New York mom sues elite preschool for being "one big playroom"

NEW YORK Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:33pm EDT

People cool off after sunset on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, July 27. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

People cool off after sunset on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, July 27.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Manhattan mother is suing her 4-year-old daughter's preschool, calling it "one big playroom" that deprived the child of the edge needed to get into an elite elementary school.

Caught up in New York City's "insanely competitive" nursery school scene, Nicole Imprescia said she paid $19,000 annual tuition to York Avenue Preschool and wants it back, according to her lawsuit, filed late on Friday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Her daughter, Lucia, was two years old when she was first enrolled in the posh Upper East Side neighborhood school.

Imprescia said she heard the school's sales pitch and was hooked by the promise it would help Lucia on her E.R.B, a standardized test used for admission to the city's most competitive public and private kindergartens.

But instead of prepping Lucia to nail the test by the time she was four, York Avenue "dumped" her with children as young as two who were learning about shapes and colors, the lawsuit said.

"Indeed, the school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom," said the lawsuit, which claims Imprescia was deceived and defrauded.

A toddler who takes the wrong first step could ultimately trip up his or her chances for acceptance into an Ivy League college and for earning a higher income, it said.

"There is tremendous pressure to choose the right preschool," it said.

The lawsuit was filed in the weeks after many elite elementary schools send out their acceptances and rejections.

An attorney for Imprescia, Mathew Paulose, Jr., said the child was pulled out of the pre-school in October 2010, close to the start of the school year and, therefore, the full tuition should be returned.

"It's a case of theft. They promised certain things but it turned out to be another thing," Paulose said.

An attorney for York Avenue Preschool was contacted but was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)

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