Being a kid is serious business, these days.
Wealthy New York mothers are hiring expensive recreation consultants to design highly-structured playdates for their career-oriented four-year-olds.
Such sessions, which are designed with long-term academic and professional success in mind, cost $400 an hour, reports The New York Post.
“Given that admission rates [to elite kindergartens] are so low, parents don’t want to leave anything to chance,” said Suzanne Rheault, CEO of Aristotle Circle, a tutoring company that organizes the playdates for groups consisting of three to five children.
Aristotle’s experts study how the children interact, later offering evaluations so that parents can help improve their kids’ chances at social success — and eventually, placement in top schools.
Everything is monitored, from how well the kids share their toys to how they hold their pencils.
But several experts criticized a culture that treats toddlers like college applicants.
“Instead of adding a class in Playdate 101, why not remove a few courses from the schedule?” wrote Lisa Belkin, a columnist for The Huffington Post. “Use the free time to invite another child over to just… have fun.”
But a former admissions director at New York City’s Horace Mann School, an extremely selective college preparatory academy, said the pay-to-playdates put future high-achievers on the right track.
“It’s generally very helpful for the children so they know what to expect,” said Dana Haddad.
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