The preschool application process in many major metropolitan cities is comparable to getting into college. Sometimes dubbed the brat race, it doesn’t get more competitive than what goes on in New York City, where some believe that getting into the right nursery school will put their tots on the Ivy League path.

In his new documentary, Nursery University, which hit screens last week, Marc Simon and Matt Makar take an in-depth, satirical and oftentimes sympathetic look at a process that lead to the downfall of one Wall Street’s biggest titans and has parents competing to spend more than $15,000 a year on their two-year-old’s education. The film follows five families as they take the journey – from identifying the right schools, obtaining applications, the child’s interviews and finally their receipt of acceptance letters. Along the way, we meet two preschool directors who scoff at the myths about the process, as well as a “preschool consultant” who charges $4,000 to help families navigate the system.

To see why the film had me both laughing and feeling sorry for the families, and see a trailer,


While some of the profiled families perfectly mirror the caricatures they are modeled after – the family that spends time practicing greetings with their daughter, the clan that claims even a celebrity like Kate Winslet can’t get their daughter into a school and a couple that debates whether saying Spanish is their first language will give their child an advantage – others go through the process in an attempt to truly give their lil ones a better start than they had.

A friend who went through the Manhattan preschool process said the film accurately portrays the frantic pace at which NYC families approach wee education. If you want an inside look at the craziness some parents go through for their offspring, seek out this film, and then go home and thank your lucky stars that you don't have to participate.