I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was in Grade 5. I would make all my cousins sit as students, wrap my mother’s dupatta as a saree and play the role of my favourite teacher in school then. I completed my education and acquired a post graduation degree in the field of education. After completing my internship and teaching in two street schools ( which have been the most significant learning experiences of my life till to-day), I got a job in the institute I dreamt of working with. I loved being a mom to my kids in school. So yes I did experience motherhood before I had a baby of my own. Each day was a party. We’d scribble on paper and play hopscotch to learn Math, we’d sing songs and hear stories, perform live experiments and spend time in an open classroom. There was never a dull moment in class.
So as they say, life moves on and has its own plans. I quit my job to get married, shifted base and had a baby soon after. Now being a teacher, early childhood education was an absolute essential aid that I wanted to give to my baby.
Just as we doing all our fun stuff at home, the time had arrived to look for a school for my son. I did not want to start formal school to be able to teach him the alphabet or numbers but to help him develop socially and to weave a path towards independence.
When my son was about to turn two, I began scrutinising different schools to decide whether it would make a perfect institution for my child.
Education is not a privilege but a necessity and I am adamant, I want to give the best to my son on this front.
I visited different playschools and browsed through their websites, asked other moms I know for their recommendations, posted queries in communities that I am a part of, read online reviews, thought deeply of what I really wanted the school to be like and finally had a picture of what I was looking for. I had a mental checklist ready to analyse if a particular school fits in.
In this post I have listed down points that have been crucial criteria for choosing a school for my son. He is now 2 years four months and has been going to a school for almost six months. I am extremely satisfied with the philosophy and the patterns followed by the school
It is necessary that the play School is located in the vicinity of our home. This would allow us to spend less time traveling. Also in case of an emergency being able to get to my child at the earliest is of utmost importance.
#2 Word Of Mouth
A mom recommends only the best to another mom. It is very important to consider what moms of kids studying in that school have to say about it. In the tech savvy world of Today, you can simply ask for reviews on Facebook groups and whatsapp communities.
#3 Curriculum and structure
different schools have different teaching philosophies. A few are developmental centric the others focus on academics. For me a school that follows Montessori activities and believes in learning by doing would be a preferred choice. (Do ask for the daily activities structure or curriculum when you visit a school for admission)
#4 Hygiene and cleanliness-
Schools are playrooms for kids and are expected to be messy. However, the conditions of the washrooms and kitchen of the school will give you a clear idea about whether the basic hygiene standards are followed by the school or not. I would also assess whether the caretakers are keeping the kids clean and dry.
#5 Teacher to student Ratio
the ratio. Should not exceed 1:10
#6 The food served
The first question is would you want the school to provide food or would you want to send food from home. If the food is served in school, what is the quality and taste like. At my son’s school, a mom sends home cooked food for the entire class. That way a child eats home cooked food and gets an opportunity to try different dishes and styles.
#7 Disciplinary policy
I have given my one hundred percent to keep myself calm and discipline my child in a subtle manner. It is of great significance for me to check if the school follows the same kind of discipline. Corporal punishments and threats are a definite NO.
So when you visit a prospective school, I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
– How do you feel when you walk around the school?
– Do the adults and children appear playful?
– How is the overall ambience ? What is your gut feeling about the aura of the institute?
– Does the place excite you? Visualise your child in that place.
– How does the physical state of the school appear to be? Is it well maintained and clean ?
– Is it colourful and bright ?
– Are there big clean windows that allow enough sunlight to come in ?
– Does the school have a playground? If yes, is it well maintained? If not, where does the school plan to take children for outdoor activities?
– Are there enough greens around the school?
– Are the classrooms well equipped with toys and activity materials?
– Do the teachers make use of modern technology like computers and projectors and other e- teaching aids?
– can you hear music, view art work, craft cut outs, numbers, words and creativity in the surroundings?
– Is there a sense of openness and freedom?
– Do you feel a sense of positivity and upbeat when you speak with the teachers of the school?
The more you answer yes the more right you will feel about your decision of choosing the school.
The time has now arrived for the little babies to pull out their wings and fly up high. Encourage them, Excite them and let them Explore!
PS – My little boy took three long months to settle in the school environment. Each child is different and will react differently to this major transition. Read about how may Baby and I settled in school here.