By Jose Martinez

March 15, 2011 - A Manhattan mom is suing a pricey preschool for dumping her “very smart” 4-year-old with tykes half her age and boring her with lessons about shapes and colors.

In court papers, Nicole Imprescia suggests York Avenue Preschool jeopardized little Lucia’s chances of getting into an elite private school or, one day, the Ivy League.

She’s demanding a refund of the $19,000 tuition and class-action status for other toddlers who weren’t properly prepped for the standardized test that can mean the difference between Dalton and - gasp! - public school.

“This is about a theft where a business advertises as one thing and is actually another,” said Mathew Paulose, a lawyer for the outraged mom.

“They’re nabbing $19,000 and making a run for it.”

Impressed by the school’s pledge to ready its young students for the ERB - a test used for admission at top private schools - Imprescia enrolled her daughter at York in 2009.

A month into this school year, she transferred the child out of the Upper East Side center because she was forced to slum with 2-year-olds.

“Indeed, the school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom,” the suit says.

The court papers implied the school could have damaged Lucia’s chances of getting into a top college, citing an article that identifies preschools as the first step to “the Ivy League.”

Fortunately, Imprescia’s lawyer said, the tot’s prospects aren’t doomed.

“Lucia Imprescia, for the record, will get into an Ivy League school - York Avenue Preschool notwithstanding,” said Paulose, of the firm Koehler & Isaacs.

“The child is very smart and will do well in life.”

York’s owner, Michael Branciforte, declined comment on the suit, but his lawyer said the school has a “great reputation, which is richly deserved.”

“They’ve never had a problem like this and they only hope the child has found a school that better suits her needs,” lawyer William Wachtel said.

On its website, York touts its music and physical education programs, weekly library trips, and French classes for four-year-olds.

The York Avenue Preschool Curriculum is designed for the specific age group: “Twos, Threes or Fours,” the site boasts.

Imprescia called that a “complete fraud.”

“They put a bunch of kids of different ages together and gave her some excuse about construction,” Paulose said.

At the York Ave. campus, where many kids were being picked up by nannies pushing luxury strollers, parents were wary of speaking with a reporter yesterday, saying it could endanger their kids’ slots.

But the mother of one 3-year said she’s had nothing but good experiences.

“She’s been happy. We’ve been happy," the mom said.