I still remember it was January and I was preparing for my daughter’s first birthday when I met a relative whose child was only two months apart in age from mine.
She was holding a handful of forms and when I asked, she told me that she was collecting and submitting pre-school forms for her daughter in almost all the top schools of the city. I was shocked to say the least and wondered,
“School? Already? But she is only 12 months old! Am I missing something? Isn’t it too early to be thinking (let alone applying for) school?”
I was very confused. With my mind racing, I came home and told my husband all about it and not to anyone’s surprise, I got a very cold response as he tried to convince me that it was just a trend and that we don’t have to be a part of it. He tried very hard to convince me but I wouldn’t budge. After all I was a keen FTM (first time mother) who couldn’t dream of her precious child lagging behind.
However, I felt completely clueless as to what to look for when hunting for a preschool and so like with all things nowadays, I turned to Granny Google, friends and family only to find out just how different the pre-school admission process has become since my time. I was shocked to learn that children now join play groups as early as 1.4 years and the admission process starts six months prior to the academic session!
So we finally started the school hunt and by God it was not an easy process for newbies like us! And I ‘m sure it must be equally baffling for most parents with their first child. So, I thought I’d share some things to look for when hunting for a pre-school:
Yes, the fee structure and academic expenses are important but don’t just make your decision on how economical a school is. Most parents balk at the fee charged these days by schools and rightly so, but trust me when I say that in most cases high-end fees comes with high-end learning. So try to be flexible if your pocket allows it of course, and consider it an investment in your child’s future rather than an expense. After all, this is the foundation on which your child’s entire academic future is based on.
Preschoolers are very young; many can’t communicate too well and aren’t even potty-trained. The closer the school is to your home, the better it is for your child’s well being and safety (and hence, your peace of mind).
Most schools allow you to take a tour when you register your child for admissions. When taking the tour consider everything from entering the schools till you exit – the school building, grounds, appearance, safety, cleanliness, staff courtesy, the enrollment process itself as well as the attitude and decorum of other parents who are also there for enrollment. Also try to observe the current students if possible to gauge how happy and settled they seem because you obviously don’t want a struggle with your toddler every morning (this might still happen but it’s important to be satisfied with the school’s environment).
- Teaching methodology
There are various methodologies followed in different pre-schools to groom your child. They range from the high scope approach to free play to the orthodox method. Choose wisely depending on your preference of accreditation, timings, schedules and of course the nature and temperament of your child.
The best advice you can get is from a trusted educator (if you know one) and parents who have already been through the process. So don’t hesitate to ask around. Of course, most parents can’t stop praising their own child’s school but it is good to get advice from a variety of sources so that you make an informed decision.
Have you been through the pre-school admission process yet? What factors did you consider when looking for a pre-school? Write to us at [email protected]