The Early Childhood Admissions Assessment

When my daughter, Marin, was just 36 hours old, I sat in the lobby of the hospital waiting for my husband to pull the car around, so we could take her home for the first time. An older man turned to us and started chatting about my adorable 6-pound bundle. “Are you planning on raising her in the city?” he asked. I nodded. He laughed and said, “Then I guess you better start looking at kindergarten!”

Four years later, our daughter is looking at kindergarten for fall 2010, and the floodgates of private school admissions competition are just beginning to open.

A key piece of that admissions process is “the ERB test,” or ECAA—Early Childhood Admissions Assessment. You see, in an effort to make the application process less grueling for the children, the schools accept one centrally administered standardized test as part of their evaluation. Of course, this makes the process more grueling for the parents. There are no re-dos. Your child gets to take the test once and only once a year, and that score, that one score, is passed around to all the schools you apply to. No pressure, right?