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School admissions and such related stuff

Image: google, Deccan Herald
Dealing with school admissions these days definitely amounts to research work akin to the ones done before getting a Ph.d. Starting with what board to choose from, to checking out schools in the vicinity, to evaluating their curriculum and not the least, their (astronomical) fee structure. Adding to the confusion is the varied parental reviews about each school. 

As you'd have guessed by now, we have been dealing with R's school admission process in the past few months. Unlike many other parents, we did not do a tour of schools in our locality. The fact that baring a couple of schools, most schools are situated at a distance of minimum of 13-14 kms from our place, made our job easier. Yes, most reputed schools are quite far and yet, surprisingly a humungous crowd goes to these schools from our complex. Therefore, 

we fall in the minority category of parents who attach more importance to distance among other factors. 

We checked out only two schools in the end, and went ahead with one of those, although I still keep revisiting our preference for the chosen one since the school we rejected is situated right at our backyard! However, it has been drawing a lot of flak lately for it's lopsided management policies, high teacher attrition and in general a seemingly lack of control over things. The other school, although a little far off in comparison, appealed to us in terms of the management response, infrastructure and positive reviews of its parent branch in a different location.  Yet, there is constant humdrum in my mind of whether I've taken the right decision, if it'd be better to continue R in the present set-up and look for high schools later or whether I should go for the nearest school and not worry too much about other factors ? Gosh! it tougher being a parent today, methinks.

Just in case you were wondering didn't I just go through the playschool rigmarole just a year ago and happily settled for the Montessori R is going to currently? Yes, you're quite right. I too wondered about the same. Especially, because, not only did the teaching methodology  appeal to me, it also meant I'd have to look out for big schools only after another 3 years. But, then you know, I had many people telling me that getting admissions in higher classes become progressively difficult. I might get admissions alright but it may not be the school I want, I was told. So, that's the reason behind the renewed hunt.

Coming to the brighter part: before I sound like a broken record grating horribly on the nerve, the shortlisted school follows the Montessori method for the pre-schoolers- hence gets an extra thumbs up from my side.  Ok, before you folks pick that broom and hit me out for this long-winded saga story, let me finish on a lighter note. After we submitted the applications, we were called for a personal interaction. It was a casual and informal session where about 3-4 kids were engaged in some activities by the teachers to glean some information from them orally and to gauge their skill level. One parent was allowed to be with the kid, if the kid so wished. I am not going into the discussion of what could be gauged from tiny-tots and if this is necessary at all. My solace is at least this school had it in an absolute casual manner. One of the reputed schools, I heard, had a formal interview with the child, asking everything that could be asked from names of fruits, vegetables to colours to alphabets to names of the parents, phew!

Now, we are parents who do not believe in coaching the kids for an interaction that is in all likelihood just a formality (at least for nursery). So, we thought it is best to let R be himself. It was useless to even give him an idea of what was in store is what we believed.  So, we marched in our best attire that morning with a happy R in tow. Once at the reception, they asked us to wait for a few minutes until our turn. Now, this school is situated close to a railway track which meant that there are train sightings- an eye-treat for little children. So, R was mighty excited and wished to remain at the entrance foyer and didn't want to enter the classroom. So, in a sense we hit a roadblock at the onset itself. Next, he demanded that I come along, something that seemed quite contrary to his usual independent nature. The teachers appeared warm and friendly and asked him if he wanted to colour. R's reply? No. Do you want to play with the blocks, then? No.  Would you like to sit here? No. I want to see the train! The teacher was kind enough and steered the conversation to other things to make him comfortable. R finally agreed to sit. Then, they showed him a picture of balloons and asked him what it is. R said, "flower". He even translated it for good measure with great confidence in tamil and said,"poo" (flower in tamil). I didn't know where to look. Actually, I wanted to laugh but was scared it would encourage R to provide funnier answers. The teacher also looked like she had come across such an innovate answer for the first time. She composed herself to say,"umm..maybe they look like cherries?" But our boy was adamant. Then, to my relief, he rattled off the right colour names, reviving my confidence. Then he was encouraged to play with some blocks. He put the smallest black below the largest one and insisted that that's how it should be and that it is an aeroplane. After some scintillating conversation about aeroplanes and such, the teacher asked if he liked aeroplanes. R's reply, "No"! Later, at the principal's office too he was talking his head off about some random stuff giving us very less chance to talk! Well, at least he kept them (and us) in splits.

And the best part? In spite of
all the circus above, we got through the interview! So, all's well that end's well :-)


  1. Ha ha hilarious, that was fun to read! And glad that R got through the interview. I too would consider distance as one of the primary criteria for school, besides the board. No sense making little kids travel.

    1. My parents are unhappy over the fact that we are not choosing the one that is right next to our complex. They can't seem to reconcile to even a distance of 5 kms from home. And, to see kids travelling 13-14 km is another extreme :-)

  2. R is smart and doesn't need any of your help for him to handle the teachers.
    Children can be very funny and original in their replies.It is not the correctness of the answers that determines the outcome as I remember one incident when the tiny tot was asked to name three pets.She replied "Dog,cat and appa(dad)" to the merriment of the teachers and embarassment of the dad.

    1. LOL @ "cat, dog and appa" kids to come up with interesting things to say!
      Thanks, Sir! :-)

  3. What we call a circus, is business as usual for the teachers!!
    R is too funny :)

    1. They probably are quite used to it..well, R sure had some sinister agenda that day..;-)

  4. This post scares me. I just keep placing myself in your shoes, 'cause that's where I shall be in a few year's time. Choosing schools mean investing a major chunk of a child's life into one. It only justifies why parents have to go through so much research and be choosy.

    and don't you worry, R will manage fine... you have to keep calm on your nerves, eh?

    1. Hey Purnima, take it easy..this was not to scare you or worry you unnecessarily..there is a lot of time for you to arrive at this stage.
      And kids these days are a smart lot..they'll manage fine (hopefully) :-))

  5. Happy for you and your child. My best wishes to him.
    When our children were to be admitted in school, everybody like this only told us we should prepare our kids, and the principal of that particular school was very strict, blah, blah.
    But nothing was asked and we got admission for both of them without any problem.
    It is enough if a child can respond naturally to whatever is asked , for he/ she is too small to be prepared.

    1. thanks, Rama. Yes, I agree, more than the answers they look for the ability to respond.

  6. That's the cutest interview I ever heard of Uma :). Didn't know you were going through the choosing game again, All the very best - your reasoning is sound and I'm sure R is going to have a blast!

    1. Umm..didn't I tell you I was on the big school hunt? The dilemma is only because this other school is right behind our complex which makes me wonder if I'm being very stupid in not considering it :-0
      thanks, Aparna! :-))))

  7. LOL got back memories of R's interview :)

    Congrats on the admissions :)R is one sweetheart na

    I agree on the nearness of the school...I had my heart set on one school which was 10 kms away (That sounds so stupid now!!!) but RD was like no lets get somewhere near to our house (R's school is still 4 kms away but not bad atall by Bombay standards eh?) and then thankfully the 10 km away school refused to give us admission forms itself saying it doesnt make sense...of course I totally respect that school for that :)

    1. oh, am sure R must have given fundoo answers at her interview..have you blogged about it?
      I know, kids should not be travelling too much..Good thing the school itself they give admission even with the distance of 13-14 kms!

  8. Loved your pst, Uma and enjoyed R's responses too. But you know, I am somewhat frightened at the mention of these interviews. Kids might be in different moods at different times. Though they know the answers for everything, they might not want to tell. So, it's ridiculous to judge kids of that age in such short span. Hmm.. Whatever, that's the way of the happy for you n R. Good luck with the new school....:)

    1. thanks, Latha! Exactly my can be unpredictable, so really wary of schools that may give weightage to the correctness of the answers..

  9. ha ha :) that's funny and good part is he got the admission. For me also distance matters. To me relief, there is a good school nearby and that sorts a lot of problems for me as of now.

    1. oops..missed replying to your comment, Jas!
      Good thing that the school is close by, saves a lot of headache in many ways..

  10. he he he .. this is jsut a coincidence .. I was on phone to one of my friend in india , they are looking for a school for their child and he is telling me stories about the interviews and the school demanding to know what parents do and what not ..


    1. I will have to worry about my kids studying in india.. they will not get admission anywhere If I was interviewed he he he he

  11. :D Congratulation.
    It is tough to be a mom these days. I second that. Uma. There's more pressure; there are umpteen things to look into before we send our precious little ones to schools, right?

    1. thanks, Divya! I know, there's too much pressure today..

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