Having put my 3 year old to nursery (she will be 3 & half by the time the classes start in April next year) and having gone through some research work and running around, I can share some insights/ tips that other parents might probably find useful:
1. Start planning when your child is 2 & half years: Some schools (eg. Mother’s International, Delhi and Step by Step Noida don’t take nursery admissions because they don’t have any more seats, at least this year). If you want your child to be in a particular school, better you admit her in pre-nursery so that you don’t face rejection next year.
2. Refer to the top schools list to get a view of the good schools: Hindustan Times comes out with an annual top schools list. You can refer to this year’s stories below and short-list schools. However, remember you might not always want your child to be admitted to the top school always. There are various reasons like being far from your house, not liking the school’s culture or their way of teaching, the fee is too costly, your child’s age, some facilities are not there, you like another school better, etc. etc. So one of the school in the list further down might actually be better off for your child. (In my opinion, this ranking of school is not a good idea. Like last year, we can have a list of schools without ranks. What are 3 year old children supposed to think or say, ‘something like – my school is No. 1 and yours is No. 2′, just because one school is not at his/her locality? It gives unnecessary stress to parents when their kids just wants to learn A,B,C. It is sort of putting our kids on to the rat race when they should be enjoying and learning).
3. Remember age range are different for different schools: Various schools have different age criteria. Your child might be eligible in one school and yet miss out in another school by a few days. For example, DPS Noida starts 2013 nursery admission for kids who were born on or after Oct 2, 2009. My kid was born on Oct 1, 2009. She is about the same age as everyone in that nursery class or in any nursery class, yet she was not eligible.
4. Prepare for the parents’ Q&A: Prepare yourself some nice questions and answers. You don’t need to prepare two dozens of them but few good ones that you can use as a bucket list. You will be asked these questions when you meet the school principal or in the admission form. Amity International Noida called up the parents one Saturday morning and gave them around 10 -15 questions to fill up in half an hour. They are probably going to check the answers before they announce the short-listed candidates. Some of the questions were a) why do you think your child is unique? b) what kind of role will you play in his/her upbringing? c) what do you expect the school to provide to the child, d) what qualities would you like in your child, e) what if your child is not good in studies, etc. If you haven’t done yet, it is a good idea to read up some good parenting books and practice good parenting so that your answers naturally come out fine. For the last question mentioned above, if you answer something like ‘my kid has to be good in studies and we will make sure of that’, it automatically sounds like you are one of those who are going to put in a lot of pressure if the kid doesn’t go your way.
There will be tricky questions as well. One of the schools asked what we can do for the school? They were probably not asking for donation even though it seemed like that. You can answer such questions by probably offering some tips to the school or its students based on your work expertise. For example, if you are a doctor, perhaps you can say you will be happy to sound off the school on important safety measures kids should take during specific seasons. Or if you are a teacher, banker, clerk, administrator, marketer, or whatever; perhaps offering a guest lecture to the students one day on familiarizing them on a specific topic, smart money usage, how to save money, how States are run, how do companies run, etc. And actually these are nice things to do.
5. Give your child some indication of what is going to happen: In your city, interviewing the child might not be allowed, but in others often the school teachers will give the child some toys and observe how he/she is doing with those toys. They might ask simple questions like what is the colour, what is the shape, etc. Probably if your kid has gone through a pre-nursery school, he/she would be familiar with these games. However, it is good to just let him/ know the night before that ‘maam’ will ask some questions and he/she can answer like that.
6. Dress up your kid and yourself smartly for the interview: Probably I have spent too much time in client servicing and consulting, but I thought it was the least I could do when I’m meeting my child’s teacher for the first time and that meeting might probably decide whether she gets admitted or not. I saw some parents turning up looking like they haven’t washed their faces after waking up, with loose t shirts, pajamas, and chappals, and I thought ‘their kid deserves better’.
7. Try online: You can submit admission forms in many schools online. When you start admission hunting in starting September, visit the schools’ websites. That’s the obvious thing. But don’t rely completely on them too. Some schools work like the saarkari types and don’t update their websites in time. Pick up the phones and call the schools. Watch out for the ads in the newspapers, which is often a small insert. Often forums like SchoolAdmissions.in can give you updates on email.
8. Chill: It is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Every child is bound to get admission somewhere or the other. What else are we supposed to do to get our kids admitted!!
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5. Top schools in south west Delhi
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11. Top international schools in Delhi and NCR
12. Top schools in Delhi and NCR, Parameter wise ranking
13. Top schools in Mumbai
Are there any more tips you can think of? Please leave them as comments below and you will be helping out other parents who are reading this.