Seven pre-k students are sitting and drumming in music class

Boston Area Lower School Virtual Evaluation (BAVE)

Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten Applicants for Academic Year 2024-2025

Thank you for your interest in our school and for pursuing an application with us. As always, it’s important for us to know as much as possible about your child as a learner, a family member, and a friend in determining their readiness for our program. And because our youngest applicants do not typically come with grades or report cards, our first-hand observations and evaluations are invaluable.

Boston Area lower schools have collaborated to create an assessment plan based on parent/guardian video recordings of children responding to different prompts/tasks. We hope that our decision to accept one common set of short videos will reduce your time commitment, increase access and equity, and save your child from participating in multiple and potentially repetitive activities. 

Each school to which you apply may also, in addition to viewing the videos, request to meet your child in person or for a brief Zoom call.  

Participating Schools (as of August 2023):

Belmont Day School, Brimmer and May School, British International School of Boston, Buckingham Browne and Nichols School, Charles River School, Dedham Country Day School, Derby Academy, Fayerweather Street School, Glen Urquhart School, International School of Boston, Kingsley Montessori School, Park Street School, Shady Hill School, Tenacre Country Day School, The Advent School, The Chestnut Hill School, The Fessenden School, The Learning Project, The Park School, The Pike School. 

Guidelines and Suggestions:

Our goal is to appreciate a casual, authentic snapshot of your child – not a rehearsed performance. As you plan for these video experiences, please keep the following in mind:

  • There is absolutely no preparation required of your child prior to engaging in these activities. In fact, we discourage you from trying to prep them in advance.
  • You are welcome to record these videos in your home, outside, at a family member’s house, or wherever you and your child are most comfortable. 
  • Simple is best; the ease with which you approach this will set the tone for your child.
  • The videos do not have to be recorded in a single sitting; they may be recorded in separate sessions, should this be ideal for your child.
  • These videos, while important, represent only part of your child’s application – no one piece will determine our admission decisions.
  • There is no such thing as perfect; we are observing many things in asking your child to attend to these tasks. These exercises are designed for a wide range of applicants; students of different ages will engage differently.
  • We understand every child achieves different levels of development at different times; we do not base our decisions on any one stage or skill. These videos are a chance for us to “meet” your child and their approach to learning moments they may encounter at our school. 
  • Trust the process!

Video Instructions:

Taking videos of your child doing the tasks listed below will help us develop a better understanding of your child. For beginners/pre-k applicants, there are four areas of focus, and for kindergarten applicants, there are five areas of focus. You will make a separate video for each area of focus. Please do not send videos of your child engaged in activities that are not on this list. The total process will take approximately 20 minutes or less.

We recommend reading through the activities in advance and gathering what you will need before starting the recordings with your child so that things flow smoothly. Our goal is to make the video recording process as simple and easy as possible for the adult and child, so we ask that you keep the following in mind: 

  • Please use a phone or tablet in landscape (horizontal) mode to make the recordings. 
  • Please don’t bother with rehearsals and retakes. We understand that you will probably make errors as you read directions and record. Unless the errors interfere with our ability to view your child, just keep recording. We want to meet children as they are. 
  • The child does not need to be dressed up – even pajamas are okay! However, children need to be clothed. Stop recording in between activities. Each activity should be its own video. 
  • When the child is drawing or writing, please be sure the video includes a focus on the child’s face, hands, and paper. 
  • Please do not worry about whether your child responds “correctly” to each of the activities.  Schools are more interested in observing how your child responds when faced with novel, in-the-moment tasks. Do not practice, prep, or re-record what you perceive to be better responses, as this can create undue stress.

Getting Started:

Before you begin, read through all of the directions, and find a place to record with minimal distractions and background noise. Please have your child sit in a fixed chair rather than a chair that can spin or rock. 

  • Although it may feel awkward at first, use only the words provided on the script and refrain from prompting your child.
  • Each activity should be recorded as a separate video. Save each video and title them accordingly: “Child Last Name_Child First Name_Video Number,” depending on which activity you have recorded. Ex: “Garcia_Travis_1”

Supplies you will need:

  • A few sheets of blank paper
  • A pencil
  • An object that your child is excited to talk about (a photo of your family, a favorite stuffed animal, a favorite book, etc.)
  • A collection of 15 small similar objects (such as 15 pennies, 15 rocks, 15 blocks, or 15 crayons)
  • A flat surface (such as a table, counter, or desk) where your child can comfortably perform writing tasks 
  • A printout of the “shapes” page. If you do not have access to a printer, please contact any of the schools you are applying to, and they will mail you a hard copy of these instructions and the shapes sheet.
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