window into the Process

How to talk To Your daughter about her kindergarten or First Grade visit

Amy Jablonski, Director of Admissions and Enrollment 

We are delighted you are considering The Hewitt School for your daughter. Now that you have submitted the application, you may be wondering what comes next. By giving you a window into the Hewitt admissions process, I hope to anticipate your questions, help you prepare yourselves and your daughter(s), and allay any concerns you have.

For many parents, applying to schools can be a cause of stress and anxiety. And if this stress trickles down to the applicant herself, it can be a distraction from her school work, activities, and friendships. But this process can also be a truly wonderful opportunity to learn more about your daughter, yourself, and your family. Over the 11 years I have been doing admissions work, many families have commented on how much they have come to understand the needs and the hopes of their daughter simply by asking her questions and involving her in discussions about applying to a school.

For students from four years old to sixteen years old, preparing for a school visit can seem a bit scary. Research on girls tells us that girls learn best when their teachers provide them with a clear set of expectations and a clear scope and sequence, so I am going to provide just that when it comes to the school visit and try and take some of the scary out of visiting Hewitt.

The school visit really starts at home as the girls prepare for the day. They may be wondering what to wear for their special school visit. Some girls pick out leggings, a t-shirt and sneakers. Some girls like to dress up a little more and select a dress for their visit. Some girls feel their best in a pair of jeans and a sweater. All types of clothes are just fine for this visit, as we want the girls to be comfortable and not distracted by what they are wearing.

When students and their grown-ups walk into the main lobby of Hewitt at 45 East 75th Street, they are warmly greeted by a member of the Admissions Office and by Brian Malone at the front desk. Mr. Malone is pretty special because he used to be a New York City firefighter and because he knows all of the Hewitt girls by name. Just past Mr. Malone’s desk, there is a long bench in the lobby where students can read books with their grown-ups and wait until everyone has arrived for the school visit. The bench is outside the office of our Head of School, Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey. Dr. Kinsey brings her dog Gus (a yellow lab) to school every day and Gus loves to greet the girls who come to visit. Sometimes he is a bit tired from his morning run so he sleeps in his bed in front of the door where the girls can still see him.

Once all of the girls have arrived for the school visit (there are never more than five girls at a time), Ms. Poznyakov and I will lead the group into my office where we will have our visit. My office is a big glass space just right around the corner from the lobby, so the grown-ups are never far away. The office has three little tables where we will play games and do fun activities. We start out by playing the Hewitt game to get to know about each other -- we might ask questions about the girls’ favorite things to do at school, their favorite foods, or their favorite color. Then the girls each have one-on-one time with me or Ms. Poznyakov, where we do some brain challenges. We also have a drawing table where the girls will be able to draw a picture and select blocks, puzzles, and Legos for their fun choice time. We finish the school visit by reading a book together and making observations about what we see in the pictures. We also make predictions about what happens at the end of the book. Finally, after an hour-long visit, we give each of the girls a small gift and meet back up with their grownups to say good-bye.