After Kiran's column on Nursery School admissions I saw a lot of posts around the blogosphere concetrating on similar issues.
Rohini who blogs at Mama Says So, has her strategy and experience chalked out in The School Saga. It was interesting to read how she narrowed down her "Wanted" lists and then finally settled on the school that offered as she says
" pretty traditional kind of education – the kind that most Indian kids in my generation had"
If you are in Bombay, you might want to look up Kiran's post and also the above one to get a grasp of the school system there.
Next I came across Mnamma who is a member of DMC and who has returned to India with her family after spending some years in the US. I think she is writing about Chennai and her post will do a whole lot of good to parents considering returning to India and choosing a school in Chennai. She talks about school hunt and admission here.
"There were entrance examination for all classes from 1st standard onwards until 9th standard and there were hundreds of children of all ages and parents accompanying their children. M and N were petrified with fear at the sight of the huge crowd. They grew progressively nervous and were repeatedly asking me “ Amma nee en kooda iruppiyaa “.
"After we went in, the school authorities asked all the parents to vacate the campus and no one were permitted to stay inside the campus during the examination. They kept constantly assuring us that “Your children are safe in our hands” . I was very nervous as I left M and N with their temporarily assigned teacher. M and N were almost in tears. We whiled away the one and half hours with great difficulty and eagerly went back to pick up M and N. We had to wait another hour before we could actually see them and they were not happy"
Tough experience for those tiny girls and I am so glad that they finally found a good school where admission was not such a nightmare.
On Picking a Preschool in the US, I found a very good post at Under The Banyan Tree. The article Picking a Preschool discusses some of the popular streams of preschools in the US (ok maybe also else where).
I like when she says "Every child is different. So the method the child must be taught must differ too."
She classifies the methods in two broad streams and then a third which is a subset of the second
"A child-centered method is one where the basic goal is the wholesome and autonomous development of the child. The individuality of a child is celebrated. There is no segregation in terms of subject, it is believed that all the subjects are inter related" , she says. read the details in her post
"A teacher-centered method is a style educating the child by teaching the child conformity. The children are motivated to learn through external means – test, assignment kind of stuff. This style is based on the theory that the environment shapes a person. The characteristics of this style of education is its emphasis on product over process, separate subjects, fixed curriculum for all the students and imporantc of an authority figure(namely the teacher)"
"In a Montessori there is very little interaction – between the kids/between the kids and the teacher. The children are encouraged to work on their own, the teacher ‘guides’ them. First and foremost, the children are taught how to take care of themselves – basics like how to wear their shoes, how to dress them selves, how to clean their environment…kind of simple activities. Lots of stress is placed on nature, most of the materials used are natural. In the present days, the Montessori programs are highly watered down versions of the original method. "
You should really go and read her post because these are just excerpts. The thing about Montessori as I see it is many of the schools which say they are Montessori are not really adherring to the method. So unless you are well aware of what to expect from the system, you might be choosing a Montessori which is less that and more teacher-oriented.
The particular thing I liked about her post is how she writes about the kind of kids who will thrive in each kind of system.
The next one is from Chitra Aiyer. She has a lot of posts and information on Bangalore schools if you want to check out. Read her articles here.
Many of you Moms must have already read these posts, but if you haven't it might help shape your decision
And come on with your posts for this month's theme too.