Know which school is best for your child

Know which school is best for your child


It’s almost here. That bittersweet moment when you’re glad that you’ll get some alone time, finally, and sad that you won’t see your little one for as many hours as you used to during the day. Next year, around June, your child is going to start school. The admission season in India has begun, particularly with international and alternative schools. Before they all fill up, start school hunting. And here's a handy checklist to help you. Every parent wants something different for their child, so there’s no one way to determine what the best school for any child will be. However, we suggest that you look through each of these criteria and decide which one is most important to you.

1. Syllabus:

CBSE, ICSE, State, IB, IGCSE, CIE, CISCE. There could be more that you know of. Which of these should you choose? It’s been generally established by people who’ve studied both local and international syllabi that you should pick the IGCSE and IB over CBSE, but there are pros and cons to both. If you’d like a more creative, thinking education with an emphasis on language for your child, we suggest you go with the IGCSE or IB syllabus. If, on the other hand, you want your kid to do well in Indian competitive exams in the future, try the desi CBSE syllabus instead.

2. Teaching method:

There are plenty of mainstream schools in every city, every town, every village. You might want your child to take the traditional route; if you do, use the other criteria listed here in decreasing order of importance to you to make your choice. In contrast, if you’re a believer in alternative education, our list of the best-known alternative schools in the country will be a good guide for you. Keep in mind that there are many more than these, and if distance is a problem, Montessori schools are available in plenty across the country. They’ll give your child a start in creative thinking at least.

3. Fees:

Now, the problem with most good schools, international and alternative specifically, is that they’re really expensive. If you look at the list we came up with of the top 10 schools in Bangalore, you’ll know well enough that a top school usually means an expensive school. When your family belongs to the upper-middle or upper class brackets, this isn’t a problem for you. When it doesn’t, you’ll need to do a little more hunting before you find a good school that suits you. There’s a silver lining here; good schools are not as scarce as they seem. There’s always at least one outlier, like Vidya Niketan School, Bangalore, which charges Rs 60,000 but is still ranked sixth in the city. Like we said, you just have to look.

4. Distance:

Depending on how you want your child to commute to and from school, and what transport facilities are available, you should decide whether distance is a criterion you’d consider while choosing a school or not. Some parents want their children to be able to walk home during the lunch break and walk back immediately. In that case, pick the school closest to you. If you’re a stay-at-home mom and have some form of transport at your convenience using which you want to drop and pick up your kid, your search horizon widens a little. Otherwise, where you’d rather your child benefit from good quality education and don’t really care how far she has to travel for it, find a school with timely school buses, autos or even good public transport connectivity (she could get a student pass) once she’s a little older.

5. Residential/semi-residential/day school:

Fallen in love with a particular school that has a great campus, fabulous teaching methodology or a reputation to produce the best students in the country? Then you should think no further; you’ve found your dream school. But what if that school is in another city? Boarding facilities! Of course, not all schools have them, in which case you should look for another residential school that follows the same method of teaching that attracted you in the first place, which is where our article with the 14 best Indian boarding schools will help. On the other hand, you might not think your child is ready to leave her parents for months at a time yet, in which case a day school is certainly what you should find. In contrast to both, you could find semi-residential schools, like Centre for Learning in Bangalore, where kids stay overnight in school twice a week and come home on the other three days. That way, your little one will learn independence, and you’ll get much more free time of your own, but you’ll also see her everyday, either in the morning or the evening.  

Happy school hunt. And good luck!