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Private Tutors for Preschoolers?

Parents who want their toddlers to get into ultra-competitive private schools in Manhattan are hiring private tutors to coach their 4-year-olds on the admissions exam, according to The New York Times. But are they helping or hindering them?

Because so many kids are being prepped for the test, it is no longer an accurate measure of children’s abilities. Now most of these private schools no longer value the Early Childhood Admissions Assessment (known as the  E.R.B. after the Educational Records Bureau, the company that administers it).

But, aside from test results, is spending money on a private tutor for your preschooler beneficial in the long run?

In short: no.

“While this is one way to spend your money, it may not be the best way to teach children the long-term skills they will need after they get into that top kindergarten. It may also hinder them more than help them,” writes The New York Times’ Paul Sullivan.

How so? Rather than encouraging kids to push themselves and be naturally inquisitive, tutors may end up teaching young children that getting the correct answer is more important than the process of arriving at it.

“I always say be careful in doing this,” Lloyd Thacker, a former college admissions officer and the executive director of the Education Conservancy tells The New York Times. “Not only does it jeopardize your child’s ‘studenthood’ — those qualities that make learning happen — but someone finding your way for you and packaging you in the process jeopardizes your ability to be yourself.”

Will these youngsters learn how to tackle difficult problems themselves or will they assume that they can’t do it on their own? Once they make it to the private school, will they be able to take tests without somehow holding their hand and encouraging them?

What do you think? Would you ever hire a tutor for your preschooler?

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Photo: flickr/cafemama

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