We admitted Mantam in a montessori cum kindergarten school in nursery group in 2011. This particular school was close to my office (1-2 kms) which in turn is around 5 kms from our home and also offers after school day care facility. They got promoted to LKG and we were happy to continue there as Mantam were happy and had adjusted well at the daycare too.
Suddenly around August 2012, I saw most of my colleagues discussing about getting their kids admitted into schools. I was curious to know more details and pitched in. Kids of all these colleagues were all 2+ and they were planning to enroll the kids in a school from where they could come out after finishing their 12th. What I inferred from them:
- Why would they want to make their kids join a formal school right from nursery was a thought that puzzled me? – But as our school hunt progressed, we realized that many schools do not take in students for UKG or 1st standard. Also few colleagues were apprehensive of the entry level tests that the kids had to go through. Admission tests for nursery are apparently easier.
- Why were they psyched up about getting seats in Sep 2012 when the school would begin in June 2013? – Applications form roll out began in Sep and continued till Oct or Nov in most sought -after schools. If one is not able to secure seats within these months, it gets difficult to seek admission later on.
- Why was it difficult to get seats in a few schools? – 1. There are limited number of seats, 2. Stringent selection criteria like mother should be a house wife, incomes of parents, preference given to sibling of existing students or alumnis, distance of residence from school etc.
- I was flabbergasted when one of the colleagues was determined to send his kid to ABC school which is an established one. He was perfectly okay to make his 3 year old travel 19 kms one way , pay the exuberant donation and fees to have his kid study there.
First thing we did was list out our criteria for zeroing in on schools.
Abbas’ criteria for the desired school:
- It has to be affiliated to ISCE board (He studied in ISCE board)
- It must have a huge playground
- It must be a reputed one with good facilities
My critera for the desired school:
- Preferably no donation or a very meagre amount for donation with an acknowledging receipt. (I am the kanjoos of the two)
- A peaceful campus to give a feel of it being a school and not a commercial complex in the hustle bustle of a busy city
- I am fine with any board including Karnataka State Board (I myself have studied in it)
- Mantam will not travel for more than 5 kms.
- Caters to kids from all classes of the society.
Abbas and I had varied views and even argued through the school hunt. I am a firm believer that a school does play an important role in molding a child. But I don’t think an expensive school that offers all facilities will fare well in shaping up my kids than a moderate school with basic facilities. The onus ultimately lies on the child and also parents. Abbas, on the other hand, believes that a school can make or break a child’s overall development.
We went to many schools, some had swimming pools, some had cricket, football, dance, music, karate, yoga coaching, few boasted of celebrities being their faculties etc. Some boasted of great results in board exams etc. Some offered breakfast, lunch and snacks as well. We did not buy application form in any of the schools. They would have drilled holes in our pockets with Rs.500 – 1000 per form per school, which in our case would be multiplied by 2.
After almost a month’s struggle, we went to X school one fine day with no expectations. It was located in the interiors of a busy location (where Abbas’ office is) in the city. As we entered the campus, it seemed as though we were far away from the city. (Check) The campus was enormous with a huge playground. (Check) They even had a well maintained park for younger kids (Check) We went in and enquired about the donation. Guess what? There was no donation. (Check) Annual fees was something which was quite affordable for us. (Check) Board was CBSE (Fine!) They even had a tie up with a day care which is within a kilometre’s reach. The day care’s van picks up kids from the school after the school hours. They even offer food for kids on a monthly package basis. We could also inform randomly in the mornings for providing lunch on adhoc basis. Most kids are of Mantam’s age. They even help the kids in completing their school homework. All broken pieces fell into place.
Mantam had a written test as well and the admissions were done before we left for Goa. We were relieved of a humongous burden off our shoulders.
Abbas is still reluctantly happy about this admission as he would’ve preferred to get them enrolled in one of the biggies but I have to keep him grounded. With two at a shot and day care expenses too to bear, it would mean stretching our legs beyond our quilt’s length. Hoping that we took a good decision for Mantam’s future…. Fingers crossed!