Some years ago almost nobody prepped for the ERB (WPPSI), the private school kindergarten admissions test.

Then some savvy moms started picking up a few educational workbooks and toys like Mighty Mind , Block Buddies and  BrainQuest. It was still pretty touch and go.

Not anymore.

Everything changed in 2009.  Two companies–Bright Kids and Aristotle Circle published ERB prep workbooks, essentially giving parents access to the test questions:

Aristotle Circle ERB/WPPSI III Workbook

Bright Kids ERB Preparation Guide

The latest entrant, Karen Quinn’s Testing for Kindergarten, will be published in July.  Quinn’s purpose in writing the book is to teach “to the underlying abilities every test assesses.”

Now every parent wrestles with a dilemma: to prep or not to prep?  It’s hard not to, when you feel that everyone else is.

Most of the families I’m working with for my kindergarten Private School Admissions Support programs (school selection, interview and essay prep, coaching) have chosen to prep for the ERB test.  I offer a program, Kindergarten Admissions Prep, which helps for the child interview and ERB.

The families I work with are angry at the private schools for ranking and judging preschoolers on the basis of a deeply flawed test.  They don’t want to prep their four year olds, but they feel that’s what’s required for their children to be successful in the kindergarten admissions process.

The only silver lining is that many families find that the educational toys and workbooks I recommend are fun and stimulating for kids.  Parents and children enjoy the quality time spent together.

Still, in the ideal world kids could just play and read, with no goal other than pleasure.  Clearly for families there is a significant cost to the private school admissions process.