Playdate consultants who charge rich parents a cool $400 an hour to coach their pre-kindergarten age kids on how to pass a playdate test are creating some buzz. The practice has been going for awhile, but the pricey playdates were pushed back into the public eye after a Friday New York Post story that blurted, “It’s pay to play — for kids!”
Aristotle Circle Services, a tutoring service that helps kids get an edge applying for anything from elite kindergartens to Ivy League colleges, hasn’t been shy about promoting the playdate consultations.
According to Aristotle CEO Suzanne Rheault, it’s as tough as it has ever been to get into the right kindergarten: “Given that admission rates are so low, parents don’t want to leave anything to chance.”
The NYP story sort of made it sound like rich kids are just too socially clueless to know how to play. They’re overwhelmed by over-scheduled lives that involve classes five times a week. So the parents have little choice but to call in the $400 an hour playdate consultants who put the kids in a room together and teach them the supposedly proper way to socialize.
It’s fun to laugh at rich kids who are too stupid to live. But I checked around and I think there’s more to it than that.
An earlier Wall Street Journal report on the playdate consultants offered a fuller explanation of why the parents would be willing to pay the price instead of just locking the kids in a room and letting the brats fight it out.
It turns out that elite kindergartens may have a playdate test that the children must pass if they want to be granted one of an increasingly limited number of slots.
They’re not so much being told how to play as they’re being told how to play in a manner that will pass muster with the kindergarten’s admissions team.
“They [Aristotle's Circle] call it a playdate,” said Bige Doruk, who was offering a competing service. “We call it just another test to prepare for.”
And it’s expensive, like any other elite coaching service. WSJ was told that Aristotle charged $400 for just 45 minutes of the playdate consulting. Doruk was cheaper but still charged up to $275 per session.
With a child’s future at stake, rich parents may feel that hundreds of dollars an hour for the playdate consultants is cheap at the price.
[child model photo by Twin Designs via Shutterstock]