Part 2- The School hunt- Grade 1

Part 2- The School hunt- Grade 1

{Check for Part 1 of this post}

The Personal Visit/ Interaction:

V and I realised that it would be practically impossible to visit every school on our list. So, we decided to whittle down the list to 6 schools and based on our opinion, start the admission process.

As we were looking at a residential location in the areas surrounding Kanakapura road, J.P. Nagar and Jayanagar, we stuck to schools in this area.

Jnana Sweekar Public School:

This was the first school we visited one fine morning in September 2011. The receptionist was pleasant and put us on to the coordinator, who personally showed us around the school, pointing out the various features and explaining the curriculum.

Pros:

  • Large open space in the front with tennis courts, swimming pool,volleyball court
  • Student:Teacher ratio of 25:1
  • Shloka and yoga were part of the curriculum as were music and dance
  • Decent-sized classrooms

Cons:

  • Relatively new school and not too many detailed reviews available

(We had this as our backup, in case nothing else worked out)

Ekya School, J.P. Nagar

This was the next school that we saw that same day. It is tucked away in a residential area of J.P. Nagar, between Bannerghatta and Kanakapura road. To be honest, the reason we looked up the school was because we were impressed by the website.  And, we weren’t really disappointed, in that sense. The classrooms looked lovely, as did the cute artwork displayed on the primary school bulletin board.

However, the place for outdoor play seemed limited to a basketball court in the lowest floor and it still wasn’t outdoors. Both of us were very keen on open playing space for Gy, so we decided to give the school a miss.

Sherwood High

I had heard about the school from an acquaintance who had admitted her daughter in June 2011. She was pretty happy with the school.

It’s a sister concern of the Greenwood High group and had opened its doors in 2009.

Being right on the main road,  just after the NICE junction on Bannerghata road, the school was easily accessible. The day we checked out the school, it seemed like every potential parent had the same idea.  A group of parents were in conference with the principal, who was talking about the curriculum and the school motto.

The receptionist looked harried and waved at a passing man and asked him to show us around the school. The poor chap was not too informed about the rooms and was unable to answer questions. He finally admitted to being the gardener!

Well, that kind of threw us off balance and we dropped the school from our list. First impressions mean a lot and we weren’t happy with the one we had seen.

Our shortlist- The final 3!

Podar International

This was pretty high on our shortlist, for the simple fact that Gy had enjoyed her three years with Podar Happy Kids. The school and its ideology were things we were very happy about and Gy was guaranteed admission, as a graduate from PHK 🙂

Since the campus was about three years old,  a lot of infrastructure was still in the process of getting set up.

The approach road was a bit difficult to negotiate, but it may be better now. We saw it in September of 2011.

Sri sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir

What drew us to the school was its openness. We called ahead. They said we could bring our daughter, meet the principal informally and decide if we liked the school.

The school is off Kanakapura road, a little past the Art of Living Ashram and has a steep approach road.


    The principal was very warm and welcoming and asked Gy a few questions to put her at ease. Of course, after saying her name, Gy refused to say anything else, much to my dismay. The principal asked her where her dad worked and Gy merely smiled shyly! The comical thing was my husband trying to prompt her by describing the company logo 😉

    Honestly, we felt good about the school. The one hiccup was the fact that they would work Saturdays :(, especially for classes 3 and above.

    Sri Kumaran Children’s Home (CBSE)

    Having heard good things about the school and discussing it in detail with another blogger, Aparna, who’d admitted her daughter in 2011, we decided to check out the campus.

    Both of us loved the greenery and the infrastructure around campus. The fact that shloka,pottery, music and yoga were mandatory in the curriculum, sealed the deal for us.

    We applied online when the forms came out and waited to make our decision.

    Other Reviews:

    As far as other parents and their opinions on schools went, I found these on mouthshut.com, parentree.in as well as a few discussions on online forums.

     In this entire quest, I came across certain interesting and relatively common ideas:

    1. School hunt is a nerve-wracking process. It helps if you have a basic list of expectations and work outward. Do bear in mind that not all of these may be satisfied by any one school.
    2. The parameters we hold up, to select a school, can vary significantly from one parent to another.
    3. More parents are open to the idea of alternative schooling and/or homeschooling. Some very good resources on this topic can be found online.
    4. Schools themselves are now becoming more amenable to the idea of learning and wisdom than mere acquisition of knowledge. So, the broad emphasis is now more on vocation-based learning and applied thinking.

    The Admission process:

    Kumarans sent a mail, acknowledging our application.

    Note: The child must be at least 5 years and 9 months as of June 1st of that year. If the child was born on September 1st or later of the previous year, he/she will not be given admission.

    A date for interaction was given. Our interaction lasted five minutes. The principal asked us why we wanted Kumarans and asked Gy her name. There was no other evaluation. One week later, we were notified by email that Gy had been selected.

    Note: Since 2013, the school conducts a short written and oral evaluation of the children, during interaction. This, according to them, is to gauge the learning level of each child, since they come from varied schools.

    Important note! 

    This year,  2014, there are no seats available at the Mallasandra campus. All students from the nursery sections at Tata Silk Farm and Doddakalsandra, siblings of children already at Kumarans and the RTE quota have filled all seats.

    {DISCLAIMER}

    • The views expressed here are solely those of the writer. 
    • Admission processes/ facilities mentioned here are relevant to the time this post was written and updated- (August 2011- September 2013).
    • The writer will not be held accountable for any decision regarding admissions/ opinions of the school.
    • This is not meant to either laud or undermine any school. All notes mentioned here are relevant to us and what we experienced in our personal interaction with each school.

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    0 thoughts on “Part 2- The School hunt- Grade 1

    1. Hi Shailaja,

      Thanks for sharing this. Did you consider Carmel School, Padmanabhanagar? Why or why not?

      Another comment I have is this:
      Not sure if you are a localite and/or are very aware of cultural nuances in this city. South Bangalore (esp Jayanagar, Basavanagudi etc.), by virtue of being amongst the oldest parts of the city, is super rich in terms of culture. So you'll find great teachers/centers for all the cultural criteria that you enlist here – music, shlokas, dance, yoga etc., at close proximity. So if I were you, I'd prefer not to include these as major criteria in school selection. I can't agree more that they're very important in a child's development but if you can find a school that's great on all other criteria but is short on these, I'd rather go with that school & cater to cultural developmental needs outside the school premises. No right or wrong with your approach or mine. Just a perspective to share for your consideration.

    2. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Seema 🙂

      To answer your first query: No, we didn't consider Carmel school. I hadn't really heard about it much. And the principal of PHK, where Gy did her preschool, recommended most of the schools we shortlisted.

      The second point you raise is quite valid. I have lived in Bangalore for a little over 18 years and am fairly familiar with the city. Yes, I agree that South Bangalore is culturally rich. Both the spouse and I wanted the cultural aspect as part of the curriculum, since kids relate to anything new, when it comes via the school medium. Since she began school, she has also joined music and dance classes outside campus, and voluntarily so. And, honestly, we liked the fact that Kumarans encourages all of these even into the higher grades.

      We also checked out Inventure Academy, which is excellent on every other aspect ,but didn't have the sloka/ yoga. We were ready to enrol her there, because the school satisfied every other criterion we had on our list( which you can find in Part 1 of the above post). Had we stayed back near Sarjapur road, we would have chosen that school for sure.

      Thank you so much for your detailed and balanced comment 🙂

    3. Dear Shailaja,
      Thanks for this post. Its lovely, simple and nice. I have a query though. Most of the times we search schools based on few shortlist criteria and then when our child starts going to the school we get a few other findings.
      How do you think Kumaran's has stood up to that test of time? Also, can you tell more about Sri Sri Ravishankar school. You have said that you felt good about the school. If you could elaborate a little bit, would be great. Thanks and have a great day.

      Shalini

    4. Hi Doting Mom,

      Nice post. Went through exactly all of this while i was hunting for a school for my daughter 3 years ago and thought my search ended there. But it turns out, slowly i am getting back to square one. Either you the well established, been-there schools, that are not quite progressive, or you have the rapidly mushrooming international schools that still lack operational clarity and also focus more on marketing with their complete focus being on getting more admissions, not to mention the variety of boards(SSC, CBSE, ICSC, IGCSE, IB) Am so lost! Where are the good old days of limited options

    5. Hey Shalini. My experience with Kumarans has been very positive so far. Gy has blossomed into a confident girl, who wants to participate in extra curricular events like music and dance, whereas she was timid about doing so the first year.
      The teachers are very supportive And non intrusive, allowing The children to explore ideas.
      Please note, I'm talking about the Mallasandra cbse campus.

      I don't have any more details regarding Ravishankar mandir, but the school has a great feel about it. Fees are very reasonable and the proximity to Nature is wonderful. Plus, the emphasis on holistic development is good. Have heard that the Sarjapur branch had a high teacher attrition rate, although that was three years ago.

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