One of the most important decisions that a parent makes in the early years of the child is regarding the school where the child would learn essential skills to lead a successful life. The shrinking fabric of our society has made parents look at nursery schools, not only as a provider of learning but also as an essential support system in a child’s life. A lot of time and effort is spent by parents while taking this important decision reading nursery school admission.
In big Indian cities of Gurgaon, Pune, and Bangalore there are a plethora of schools that have come up in the past couple of years. These schools offer great infrastructure and talk about fancy educational philosophies. This leaves young parents confused while taking decisions about school admission. Many times parents struggle to make a decision.
While shortlisting the schools during the nursery school admission process I would request parents to consider the following factors. Ask the given questions so that this important decision of school admission turns out to be just right for you and your child.
Question 1: What kind of school would be feasible for me and my child?
The answer to the above question would enable you to draw out initial list of schools for consideration. Factors to consider could be
- School timings – If you are working this might be very important.
- Location – Any schools involving more than 20 minutes of commute should be considered with qualification.
- Fee Structure – Will it comfortably fit my pocket? Please note schools normally undertake a 7-10% fee hike year on year so plan accordingly
- Infrastructure – Does the school have the basic essential infrastructure to provide a conducive, comfortable and safe learning environment as per my sensibility For e.g Ground for sports, amphitheatre, enough light and air, safety essentials like fire exit and entry and police verified staff, adequate classroom size, airconditioning etc.
Answer to above questions should give you the first list of shortlisted schools. To further narrow it lets look at following questions
Question 2: What is the Education philosophy adopted by the school?
In simple language how does the school intend imparting any knowledge to the child? What will be the role of teacher ? For e.g If a child has to be taught 3+3 is 6. There are many ways of doing it. The traditional method would be through copy and pencil. It can also be taught through a story or through an experiment in the class. A lot is written about school education philosophy on the school website and the brochure. However, as a parent, you need to figure out if the school has the required hard (infrastructure) and soft (experienced teachers) resources to execute that philosophy.
It would make a lot of sense for a parent to invest time in understanding the teaching methodology of the school. This could be done through conversation with existing parents and teachers. Their knowledge and belief in philosophy would give you an idea of effective execution of the same.
In case you are comfortable with the school education philosophy, you could proceed further
Question 3: What will be taught to my child? Is the school-oriented towards building essential life skills in my child?
New Education Policy 2020 speaks about 360-degree assessment of the child Is the school-oriented towards building such skills in your child? We all know that in future times essential skills like leadership, team building, emotional quotient, being innovative etc are going to be big differentiators for success. You need to figure out how these aspects are ingrained in the teaching principles of the school . How will your 3yr or 4 yr be encouraged to be creative? What all techniques will be adopted to make your child emotionally stable and expressive?
Question 4: What is the Quality of teachers?
How much time/money does school invest in teacher training and development? This could be an important question to ask during the school tour. The best of education philosophies will turn out to be worthless if teachers are not oriented and trained towards executing the same.
The teacher attrition rate is also an important parameter to enquire about. Frequent change of teachers can lead to a gap in the learning of your child. A dialogue with the existing school teacher on the education philosophy and the gaps therein can give you an idea.
The commitment of school top management towards the growth of quality education in school needs to be assessed. This can be done through a recce on the latest initiatives and enhancements undertaken by the school in the sphere of teaching methodology and school infrastructure. If methodology/process/facility has been the same over the past couple of years, then it can point towards a laid back commitment of school top management towards the growth of quality education in school.
Question 5: Is the school receptive to feedback/suggestions and complaints from parents?
It is very probable that once you become part of a particular school you have a situation where you are not in agreement with certain aspects of teaching or school administration. In such situations would the school give an ear to your concern?
To understand the attitude of school management towards feedback and complaint, we can have a conversation with the front desk staff of the school. If they are warm, cordial, and receptive to your concerns, you can safely conclude that in 99% of cases your complaints/suggestions in the future would be entertained too. In most schools, the front desk works in close coordination with the school principal’s office, and the culture/attitude of top management can be safely assessed from the attitude of front desk staff.
Question 6: What is the school policy towards handling learning,emotional and discipline issues with the child?
If your child is a great performer then the school would in all probability be supportive of the child. Real issues come up when the child is having difficulty coping up with learning, emotional, and discipline aspects. What is the school policy towards such children? If it is reformative, then what strategies would they adopt to deal with such children? Do they have enough expertise to handle such situations?
Question 7: What is the feedback coming from existing school parent group?
In most of the cases existing school parents would be appreciative of the school, however, do ask them about areas of the school that need to improve upon. If the answer to this question includes aspects that are very important for you, then reconsider that school. Let’s say if an existing parent says that the school is very good but does not give enough exposure to dance and music, then the school should be reconsidered if your family culture gives value to these activities in the education of your child.
As outlined in earlier points discussion with the existing parent on teaching methodology should be undertaken in detail.
An answer to above questions should enable you to list out about 5-6 schools where you should apply. In case your child does not get thrugh any of the schools in the preffered list, it makes a lot of sense to carry on in the playschool where you child is presently enrolled and try again next year or in class 1 when most of the K12 schools go for capacity expansion of the batch. Hope you find this article helpful. Do share with your friends who might be sailing in the same boat.
Happy Parenting! God Bless!
PS: In case you have any queries regarding age criterion/ fee structure/or feedback on any particular school across the city of Gurgaon (only) do mention in the comment section. I will try and help you out as much possible