When our daughters went to preschool back in the '70s in Garden City, New York, we took them in for an interview, and that was about it. The children were toilet-trained and pretty well socialized. To the best of my knowledge, there were no formal assessments of their cognitive skills and so on. As far as their mother and I were concerned, our daughters were gifted children. We never had any formal assessment of our suspicions until the girls were much older at which point testing confirmed that they were indeed gifted.
Is your child gifted or bright? There is a difference. For a detailed explanation of the differences read Gifted vs. Bright: Understanding the Difference
Preschool admissions assessments have changed in the 21st century. Preschools want to know what your child knows and what she is capable of at age two. So, against that backdrop, let's look at some of the more common ways preschools assess their very young applicants. And, perhaps even more important from our point of view as parents, let's try to understand why such testing is necessary.
Common Assessment Tools
The Otis-Lennon School Ability Test is commonly known as Olsat. This test is popular in New York City where it is a requirement for admission into programs for gifted children. The OLSAT traces its roots back to a test developed by Dr. Arthur Sinton Otis known as Army Alpha, which was administered to U.S. Army recruits in World War I.
Another test which you will encounter is the
Montessori, Steiner and Malaguzzi believed in the intrinsic abilities and capabilities of children. Their approaches, philosophies and methods had a single, common purpose: to produce a better society in which human beings would respect each other and live in harmony and peace.
In America these three educational approaches took root not in the poorest segments of society but in a middle and upper class eager to have something better than what was offered in the public school systems. Here is a comparison of the main