We have finally figured it all out. After months of doing nothing other than just listening to friends & colleagues talk about schools (playschools, nurserys) and the right age for admission we were a little fazed. Is it 3 & 1/2 or 3? was that nursery or school? does the lower kg follow nursery or is it the same? So to get some answers P & I finally took a half day off and went school hunting. With the peapod. Just like that.
A few things that we considered before we said "Ok, so this is the one"
1. Location - A school should be located in a peaceful & quiet environment. The school should be away from main streets and major cross roads. It should be within 10 kms from home.
2. Reputation - It should have a good reputation among parents and children who study/studied there. I met a teacher who retired from this school and I took an instant liking to her. I happened to also meet a couple of kids who passed out from the school this year. Everybody thought the school was good.
3. A big playground - It was important to me that the school had a good enough playground where children can run, jump and break a limb or two. I wanted a school that wasn't just into academics but encouraged lots of running around, playing and all sorts of extra curricular activities and there was enough space for it all.
4. A co-ed - I have already written about why I thought a co-ed is better.
5. A convent - Now I don't know why I am slightly(make that hugely) inclined towards a convent other than the fact that I studied in one and I thought it was the best start I got.
Off the 5 factors, the school we liked meets 4 criterias. Its a girls school and that has been the only sore point. The school reminds me of my school and that probably just makes it feel right. The watchman of the school gave us some insights on the junior kg & nursery and pointed us to a notice about the admissions in June. Since the school starts with junior kg, the peapod will start this school in 2010. We are not even sure of the admission yet but atleast we know what we want for her.
Secondly, we went around hunting nursery schools where she could start going starting June 2009. We visited 3 nursery schools. The first one we visited was the one I liked the best. The other 2 were just passable. It was like putting in a toy car and a see-saw in our house with some colors splashed on the walls and calling over a few kids from the neighbourhood. Hmm..coming to think of it, she will have a blast. Anyway, so coming back to the reasons why we liked the first one
1. The nursery comprised of two cottages & 2 bamboo house with sufficient free space in between for the kids to play. The place had enough trees and there were no buildings towering the nursery. The environment was very welcoming. Open, breezy and a playground.
2. They follow the Montessori way of teaching. They have a music room with pianos and guitars. The teachers there played the instruments to different rhymes and songs. I loved this music thing. The peapod loves music like any other child. She is generally found singing songs to herself the whole day, sometimes clapping and sometimes performing a little jig with her little bum to "pappu nahi sakta".
3. Lots of bright pictures and colors, spacious class rooms with enough light and breeze. A good library that the parents can use for the kids.
These give me a good feel about the whole place. The only thing I wasn't very happy about was
1. 26 kids in a class they said with 2 teachers and 2 maids. I have a tough time imagining it even. I will need to see how this works.
2. Its about 9 kms from home. That seems a little far away for a nursery.
We do not have admissions yet. We are waitlisted. we will know about it in January. It seems the admission was open just for 3 days. We are waitlisted for nursery admissions ..can you imagine. I wanted to laugh at it but ofcourse didn't want to risk the chance if the principal didn't take it lightly. The peapod wanted to stay in all of the schools we went. We literally had to scoop her off from every place. Ever since we are back she has been asking me when will she go to school. For an another 6 months I have to answer that questions.
The jellybean left us last month. Its been a year since she came to live with us and the kids had a wonderful time togather. My sister resigned her job and went back to join her hubby in Baroda. Hence its a dull time at home for the peapod. She is still under the impression that the jellybean will be back any day. This is the silence before the storm though. My sister(not the jellybean's mom) is expecting a baby this month(12th Dec). Hopefully she will find some amusement soon. Waiting with fingures crossed for the next baby in the family.