Choosing a preschool is no longer an easy task as before. With early education gaining importance and research studies proving that preschool plays a very important part in a child’s social and academic life. Nowadays, choosing a good preschool has become equivalent to selecting a business school. With so many curriculums, facilities, brands available, it becomes really difficult to choose a school that will be a right fit for you and your child.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
India has foreseen growth in the number of preschools being opened in the most of major cities. There are chains of preschools with big brands, mainstream schools offering preschool education and individual schools or local schools. There are tall promises galore from all these schools, which makes the task of parents more critical. One right decision could put your child on the path to lifelong learning and happy start to education.
In India, there are no quality standards or policy in place for ensuring the sound foundation for early education or preschool education; this is why NexSchools has brought together some crucial factors and some tips for choosing the right preschool in India:
Meet overall development: You must observe in preschool that child is encouraged to learn in fun environment, besides literacy and numeracy skills, a child must learn early social, cognitive and value-based education.
Relationship between teacher and student: Connection with teacher and child is much more important than any philosophy or curriculum. Have a conversation with the prospective teacher about her current classroom. She should be able to tell about her students’ strengths and weakness, interests, emotional and academic achievements. She should spell about her teaching methodologies and do not hesitate to ask her qualifications.
Preschool is not all about a name: Just the name with swanky infrastructure doesn’t mean that the school is a success. There is no uniform quality standard in preschools particularly in India, so do your homework right rather than swayed by brand preschool; you may find a great preschool in independent local preschool next street with much lower cost.
Founder or principal matter: It is always a good idea to know about the founder members or principal of the preschool, as they can elevate the level of education by incorporating the mix of moral values and their personal passion towards education. You should ask them how they evaluate teachers and what do they want to see a child to be when he/she graduates from this preschool.
Ask questions: Ask questions from the administrators and then teachers to dig a little deep into the reality of goals and philosophies listed in brochure’s to ground realities.
Library is the key: Do take time to peek in the library of the preschools besides other learning aids and materials. Words, matter a lot in early years so preschools and kindergarten must focus on building blocks for reading before writing skills. Although in Indian preschools, the scenario is other way round which leads to reading difficulty at primary school.
Know the reviews: You may need to know the in out of preschool from other parents or from our review feature. The online reviews are particularly useful for parents who are new in the town.
A Parent is also asking: How about the quality of homework or assignments given to do at home? Isn’t it time to weigh the quality of assignments given by schools to complete at home?
Distance of the preschool: Try and look out for preschools which are not more than 30 minutes travel from your house as it will be very tough for a 3-year-old to travel more than that on daily basis plus it will be convenient for you to rush to the school in case of any emergency.
Fees: There are schools whose annual fees range from 30K to one lac. Look for a preschool that fits your budget. Enquire about any hidden charges, there are schools which keep on collecting funds on every festival and occasion.
Transportation: See the transportation facility and how safe is it. Is there any responsible school person with the children who can take care of them?
Curriculum: Look for the curriculum that school follows. Some may have their home built curriculum and some may follow a philosophy such as-Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf, Play based etc.
Infrastructure: Check if the classrooms and play area are well lit, spacious and ventilated.
Hygiene: How clean are the bathrooms, are there any dustbins which are easily reachable by children. Are toilets kid-friendly?
Food: How clean is the kitchen and food preparation? What kind of food is served to the children? Is it nutritious or junk?
Play material: Are the toys developmentally age appropriate? Are the toys cleaned regularly?
Policies: What are the policies of the school related to child care, safety and parent’s involvement?
Staff: How educated are the teachers? Are they trained and experienced?
Security of the school: Has there been a police verification of the nannies or housekeeping maids done? Are there any trained guards who are monitoring the main gate
Interaction: See how teachers and nannies interact with the children. Observe if kids really like being in that place.
Teacher-Child ratio: How many kids are there in a classroom with the number of teachers.
Timing of the preschool: Some preschools have morning as well as mid-day batches. If your child is a late riser, you may want to select the mid-day batch for him/her
Whatever preschool you choose, it is important to visit the school personally and observe things so that you know that your child will be comfortable and safe in that environment.