Monday, June 11, 2012

And the School hunt begins

There'll be many posts on this very topic and since this is my first, let me first give a brief on what things I'm looking for in a Pre-school for Z.
  1. Location- I would love if the school is walking distance from our apartment. Now that's an added advantage and not something I'll rule out a school on. Even if I have to take a short auto ride to reach the school, its going to be good for me. When she'll go to big school, I can send her a little far, but not in case of Pre-Schools.
  2. I'm looking for a Montessori school. I totally am in for Montessori, I don't believe that schools which load kids with a lot of 'knowledge' work for us/Z. In a Montessori set up, each child learns at their pace, and per me they'll enjoy the whole experience of learning.
  3. I'm not a huge fan of Franchise based schools which open up in every single nook and corner. For me these schools are nothing but Money Making machines. Similarly brand names don't impress me, the school should appeal to me when I visit it and not it's full page colored advertisements in the newspaper. And more than me, Z should feel free in the environment.
  4. The teachers and management should know what they are doing and should be bloody good at it. I'm extremely particular about language development. I'd want the teachers to communicate properly and they should be good with kids. The school should focus on extra-curricular besides just studies.
  5. The school shouldn't be very fancy. Be it Infrastructure or people. I would be at ease if Z attends a school which is grounded.
  6. A good Student - Teacher ratio for sure is important, especially in Pre-Schools
  7. I remember in my school La Martiniere we didn't carry any books to school all our books were locked in our classroom. We didn't have any exams just assessments (those didn't happen every week either). We did not get any homework. This was followed till standard IV. This resulted in lighter bags and less burden on us and our parents. We were encouraged to participate in Extra-Curricular activity and SUPW. I have grown up as an above average student, but someone who loved participating in Dramatics, Debates, Creative Writing, Dance and the works. I want a similar environment for Z. I don't want Z to miss out on all the fun things one can do in schools.
I don't know if the list is huge (I don't think so.) I know getting admissions is tough (especially in big schools). Still, I wouldn't want to compromise a lot. If it means a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights so be it. After one's house, school is the 2nd most important place for a child and I'd definitely not want to compromise on that.

What's your take?

7 comments:

  1. Hey...when are you planning to send Zoe to play-school? I am asking this coz yesterday met with a mom of 2 year old who said she is sending her dot since she was 19 months old...and even i was amazed with that kid's vocabulary..

    She also mentioned that they face less separation anxiety and start liking their pay schools if sent earlier..

    However, I am confused....what I knew playschool age is 2, right?? what do you say?

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  2. A Montessori generally takes kids at 2.4-2.6 years not before that and they have year round admission. So I'd like Z to go at 2.4... around March-April next year

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  3. As far as I know the admission cycle in most of the play as well as big school in b'lore starts from June. We passingly enquired for this June in the play school that we have selected for Shreya and the reply was she is too small for this batch (20 mon old as of June 2012). The same school starts another batch from Sept onwards and we may opt for that batch or probably next year June's batch (my preference is this). My personal take is to go lill easy and let them enjoy the time at home as long as they can before the rat-race begins.

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    1. Totally. I have 3 schools in mind, they won't take before Z is 2.4 years and that's what we'd like. Thankfully two of these schools have year round admissions and they take babies based on the age. In Montessori ideally kids are taken at 2.4 not below that and I think next Mar-April is when Z gets admitted and joins school when it re-opens in June.

      Headstart calls itself a Montessori but has a young years prog starting at 15 months. So that's out of my list.

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  4. Falak, my daughter is 2yrs 3m now and we are in USA, returning to blore in August, she would be 2.5 then. I'm also very keen on montessori as i've seen my nephew and niece study in NPS montessori and it has done them a lot of good. Montessori has enabled them to take their own decisions, both are very imaginative and they are extremely confident. I've read some books on the montessori method and i'm totally in. I stay in HSR layout in blore, so i'm looking for schools (preferrably established schools which have montessori till 10th grade), and hence my craze for NPS. I know admissions are tough there, but i will give it a try. Infact the very reason we are returning around August is i'm expecting the forms to be out in October, so want to be in blore by then. Going through the comments in FB, i came across Gear, but unfortunately they start early and i think my daughter has crossed the age, but i will be sending them a mail to find out if there is any chance. Don't know if there are other schools which have montessori and also grades till 10. The reason is i wanted to avoid the interviews if i put her in a montessori exclusive school and later change to big school for grade 1. Some ppl expressed views that NPS is a study centric school, but i beg to differ. It's individual opinion and hence i didn't comment much in FB, but going through your blog i thought of sharing you some points. Like your childhood school, even in NPS, there is hardly any homework given till a certain grade, infact my nephew n niece were here for summer vacation and they didn't have any homework. Secondly, it's not just study centric there are a lot of other activities like yoga, computers, karate, etc which kids will have to pick in each grade, my nephew who is in 2nd grade this year was asked to pick an activity. I'm sure there is many more, and his mom is all praise for the school (she is very knowledgable in the field of education). I'm not trying to sell NPS :) just informing you that there are good reviews as well, no doubt it's a fantastic school where kids are encouraged to perform well not only in studies but other activities as well, and i feel when kids are in an environment like that they are motivated to do better. Even i saw a lot of reviews about academic pressure in NPS on the net, but i will still look at it objectively. I didnt find many review talking about the points i mentioned, so not everything good is there on the net. Plus its near to our house and fits my criteria. Getting admission is next to impossible, but will just try. Heard they have started a new section of montessori from this year, meaning more seats will be available. I'm keeping DPS as a last resort, only big drawback being it doesn't have a montessori :( but heard they give preference to parents who are DPS alumni and i'm banking on it. Really like the points you mentioned, the decision we take is paramount to the kid's future as the primary school plays a very significant role in how they turn out as an individual. We are going in the right track weighting in so many points before deciding on the school, i just hope we all get admission in a school of our choice :) Good luck for that :) - Pavana

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    1. Hey Pavana,
      So good to hear from you and a big welcome to my blog. Thanks for the details you've mention (as you can see from my post, I'm totally clueless right now).
      I will sure give NPS a try, Z will turn 2 in November this year. Are you aware if they have year round admissions (like it happens in other Montessori schools)
      The admissions in Gear happen before the child turns 2 but you can still check if seats are available.
      And thanks once again for sharing your personal experience with NPS. I'd sure keep these points in mind.
      When people say admissions are tough, my answer always is 'let's try'. At least we won't regret later.
      Let's hope for the best.

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  5. Thanks Falak. About NPS, they take kids who are 3 years old, admissions happen before the academic year starts on June. Forms come out sometime in October previous year. It's not year round admission. I did send a mail out to Gear to check availability, lets see what happens. Otherwise, i will start my hunt when i'm back in blr in 2 months. Also wanted to check on Neev, don't know where the branches are. I'll have a better idea when i'm back. - Cheers, Pavana

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