Lower School

The early years are the most important ones


New York City schools offer the most diverse curricular options available in the country for families navigating public or private schools. The challenge for many families is finding the most ideal match in a system that is complex and competitive not by design, but because of the volume of students applying and the few spaces available. Families should take the time to explore all of their options in making a considered decision, keeping in mind that the “right” school is the one that reflects your families’ needs and is the best suited for your child’s learning needs.


While there is no longer one standardized test for the private school application process (there was formerly an assessment known as the “ERB” administered by the Educational Records Bureau and distributed among the private schools), all schools will be looking at your child’s readiness, whether through an outside agency or internally. In addition to the verbal and non-verbal skills assessed in a standardized test like the AABL, the Stanford-Binet, or the OLSAT, schools are looking at your child’s ability to focus, manage transitions, and follow directions, among other social emotional skills.

Smart City Kids offers educational assessments of your child’s developmental and academic skills. We use the results to guide the potential list of schools and have strategic discussions about best fit schools. We also offer guidance and support in understanding the assessments for students in order to reinforce healthy testing strategies.


How we can help

Our Process:

  • Meet to help clarify your values and priorities, provide a preliminary list of schools, and discuss a strategic plan for admissions
  • Perform an evaluation of the student. Due diligence regarding fit will also have to be established with additional insights into his or her educational profile.
  • Meet with parents to discuss the results of the evaluation
  • Benchmark the results against the preliminary list of schools and have a strategic discussion about best-fit schools, next steps, and timeline for your process
  • Discuss essays and editing of essays to complete application file for parents
  • Review results of testing required for admissions (dependent on when it’s taken, and whether your school list requires it)
  • Prepare parents and students for interviews
  • Discuss top choice school strategy and use of contacts
  • Review all thank you notes, letters of interest, first choice letters, and any letters of recommendation
  • Strategize together as you prioritize your list, communicate with the schools, and make choices from the offers you receive