By Captain Unni Krishnan,
Today choosing a school is like choosing a car or a house, very subjective. There is no right or wrong choice. Before you decide how to choose a pre school it is important to understand this segment of education.
Formal education starts at the age of 6. The segment of the school system that
addresses students less than 6 years of age is called the pre-school. The formal process of physically going to school starts at an age around 2 years 9 months upwards.
Kindergarten years are an important time in a child’s total development. Early childhood educators, families and members of the community should work together to provide challenging and engaging learning experiences that will build a child’s confidence, encourage them to continue to see learning as both enjoyable and useful, and provide a strong foundation for their future intellectual, physical, and social development.
Teachers in Kindergarten program must plan whole-class instruction, small-group learning, independent learning, and activities in their environment.
There should also be a balance between teacher-initiated and child-initiated activities – times when the teacher guides the children’s learning and times when children are given opportunities to choose activities to demonstrate their knowledge.
In addition to focusing on developing IQ and EQ, learning activities must develop Social quotient in children. The Pre School education has 2 well-known systems of delivery the Kindergarten and the Montessori. Kindergarten is a drop down from the conventional system, has a larger leaning towards reading and writing and hence is followed in most regular schools. Montessori is learning by doing method and followed in specialist pre schools.
As there is a re orientation in the education system, some regular schools run both KG and Montessori streams.
- In the KG program while the child must learn to read and write but if the focus is only that, we will miss out a great opportunity to develop young minds.
- Choose the school, which will suit the development of the child emotionally.
- Do not worry about how many poems the child has learnt in KG but see how many friends the child has.
- Gross motor skills; fine motor skills, language skills and number recognitions; all schools do this and all children will learn.
- Look for a school where your child will enjoy and will like to go.
- See if the child is learning to share what it has? Is the child learning to appreciate its friend’s achievements?
Let Air condition bus, hot food etc. not be the criteria to select a school.
- Open play spaces, clean toilets, pleasant staff, are important.
- It is not the qualification and the accent of the teacher that matters but the concern and care that the teacher has that will make the difference.
- More than the latest topics, values and morals are important.
- Above all, it is not enough to choose to a good school but is necessary to partner the school.
- This does not mean you have to spend time in school monitoring the teachers, have trust in the teacher’s ability as a professional.
- The child must not get the impression that the school and parents are on opposite sides. They will play one against the other.
- You can get the best for your child if both are on the same side. Otherwise it will be a blame game.
Quality time spent by parents with a young child must not be limited to intellectual development but at very young ages,
- A larger amount of time must be spent on social, moral and emotional development-
- Parents must discuss socially relevant matters, appreciation of peers, other children, sharing etc. these will show affect on the young ones.
- Today around the world and especially in our country, social awareness is very limited.
- With nuclear families, children are growing up without concern for others.
- Language used at home with house help, support staff etc. makes a large impact on children.
- To expect children not to be exposed to foul language is impractical because it is all around but make them realize that it is unacceptable and must be avoided is essential.
Choosing a school is a very subjective decision and each individual can have different priorities. The best way is to create a list of expectations and prioritize each of them and then give scores each school you visit. Total up all of them before you make your choice.
Questions to ask while selecting a school
- Does it follow KG / Montessori or mix?
- Is it a part of a chain of schools or a stand alone?
- How far is the school from my house (Travel and time involved)?
- Do I need school and day Care at one place or can they at different places?
- Would I want my child to continue in same school from KG to Grade-12 or do I want a specialist KG school?
- How much of emphasis on personal care?
- What is the peer group like at school?
- How approachable is the management?
- How affordable is it?
Rate these on a scale of 1 to 5 or 10 and then make your decision. Anyways this is not a irreversible reaction you can always change the school if things are going out of hand but remember a school is a community and you will never achieve 100% satisfaction anything between 60 to 70 % is great.
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About the Author:
Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.
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