SEES prep

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    • #11242 Reply

      Has anyone done SEES prep courses and felt they were good? My daughter is 4 in October, so we have quite a lot of time but I’m trying to plan ahead. She’s in a great preschool, but I think the concept of assessment may be really foreign to her and I’d like to get her used to the idea with some prep. Thank you!

    • #11245 Reply
      Giant squid

      Montessori Gifted Prep at Lincoln square; take a look at it

    • #11246 Reply

      Do they have any smaller classes/tutoring sessions rather than a full preschool program? We are really happy with our current program and don’t want to leave, just want to supplement!

    • #11283 Reply
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    • #11285 Reply

      I believe that Montessori Gifted Prep offers private tutoring. You should reach out to them. I chose them because they have a successful track record of getting kids into SEES and they have good reviews.

    • #11365 Reply

      Yeah, I reached out to them and Montessori Gifted prep does not do public tutoring for SEES. They were super nice though and gave me some guidance on the standards, what I need to have her doing to feel confident about the test and what I can be doing at home to try and get my daughter prepared. I actually feel a lot better having a plan moving forward.

    • #11366 Reply

      Do you mind sharing with the group?

    • #11367 Reply

      Not at all, I can say what I was told let me just copy and paste!

      “My advice would be to find any 1st grade curriculum and spend 30 min on math and 30 min on reading at home every day, from now to the test. The goal is she needs to be able to read very easily, without pause. On the math she needs to be able to manipulate numbers quickly (Addition And subtraction) , count coins up to a hundred, read the analog clock, etc. Best not to memorize anything – true understanding is imperative. Teach it in word problems or concrete items so it’s fun and she can relate to the story/items rather than abstract boring equations.
      <div>The key is to do it every day, no exceptions. It’s also good to get various people to work with her, because you never know whether she likes the tester, or not. So she needs to be comfortable testing with multiple people.”

      <div>basically the TLDR was “if you’re tier four your kid needs to be a first grader, and most parents don’t really grasp that.”</div>

    • #11368 Reply

      Sorry for formatting yikes I was copy pasting but you get the idea!

    • #11369 Reply

      We attend Montessori Gifted Prep and our daughter got in to our first choice. It’s not just the curriculum we found invaluable but also like-minded parents, community, historical data of test scores, great leadership and language (Mandarin/Spanish). All four of our kids will be attending if they have the space.

      But we definitely supplemented at home. 1-2 hours per day. 6 days per week.

    • #11370 Reply

      Curious are any parents currently sending their children to daycare learning centers right now in Phase 3 or Phase 4?  If yes, how has your experience been and any advice?

    • #11371 Reply

      I’m assuming they meant that the child needs to be able to answer 1st grade level questions. That makes sense as the SEES and classical teach 1-2 grades ahead so the child would be working at 1st/2nd grade level when they start k. So it obviously would not be a good fit if they were not able to skip k curriculum.

      We just finished off preK (1st year of 2) via zoom at a private preschool, So I’m getting some insight into what is typically taught in a pre k classroom. There are tons of smart kids in this classroom and I know in prior years have have had few kids going into SEES. I’m pretty sure they are doing what is what some of the CPS k classrooms teach.  My child definitely needs some acceleration and can not be doing the same academic things next year as she just finished up.   It’s a mixed aged classroom so its combined with kids that are going into k this year.  We tested this year for early entry to k with CPS (99.9 cog, 99.9 reading and 99.7 math- no prep) but we are not sending her early and plan on testing for SEES in the fall for 2021-2022 k.  We send her to to preschool for social emotional development, socialization, and fun. I have printed out some 1st grade level stuff I found online to continue doing at home preschool. And depending on how things go, might be what next year looks like (crossing my fingers that we can be back in the classroom instead) We want to send her to same place as we love it!

      Here is my 2 cents. I’m doing 1st grade work at home with my daughter just because that is the level she is at. It’s minimal everyday, and only if she wants to. But wow…30 minutes a day per subject? That is insane!! I think if you need to work so much to get your child get ready, that it it is not suitable suitable for your child  at all. Unless you child really wants to?? I just think that is pushing too far. And I wonder what happens to those kids one they are in the program. If we don’t get a spot because of not enough prep, then so be it.



    • #11378 Reply

      Correction: our preschool has had a few kids get accepted into SEES (not few). I really need to proof read better before I submit.

    • #11443 Reply

      @Bpmommy, I shared my thoughts with you under the Singapore Math thread though I probably should have posted them here.

      It’s possible that those of us who are not doing formal Math/Reading prep are simply naive because our children are competing against other children who have had such formal prep. I have been wondering what % of kids who get accepted in RGC/classical schools are formally prepped. I asked this question at the Edison Open House in October and the principal said that they do not have data on this. I also haven’t seen any research on it, so perhaps it’s a good question for an education researcher. I wish more parents would share their experiences here and some have. “Prep” can mean a lot of different formal and informal things, so I don’t think that we can simply be separated into “the parents who prepped their children” and “the parents who didn’t prep their children.” It’s all a continuum of choices we, parents, make for our children, from the choice of a Pre-K program to the choice of games we buy, TV programs we allow, and activities we sign them up for.

      I chose not to do formal prep because a part of me rebels against the idea of determining kids’ futures based on tests at such an early age, and especially against “cramming” for the exams. But I have to admit that another part of me was regretting my laissez-faire prepping strategy after seeing my daughter’s results in December (she has a low Reading score) and while anxiously waiting for offers to come out in May. I know that I could have gently insisted on more regular reading lessons, and then she would have likely done better. Should I have done that? Maybe. I like the idea of my child being appropriately challenged at school which is why we took the test in the first place. But I also think that our neighborhood school, potentially with supplementing activities, would have achieved a similar result in the long run.

      As I mentioned in another post, CPS doesn’t expect or teach full reading in their Pre-K programs beyond reading simple words, so it’s ironic that they are asking kids to fully read on the Classical exam. My child was asked to read full paragraphs at the exam, likely because she had just turned 5. I had not prepared her appropriately for this (partly because I did not know that this is what they expected) and was blaming myself. Younger kids are supposed to be held to a different standard and I don’t know what that is. Perhaps other parents can comment.

      Sorry for the long posts. Your posts inspired some self-reflection…

      P.S. I forgot to mention in my previous post that I had read Karen Quinn’s book on “Testing for Kindergarten” which I found helpful as it gives you ideas for games to play with your child. So maybe I did more prep than I originally thought.

    • #11445 Reply

      @RobinintheRain, your post is very thoughtful and your child will succeed in any school they go to because of the very involved parent you appear to be.

      I don’t think you should be blaming yourself for not pushing reading more. The best prep parents can do, in my opinion, is get kids familiar with the test format and also comfortable with new adults.

      Kids who end up with top scores are not who were prepped the most material-wise. A lot of them read full paragraphs and grade 1-2 level chapter books at the age 3-4, not because of prep, they are self-driven, have acute interest in books and in many cases teach themselves to read, at least from my experience.

      There are kids in top SEES who were prepped or their parents played the tier game and it is very obvious because they get pulled out by resource teachers for extra help as they cannot keep up with their peers already in kindergarten. Parents who got these kids in the parents’ dream school did a big disservice to their kids. Other kids see all that and view those kids as low performers. These kids could be at the top of the class in their neighborhood schools or magnet lottery schools, and their confidence in themselves would be so much higher than it is now when they sit in the hallway with a resource teacher one-on-one learning to read.


    • #11448 Reply



      Ha, thanks. Maybe blaming was not quite the right word. It was more like a feeling that I had failed my child (worse?); I could have done something and I didn’t. I would probably still feel this way if she didn’t get into Edison which I think is a better fit for her than a classical school anyways. This is different from feeling disappointment which I wouldn’t have felt if she were to go to our neighborhood school.

      I am curious though, have you seen data on this: “Kids who end up with top scores are not who were prepped the most material-wise”? Has anyone done research on it or are you talking only from personal experience?

      <div>For example, all parents who have shared that their kids went to Montessori Gifted Prep (which has daily “Individualized instruction for Gifted & Classical test taking skills” according to their website) reported very high scores. But there is also a highly selective process to get into the school, so it’s likely that a lot of the kids who go there are smart to begin with. In cases like this, it’s hard to pull apart to what extent the amount of prepping versus their natural abilities contribute to a high score. I am sure you don’t mean to say that parents who send their kids to this pre-school are doing disservice to their kids, right?</div>

    • #11449 Reply

      I was speaking from personal experience and from what I see in our SEES, did not do research on this.

      I think you are right about MGP where due to highly selective process, kids are already good candidates for the GAT programs. Getting familiar with the test format while in that pre-school only helps.



    • #11450 Reply

      OK, thanks for clarifying.

      Based on what @Chihei reported after talking to MGP (which was very interesting to read — thanks for sharing, @Chihei!), it doesn’t sound like all MGP is doing is familiarizing kids with the test format.

    • #11451 Reply

      I used TestingMom for Kindergarten flash cards to prepare for CPS exam. This was very useful for my son


    • #11452 Reply

      Congrats on your child’s acceptance to Edison! From what I see here it seems like a highly sought after school. In my humble opinion, the fact that your child got in without formal prep means that it is a great fit for your child. I am by no means suggesting we don’t meet our children where they are at, or put them in a challenging environment. The last thing I want to do is push my child too far.  We have all seen the statistics regarding anxiety and depression in today’s children. But I do think it’s important that they are in a setting where they are appropriately  challenged, and for many kids that means above grade level work. What I want for my child is to be self motivated, and in an environment where they have to work at things a bit. Where school doesn’t come too easy and they don’t learn how to work hard. But I certainly don’t want my child to be needing a lot of extra help, feeling deflated, and not able to keep up. So I feel like putting too much work in to get into these programs is just setting them up for the latter. I absolutely do not want to be putting in extra work outside of school to have my child keep up. I’m doubting they are getting a lot of 1-1 attention and assistance in the classroom.
      You sound like a wonderful parent!

    • #11453 Reply

      The above was directed at @RobinInTheRain. I guess the “reply” at the top of each comment does not do what I assumed it did.

    • #11454 Reply

      Just read @ES comment about the resource teachers. That does not sound desirable either! Appreciate your commentary, and I  agree with all points!

      And echo statements about reading just “happens” with some young kids.  At one point I thought about doing some formal reading lessons, but my child was not having it at all. And didn’t show me she was a fluent reader until she was VERY good at it and super confident. This is where preschool filled in the gaps because they teach pre-reading skills. And to be honest I’m not sure how my child really got to where she was at, and I wasn’t sure she could answer pre reading questions. (But just for the record, I know she can now)

    • #11457 Reply

      My child attended MGP and I chose the school because it created an environment where my child’s continuous  asking of “why?” was always answered in ways where he self-discovered the answers, which I believe is key for “prepping” for SEES. MGP would create experiments so he could understand why things are, rather than told why, and he would come home most day’s excited to work with his teachers to discover answers to his questions. For example he did experiments about the probability of events and drew a decision tree showing how probability relates to outcomes in his daily life and how he can make decisions based on visual drawings and numbers (which really made him excited), and another example was after the flooding that occurred in the spring, with the help of his teacher, he built a mini sewer system bc it helped to answer many of his questions about why the city main sewage system overflows with heavy downpours. He really lived their learning model of learning by doing. The school does a good job taking thoughts and making them visual. The staff also really help children dive deep into subjects that the kids themselves ask about. I also attended many of the parent workshops such as how to teach math, and how to teach reading, and how to build grit, amongst many others, because I wanted to learn more about how to teach too. I think the kids do well at MGP not because they are particularly smart but rather because the parents are also eager to continue to learn, and the school provides us with the various tools to fill our toolbox. In the spirit of sharing my son’s scores were 99% reading, 99% math, and 154 Gifted, tier 2, accepted first round to our top choice which was Bell Gifted.

    • #11458 Reply

      @sky sounds like a wonderful environment! Very different then what they suggested to the OP on how to “prep” for the test. Then again, it sounds like their advise is geared more towards prepping for classical test. How many classrooms and students? Do all students get accepted into SEES? Do most of the students go into classical or gifted?

      Also if you don’t mind providing feedback on Bell, that would be wonderful. I want to tour, and probably will rank it in one of the top spots on our application this fall.

    • #11463 Reply

      @bpmommy I thought that the learning environment at Montessori Gifted Prep was great bc the teaching method was very personalized. My son’s class had 20 kids and 3 teachers in a class, and the teachers knew the various learnings styles of each child very well. I’m not sure how many students get accepted into SEES but I do know that the majority of students at Montessori Gifted Prep receive a SEES offer every year. My child joined at the age of 2, and I know that the past 3 years since my son has been at  Montessori Gifted Prep, students consistently got into Edison, Skinner North, Decatur and Bell. I would say that the split is equally divided between Gifted and Classical. The school advises parents on how to rank the schools based on how the child performs at school. MGP truly follows the child, so that may be why the OP suggestion was different than how my child was “prepped”. They understood my child’s learning method, and taught to how he learns. I’ve seen them teach a variety of different ways to different kids, it all depends on the learning style of the child.

      I toured Bell in the Fall. They have a neighborhood, options (gifted), and hearing impaired class. It’s a very large school, which could be intimidating for some young kids, especially at drop-off and pickup. They have a nice science lab room, and a nice playground, which is shared by all in the building. My only reservation would be to reconsider Bell if your child gets intimated by the rather large capacity. The positive news from it being so big is the school has funds from the attending parents to get the nicest equipment for the kids.

    • #11464 Reply

      @sky do they have just one classroom of 3-5 year olds?

    • #11465 Reply

      Montessori Gifted Prep used to have one toddler class of 2 year olds, and one primary class of 3-5 year olds. Ever since I’ve been at the school (last 3 years), those two classes have been full. From what I understand, to satisfy the waitlist,  the Head of School’s plan was to expand onsite so he bought the building in Feb 2020, just before Covid hit. He built a beautiful indoor playground and a nice outdoor fenced-in playground onsite, and reopened in June with the plan to grow from 2 classrooms to eventually expand to 7 classrooms, so I believe that they have spaces available since they are growing.

    • #11466 Reply

      A little off topic, but does anyone know of double digit math is on the classical test?

    • #11467 Reply

      I’m not sure what was tested, but my son was able to add any two digit number up to +9 (ex: 12+1, 12+2,…12+8, 12+9) and could add any two or three, single digit numbers to yield a double digit answer (ex: 3+7+6). My son does this quickly in his head without using fingers. However I think what they are looking for is the ability to add two single digits to yield a double digit, quickly. He was not adding two double digits (ex: 12+15) but he scored 99% in math.

    • #11468 Reply

      @sky why quickly? Is there a time limit to each question? Also, how old was he when he took the test?

    • #11470 Reply

      I think answering quick is relatively important bc the more questions the child can answer correctly, the higher the score. I don’t think the longer a child sits in the exam indicates how well the child did. It just shows that the child took a long time answering questions. My son was 4 years and 4 months old when he took the test and he was in and out of the test in less than 25 minutes.

    • #11471 Reply

      Thanks! Age matters as they are expected to answer harder questions if they are older I believe. I wonder how much harder!

    • #11584 Reply

      I reached out to the head of montessori gifted prep, a super helpful individual with the unbeatable name of <span>JC Mountainbear, and I learned a lot from him. We are committed for the year (and they don’t offer their prep on an after school basis alone) but under different circumstances would have considered it v seriously FWIW.

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