So, I already told you about Part One of the preschool admissions process in New York - The Tour. Welcome to Part Two - The Interview.
Oh, ho! You think to yourself, "How can they possibly interview a two year old? That's absurd!"
Well, it is, but they do it. It's generally called a playdate or a playgroup, where the child goes to the school and plays with several other children and teachers at the school while parents look on anxiously and try to make small talk and forget that these are people judging your progeny.
Honestly, the whole thing kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games, minus all the obvious actual death and child-on-child violence. (Although one of our friends was bitten at one playgroup.) The children are all released into the classroom at the same time (no unfair advantage!) and, instead of grabbing deadly weapons, they choose toys (Reese predictably went for baby dolls or any kind of food/kitchen items) and play for twenty minutes. Then they clean up, get a snack, and go home.
How do the teachers judge? I have literally no idea. But it's kind of a right of passage in the city, so we've done our due diligence, dragged Reese to hers, and just prayed that she didn't mentioned her bizarre Joe Biden obsession.
The big question is always, what to wear? Unlike the tour, you are with your child and this is playtime. Reese gets kind of wigged out if I dress up in a suit and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable taking her to play in one. You do occasionally join in the play if your child wants you to, so you want something that you can move around in, but still look put together and nice.
I love the J. Crew Minnie pants in the stretch twill for this. They are comfortable, clean looking, and not too expensive. I also really like the idea of putting a silk blouse under a soft cashmere sweater. The little peek of the silk blouse looks extremely polished and should something get on you (snot, peanut butter, Floam) the sweater is easily handwashable. It's like a force field for your silk.
I like the pop of color of the pink here with the neutral camel sweater, so I went with a nude Madewell flat. However, you could also go neutral with the blouse and then pair it with a fun red sliver wedge or knee-high boots.
There is also the question of what your child is wearing. Do not buy new button downs and little frilly dresses. He or she should be wearing comfortable clothes, preferably something they've already seen so they don't get squirmy and weirded out by the whole scenario. I love leggings for Reese, even though most days she prefers dresses and tights. The Crewcuts everyday leggings are perfect and soft, come in lots of colors and patterns and you can usually scoop them up at 40% off final sale. (I also really like the Hanna Andersson leggings.) Add a striped cotton tee and my favorite Naturino shoes and your toddler looks like a comfortable, cute kid. Just try to avoid PB&J stains at lunch before the interview.
For boys, I think chinos are a nice upgrade from cargo pants, but still comfy and age appropriate. Instead of getting an actual button down, a long sleeved polo adds a touch of formality to a tee shirt and the red color is classic. Add some velcro Converse sneakers (no laces to come undone and trip over) and he's ready to rock that animal puzzle like a boss.
Once the playgroup was over, I would rush Reese home and ply her with raisins in case the process scarred her in any way. She seems no worse for the wear, she keeps asking to go try out other peoples' toys and get graham crackers. Maybe it's really just harder on the parents...as most things are.