, Karen Quinn, promises to help. She wrote Testing For Kindergarten, then started a tutoring service to help other parents get their kids ready for the same. You can sign up to receive free daily tips, activities and practice questions, or you can join Testing Mom as member (at various levels) and receive video tutorials, prep materials to practice with at home, online games that are secretly educational, and personalized answers to your questions. Testing Mom also sells IQ Fun Park, a board game with questions that mimic those on most standardized tests.

Back when Aristotle was wandering about Greece, hanging with Plato and Alexander the Great, it’s doubtful he guessed that, one day, his name would be attached to a tutoring company that gets children ready for kindergarten admissions. Yet, Aristotle Circle vows that it can do precisely that. Their service includes sending an expert to your home to give your child a practice test, followed by a written report listing areas in need of improvement. You can then opt for either in home tutoring, or at their office on 475 Park Avenue. Aristotle Circle also says that when it’s time for your child to be tested officially for kindergarten, they will pick a psychologist from their own network to submit the results of the ERB to the private schools you’re applying to. (No such accommodation for public school, you’ll need to sign up on your own, then go to an approved testing site.)


Excel In Elementary School with Kumon

Congratulations! Your kiddo has gotten into a school you love! But, wait… so have a lot of other kiddos, all equally as smart as your child. How will your child stand out in such an already outstanding crowd? Worse yet, what does it mean for future competition with his peers in Asia?

You know what they say: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Luckily, Japan’s secret academic weapon, Kumon Learning Centers, have 10 locations in NYC. The Kumon method prides itself on being unique in that instead of passively receiving instruction from their tutors, Kumon students actively develop self-learning skills. Kids (ages 4 through 18) progress at their own pace through an individualized program of worksheets. Students complete daily 30-minute sessions in both reading and math – two are held in the Center and the other five at home, which they keep in a personalized folder to be graded by an instructor prior to moving on to the next lesson.

4 Tutoring Centers for Getting Into Middle School

Bright Kids NYC
Kumon may help your nine and ten year old get straight A’s in the 4th grade. But that’s not enough to ensure placement in a good middle school. Beyond your kid’s grades, NYC public middle schools consider your child’s scores on the 4th grade New York State English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams. To prep for those (starting in 3rd grade or even earlier, which means, yes, you need to start thinking about middle school for your 7 and 8 year old), try Bright Kids NYC. They’ve got practice books for sale, as well as one-on-one or small group tutoring that is held either in your home or at their office on 225 Broadway. Spending the summer in The Hamptons? Fear not – you can get services there, too.

Huntington Learning Centers
Alternately, Huntington Learning Centers also do particularly well with this age group on state tests, offering courses in a variety of maths, sciences and other subjects one on one in all of their many centers around the city (just type in your zip code for a list). They will even visit your child’s school so that tutors and teachers can all work together for the student’s benefit. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), they will meet with the entire Study Team to maximize their efficiency. They will even advocate for you if they believe your child would do better in a Gifted or Special Ed environment.

Though best known for their SHSAT Prep Courses (that’s high-school admissions, you still have a little time for that), they also do private ELA/Math Tutoring, as well as customized, online learning for grades K-8.

City Smarts
This Brooklyn tutoring center promises to prepare your kiddos for state tests by assigning materials and practice exams that are consistent with the student’s potential score level, rather than with their current achievement level. They design, not just assign, problems and tests that supplement the work required by the student’s teacher in a variety of academic subjects.

Alright, got all that? Parents, start your engines… The September 2014 (yes, 2014) admissions season begins… now!

– Alina Adams

Photos by Brad Flickinger via Flickr and Kumon