I am the anxious types. No, let me rephrase that- I am the overly anxious type. So when the time came near to choose a pre-school for my son, I became berserk. Most of the parents will agree that choosing the right pre-school/nursery school is certainly a task and requires detailed research. After all, it’s our kid’s first step in to the real world and we want safe hands to nurture them. There are no set parameters, but being the ‘checklist’ person, I had my own aspects while zeroing down on the right pre-school. In no particular order, read on to find out:
**Curriculum & Methods for learning**: If you google enough, you are most likely to get confused by reading the various American methodologies of pre-school learning. To explain in simple words, the pre-school program should be a mix of structured and unstructured methods that enhances learning through spontaneous activities at a kid’s own pace. A perfect blend of free style play and structured system should be the focus of the curriculum.
**Infrastructure**: Bigger the building, better the school! No. Don’t get confused with enormous buildings and even bigger play areas. What I mean is the school should be equipped with basic infrastructure like bright classrooms, play areas in the open, audio-visual centres, medical aid room etc.
**Location**: Yes, that’s one of the factors that I consider important while making the list. Technically, kids are heading out for the first time and I would rather not make them travel for hours to reach their school. So I sorted the ones that are close by our residence as well my workplace to avoid the unnecessary travel. This came in handy while handing emergency trips to the school.
**Cleanliness**: On my visit to one of the pre-schools, I literally roamed around to whiff the bathrooms; I know that sounds a bit filthy but it is a relief to see spic and span bathrooms. The cherry on top was the loaded soap dispenser. After all my kid would be sharing this with other children. We all know that kids are easily prone to illness hence basic hygiene and cleaner surroundings would prevent them from falling sick.
**Safety & Security**: Eyeing the security guard who was not a scary fellow, to the grills on the windows, the railing on the stairs and age appropriate safe play ground equipment, I heaved a sigh of relief. Safety and security are major selling factors of a pre-school and I feel it is important for us parents to inspect these before short listing. Make sure the school has enough fire extinguishers and open spaces /fire exits in case of emergency.
**Attitude**: Teachers always tend to be warm and polite. But here I am referring to the didis and the bhaiyas who help our kids in the class/washroom or on the sports field. Their attitude and behaviour also filters down to our children.
**Fees**: We all have budgets. And therefore, this is also an important factor. The fee breakup usually consists of tuition fees, computer charges, development fees, sports equipment etc. An additional cost is incurred in books, uniforms, kits, transportation, meals etc. So you’ll most certainly have to shell out a good amount when your child starts regular school.
In the end talk to the other parents and get the feedback. Most parents like me will be happy to offer their insight and advice. And this will help you in making an informed decision. Trust your instincts!
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