You’ve baby-proofed your apartment, met with the car seat consultant, created a custom color for the nursery, and scheduled your post-pregnancy Pilates sessions. In other words, you’re ready for your baby. But is your baby ready for the world? Specifically the high stakes world of pre-school admissions in New York City? Fret not—Alex Sterling and Sophie Hemford have you covered with their prenatal tutoring service, Expecting the Best.
Harvard graduates Sterling and Hemford started the business as a side project to help friends who were navigating the cutthroat and life-defining process of getting their children into the best preschools in Manhattan. Hemford says, “It began with tutoring our friends’ toddlers in hopes of giving them that something extra the top schools look for, but we quickly realized our time would be better spent laying the groundwork before the kids were even born.”
Their client base grew to two hundred families in under a year and they now have a waiting list more than six months long. Some women have actually timed their pregnancies to coincide with an opening in the firm’s availability.
“If a child is serious about getting into the Ivy League, she needs to start learning in the womb. What we offer is the structured learning environment necessary to create a true advantage. First we teach the embryo a form of Morse code based on baby sign language so she can indicate if she’s understanding the information. After you give birth, your child will be able to use the code with other babies who have completed our program—an elite circle for life.”
“After the code tapping is established, the real work begins. Sessions cover math, reading, science, language acquisition, arts appreciation, and study skills.”
Sterling and Hemford urge parents to be wary of the copycats popping up all over the city. Says Hemford, “We are some of the few who’ve trained at the Ante-Infancy Intelligence Institute in Geneva—anything less than that is pure charlatanism.”
Because of demand, families can only meet with Expecting the Best consultants for a maximum of five hours per week. What can you do during those other precious hours when your child is desperate for instruction? Using Sterling and Hemford’s In Utero/In Stereo sound system, parents play carefully curated TED Talks selected to fit the interests you (and more importantly, elite pre-schools) want your baby to have, as well as other top-secret educational recordings.
When asked if they have any advice for future parents, Sterling responded, “If you’re going to raise your child in the city, you need to have a plan from day one—‘day one’ meaning the day you start thinking about having a baby. The right prenatal training can lead to the right play group, which leads to the best pre-school, the best elementary and intermediary schools, the best high school, and ultimately the best universities. We’re not so presumptuous to say that everyone needs our services, because that really depends on how much you care about your child’s education and future.”
Expecting the Best sessions start at $1,000 an hour. For more information, see expectingthebest.com.