Once your child crosses that 2 year mark, most parents start thinking about schooling of the child. And why not! It is one of most important decisions that you will make for your child that will affect not just the next few years of her life but her whole life.
You know how strongly I feel about schools being kid-friendly, since I myself have had a not so good experience. Do read the below article if you haven’t already to see how we figured out it was not the right school for my daughter.
How I knew my daughter’s school was not right for her
Age criterion for admission of school
When you visit a number of schools you will find that different schools allow admission of kids at different ages. For example, for a kid to take admission in Nursery, some schools allow as early as 2.5 years while some do not allow anyone less than 2.10 years at the beginning of June. So, do check out the how it works in the school of your interest.
Fee and other charges
Check out the tuition fee and other fee like admission fee, transport fee etc. that the school charges.
Check if the fee needs to be paid in instalments or in one shot.
Check if there are any sibling discounts that the school provides.
Infrastructure of school
Check out the infrastructure of the school, playgrounds, class rooms, sports facilities etc. See if all the facilities promised in the vouchers are there.
Ideally, the class rooms should allow plenty of natural light and should be roomy.
Check if the school provides after-school day care, if you are going to need it.
Check out the transport service of the school and what safety features are followed by the authorities.
Curriculum followed by the school
You must know which curriculum that school follows. There are many options in curriculum whether you child goes to pre-school or higher classes. In pre-primary level, you may find different methodologies like Montessori, Play-way, Rudolph Steiner etc. Take time to find out about them and see whether it will suit you and your child.
For primary and above, you may choose between CBSE, ICSE, IB curriculum. We were very clear that we wanted CBSE school for our child as according to us it is best suited for children in India.
Timing of the school
Do check out the timings at which the school operates and if it suits your child. Ask about the session start and end dates.
Strength of each class / Student-teacher ratio
This is another criterion which you should check when visiting/ looking for a school. You want the strength of a class to be comfortable such that you child will get enough attention as well as opportunities to develop and shine.
Find out the core values of the school
This is perhaps the most important to understand and might be difficult to gauge from a superficial visit, but it is important to try and find out what the school stands for and if they have a philosophy or is the school just another way to make money for the owners. When we chose our daughter’s school, we spoke to the founders as well as parents and felt that the authorities felt about children’s education and all-round development passionately.
We wanted a school which did not just stress on academics, but focussed on the all-round development of children.
I recently had the good fortune of interacting with
Ms. Shyamasree Chatterjee, who is the head mistress of School of India. Her thoughts on educating children resonated with me completely. She believes that every child should be given ample opportunities in both academics as well as sports, music, dance and other activities. She believes in providing an environment to children where they have to work as a team and learn basic life skills like team work and accepting others as they are.
According to her,
“School of India is a happy school. My first and foremost objective is to ensure that every child comes to school happy. A happy child learns better, learns faster. This happiness is ensured y giving a lot of freedom of thought, expression, words and action within the boundaries drawn by the teacher. The teachers take classes like Science, Maths, English, Geography out in the open while maintaining discipline and ensuring they don’t disturb other classes.”
Get the feedback from other parents
Don’t forget to ask the parents whose children are already studying in that school for their opinion. You may do this in person or engage with the parents over internet.
Visit the school and see for yourself
This is of utmost importance. Do take a tour of the school and see how it functions. For this take a prior appointment with the school as you do not want to disturb the regular functioning of school.
Here are a few questions that you must try and answer when you visit the school:
Are the classrooms airy and do they have enough natural light?
Check out how the outside play areas are.
How is the student-teacher interaction?
Above all, do the students in school appear happy.
What else is on your list when you go through this crucial process of finalising the school for your child?