Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Schools in and around Koramangala, Bangalore

So after all the madness of searching a good Pre-school or Daycare for little N ended a few months ago, its hard to believe that it is already time to worry about where should she go next year onwards. I mean I just got her admitted to a pre-school in June and it is just now that she is actually enjoying it and learning lots from it. And already, it is barely 2 months and I have to worry about where she should go next year!!? The session next year does not even start until June 2010 but the reason we parents need to plan now is that most big schools will release admission forms in September or so (after Dussehra holidays) and you need to grab it asap to apply and be considered on a first come first served basis. Amazing na?

So as we did earlier during our pre-school research, me and my friends aka paranoid moms ;-) started our rounds of visiting schools in and around our area. Here's what we've found so far. I will continue this post in its part 2 as and when I visit more schools in the vicinity.

1). NPS Koramangala: They have both - the Montessori and the Traditional streams of education for junior school. To get admitted into Montessori 1 (first year), the child has to be 3 years of age by June of the academic year for which admission is seeked. If that does not happen, the child cannot get admitted into the Montessori stream at all (unless in cases where they make an exception if he/she has been to a different Montessori before). Now I took this at its face value and came back thinking that since N is an August born child, she is not eligible for NPS montessori at all. But many moms in our community have now informed me that they make exceptions all the time. They themselves have seen cases where there are October/November born kids in Montessori 1. So I have been advised to atleast take the form and apply.
  • Pros: If your child gets into Montessori here, he/she can enjoy 3 full years of Montessori education and then go into 1st standard right here. So they get the full benefit of Montessori way of learning and you as parents need not worry about their re-admissions to a mainstream school all over again. The school follows the CBSE curriculum from 1st standard onwards.
  • Cons: From all the reviews I have heard about this school, they are very academically oriented. Exams, tests, projects, etc. such a young age is not what I would want for my child - but then every parent has a different perspective. Some believe this prepares them for reality in their lives. One more thing - we asked the front desk lady to show us around the school or let us know a date when they can conduct some kind of an orientation for prospective parents and she very nicely refused to extend any sort of a courtesy on that front. I guess this school just goes by its name - either you apply or you don't. You don't get a chance to see it during or after hours.
2). Little Feat Montessori House of Children: I have already written about this place here but that was when I had not visited them yet. I now went and took a tour of this place and they seem very friendly and understanding as a management. They take admissions atleast twice a year (Dec and June). Your child will most likely get in as long as he/she is under 2.5 years of age when you contact them. And the place, their montessori material, infrastructure is pretty good too. I have a lot of friends whose kids go here and the parents are all happy.

3). Vibgyor High (HSR) : The front desk lady here was very different from the one we met at NPS. She actually took a lot of time to show us 4 moms (with our toddlers) around the school. It is a nicely built place with a lot of facilities for the kids and the best part is - they have after school day care on the premises! So kids can spend the rest of the afternoon there if both the parents go to work. To qualify for admission here, the kid needs to be atleast 2 yrs 9 months by June of the academic year. This is when he/she will get admitted into Nursery. If they are atleast 3 yrs 9 months, they get into LKG and then UKG and so on. So according to my kiddo's birthdate, she being August born, will be 2 yrs 10 months in June 2010 and so will absolutely qualify here (unlike at NPS where she needs to be 3 yrs of age). They follow the ICSE board curriculum.
  • Pros: This school claims they do not have a midterm and final exams structure until 4th standard. They do have weekly assessments to judge a child's progress and grade him accordingly. Again, some parents prefer the traditional approach to prepare their child early on. I am not in one of those camps. I would rather my child learn through experiencing things first hand than cramming and taking tests/exams. Another pro, getting admissions into this school seems relatively easier since they are brand new. This is their first functional year.
  • Cons: School is quite far from Koramangala - took us 30 minutes to get there. Might be a good option if you live in Sarjapur or HSR Layout. Also, the campus was pretty much all concrete. And for folks like me who have grown up in schools which has ample ground space for sports like cricket, football, high jump, long jump, PT, etc. it did not appeal much to the eyes. Was too much concrete for my taste.
Other schools we plan to visit in the near future are:
  • DPS (have heard they have a very good campus)
  • Prakriya (have heard very good things about this school - their campus, curriculum, way of teaching and their nursery)
  • Headstart Montessori House of Children (have heard that this Montessori also has classes upto 5th currently and they have aquired land for more)
  • Bethany High (this school has also recently launched a child care center for infants and toddlers who can attend pre-school here and move on to Bethany High from there)
Do let me know if you think of other schools that I should add to my list here. If not, do keep checking for Part 2 of this post.

EDITED ON Oct. 10, 2009 TO ADD : NPS Indiranagar has started giving out admission forms and their other branches (Koramangala and HSR) might start the coming week.