Whether you are applying to a 2s program, a nursery school, kindergarten, middle or high school, (or anything in between), there is much to do and much to learn (for all of us!). And, if you want a quick article to update you on all of the lessons you can learn to make it through the process successfully – read on!

All of my latest learning is here in a one stop shop manner.

Zoom makes open houses and school events intimate and “interview-like”

In past years, I would prepare my students and families for interviews after they had a chance to attend open houses and tours. Parents would benefit from learning about the school and seeing it in action before they shared information about themselves or the school. Now, with ZOOM, many admissions events are turning into Q&A sessions or “mini” interviews with faculty, admissions officers and current students. Thus, being prepared with WHAT you’ll say and QUESTIONS you have is key! SEE THIS FREE PDF QUESTION BANK!

There is MORE writing for each school and questions range from “tell me about your child’s strengths and challenges” to “how has your family been impacted by COVID-19?”

When you write your essays- answer the question directly and “let it all come out”. Once you get it down, add in powerful anecdotes to illustrate your point. Tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Show, don’t tell your ideas.

Then, edit your piece by comparing it to the website and to information from open houses and consultants. Break up your work into mini-deadlines so that you are writing a little each week! Applications were not built in one day – take your time and communicate and advocate well for your child’s application. Our entire admissions team – Becky, Laura and Jana are standing by to support our parent and student writers. We just LOVE communicating about students and schools:) This is our jam, albeit we realize not everyone’s!

Student readiness is KEY to any admissions process- and this year this looks a little different!

  • The youngest students will be assessed primarily through their parents. Check out our developmental checklists to be sure your child is developing overall and we are here to support any areas of challenge:
  • Be sure your student (grade 5 and up) knows about the school where they are applying and that they can perform well within reading, writing and math. We are happy to mock test any student for readiness.
  • Interview preparation is important so that students can connect with their interviewer — see this webinar to learn more tips!

This year’s kindergarten private school admissions is quite a different process than year’s prior due to the introduction of the T & E and Video submission. I outline some ideas and information on these assessments to follow:

What is the Thinking & Engagement Assessment (T&E) ?

The T & E or Thinking & Engagement Assessment, is an assessment designed by psychologists in order to provide schools and families a solution to the typical Kindergarten assessments that take place in person. In the comfort of your own home, children can be assessed in a comforting space that assesses various areas of their development. 

The T&E is a comprehensive evaluation that assesses 4-5-year-old children’s non-verbal and verbal skills as well as receptive and expressive language and problem-solving skills. The evaluation includes activities such as completing puzzles and drawing. This assessment will serve as a common exam for applicants and would replace the need for multiple exams. The results of the assessment will be shared between the schools to which families are applying, but families do not receive results. The T&E can only be taken once, but there are other schools that might require different tests that Kindergartners would need to take. Please note that you can only register your child once for the exam.


  • Dates to schedule your child for the exam are between September 8th – December 18th 2020. Dates are available seven days a week.
  • Beginning September 8th, parents who have sent applications to respective schools will be provided a link to contact the T&E Assessors where you will  schedule your child’s T&E – Note: you may only register your child once.
  • Most schools’ deadlines for the ISAAGNY forms and materials will be January 8th.
  • Additionally, some schools such as BWL, will require a brief Zoom playgroup with their Kindergarten applicants. 

What should you expect for your child?

The child will be expected to sit for 45-minutes. Additionally, to minimize distractions, students must be wearing headphones so that they are entirely hands free. A flat surface is recommended for placing the iPad or laptop you will need so that the Coordinator can watch your child for the exam. Also, one adult, guardian, care-taker is required to sit beside or behind the child for the duration of the exam so that the Coordinator, the person administering the exam, can see the adult at all times.

Before the assessments, the parent or guardian sitting with the student will be required to sign a waiver which permits them from recording the session, helping the student answer any questions or discussing any information they have witnessed throughout the duration of the exam.

Kids will have to engage in activities with the Coordinator. Certain activities could be social wherein the Coordinator may ask how the child is doing, what grade they are in, and how old they are. 

We will provide parents with our 48-month checklist and the 60-month checklist so that they can monitor their children before they take the T&E.

How can I prepare my child for the T&E?

For more information, please refer to the Guide for Preparation for the T&E Assessment below.

How much does it cost?

The T&E costs $250. If you are applying for financial assistance and have a combined household annual income of less than $150,000, the fee will be waived.

Guide for Preparation for the T&E Assessment

  • Get your child a pair of headphones that they are comfortable with.
  • Have them watch a video that simulates the types of probing questions they will experience the day of the T&E Assessment such as Dora the Explorer or Blue’s Clues.
    • Pay attention to their answers. 
      • For example, if they answer in one-word answers rather than multiple-word answers, this is something to note as the assessment will assess receptive and expressive language skills, standard reading comprehension, social-emotional and inference questions.
  • Because the T&E uses puzzles as assessment tools, have your child engage with an interactive puzzle here.
      • Other games you can play with your child: play a game of tic-tac-toe, ask the child to draw a picture of their family or favorite animal, have them anticipate the last step of a 3-step sequence such as first, the chef rolls pizza dough, second, the chef puts the sauce on the pizza, what happens next?
  • Have them sit with you in the room, but not engage with you. 
      • Have your child sit next to you and watch Blues Clues. Have them sit close enough to you so that you can hear their answers while they are watching, but do not help them or interfere with their program in any way. This is to simulate actual testing conditions as you will not be able to interfere in the actual assessment other than to provide technical support as needed.

For Video submission- I suggest doing something simple. To get content ideas, access the developmental checklists and showcase some activities which represent those areas.

Should you need more support through the private school admissions process, be sure to access my BOOK – it is a free PDF download and it outlines my TEN steps to private school admissions success.

We at Evolved Education Company are here for you during your school placement journey- in public or private systems – we support families with 2s, nursery, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, middle and high school placement as well as everything in between!  Find us at www.evolvededucationcompany.com or email us at admin@evolveded.com for more information.