what school will we pick in mumbai

The “Good” School in Mumbai issue


Ah here we are. January. Admissions is well underway through out Mumbai for 2014-2015 school year. In fact many good schools in Mumbai are starting to publish their acceptance lists.  And where are we? Still undecided.

This past Saturday we visited two schools:

With the new year, I had decided that I will be happy in Thane and that I will accept where we are. So, we went to Billabong, purchased an admission form (INR 300) and saw the classrooms. V was happy with that school. I took a look in the workbooks and saw that V will definitely be bored in math (since she’s doing or has done all of what I noticed in the 1st standard file and she’s currently in the age level for Sr Kg but is completing her 3rd year of Montessori, this year at Discovery Montessori in Thane. R is in his first year of schooling and also attends there. We’d prefer to have him complete 3 years at a Montessori as well.

good school in mumbai? what do people say about it
When I ask about schools, people quote newspapers and neighbors and long-term reputation, but no one talks about end result – kids learning things and kids knowing how to think. Imagine that.

Best school in Mumbai?

We aren’t in actual Mumbai so going to a top school in Mumbai is out of the question. Plus, a top school for one child or family won’t work for all kids. Most schools forcus on rote learning and have no ability to work with children who are ahead, and those who are behind may be offered extra worksheets at home or possibly to come in on Saturdays (most have it for English conversation/English work). So, even though many newspapers publish “top school” reports, I haven’t watched them for this year as I don’t think they’re truly meaningful.

Best school in Thane?

So there’s a huge competitiveness around school in Mumbai. Heck, while something like 35% score is considered passing, to get into top colleges, people need to score in the 95th+ percentile! Here in Thane we have a limited number of “big name” brands since many people in Mumbai consider Thane to be a village still. We have a few schools which have been commended, but on what merit? That’s the issue.

I’ve posted before what we want in a school and Billabong was very not into the sell. Didn’t ask if we had questions, and we had to ask to see the building. There are a few kids in our building who attend there and other than the issue with their raising of fees (this coming year the price is around INR 90,000 PLUS INR 25,000 donation for admission).

Meanwhile, EuroSchool had a presentation for us, asked questions and definitely was warm and inviting. The person we met with actually said “we hope to see you in our school next year” to our daughter. Wow, acknowledging the child even!  For comparison, they are asking INR 62,000 (I think?) but with a INR 40,000 admission/donation. Their uniforms are more expensive as well at Euro School. We decided against purchasing their admission form since it was INR1000 ($18) and there doesn’t seem to be a rush for open slots and we can think about it for a week and see. V also preferred the other school (but won’t tell us why).

Both schools offer both Hindi and Marathi from first standard, which is good for us. Later in elementary, Billabong offers French and Euro offers German as a 3rd/4th lanaguage. Both are Saturday off and have a variety of activities, including gymnastics.

The issues with Euro School aren’t major. The school location is right into the national park basically. It is hard to get to, but they have GPS enabled buses and women on all the buses. They offer plenty of extras and homework is very little except for things like “go to the garden (park) and find different shapes of leaves” – which pleases us. They did say they didn’t have options for kids who were ahead (she called it gifted, but I say V is just ahead in math). She will need some assistance in Hindi and Marathi, and Euro school just recommended we expose her to the script before 1st standard. She is at her Montessori school now and recognizes some of the characters/letters now.

A twist in the road brings excitement?

Now fast forward to Sunday and my husband asks me to time the Powai/Chandivali area as we head to his aunt’s house in Santa Cruz. Why? Because he’s potentially open to moving to that area and commuting from there so V could continue Montessori in the ONE (yes 1) Montessori school in the Mumbai area that continues after sr kg. Woo!

Figures, as soon as I decide to be content with Thane, we may just move. Thursday we’re touring the school and hopefully timing is right so both kids can attend school there and I don’t have extra drop offs and pick ups (because we’re talking a half hour each way in regular traffic). I’ll have to have a driver and my husband has a few co-workers in the area that he’ll likely commute with. Of course this is all a big IF.

So if that works out, we’ll be in a slightly more populated area (to me, none of these areas are unpopulated, but this isn’t South Mumbai either), with a lot of others “like us” (father Indian, mother a foreigner). So I’ll likely have more friends I’ll see more often as well.

Good school in Mumbai? Harmony Montessori please!

Decisions, decisions. Eek! Either way, I will be content. I will be happy. Let’s just hope that the stars align and they have a pre-primary batch during the same time frame for either drop off or pick up for the elementary school!

In the end, a good school in Mumbai, to me is where the student is supported, they really learn and are happy.

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    1. I agree. There is a big fear here of kids not getting college admission, so the worry for that begins at around age 2 when you start admissions for nursery (age 3), after that is 2 years of kindergarten… then 1st grade (official school).

  1. My boys both go to public school – there is not really a choice. It’s either public school, I home school them (which is not happening) or they go to private Catholic school (which I could never afford anyways). They get a good education there and that is all I could ever ask for. If they didn’t I would move to a town that had a better rep.

  2. I agree with what a good school should be, not what family and friends say (although if they say it from experience, it’s also helpful), but whether kids get the help needed for a proper education from early on.

  3. I agree with you that a good school is where you are supported, learn and happy. My kids love their school and are happy there. They are getting a nice education and to me that makes it a great school.

  4. I sometimes worry about sending my kids to the public school, but after reading your posts, I suddenly appreciate our school system a lot more. :)

  5. I believe that a good school is one that you’re comfortable with where you can learn and feel safe regardless of judgement from other people’s perspectives.

  6. It’s interesting to see how things work there in India. I hope that your kids find a good fit, with teachers that genuinely care about them and teach the well.

  7. Yes, what you said is absolutely right! A Good school is where the student is supported, they really learn and are happy. I hope your kids are happy with the schools they choose. All the best!

  8. Deciding on a school is SO important. In Florida, I thought I got my son in a good preschool and it ended up being awful. What had been my 2nd choice initially is where I moved him and it was so much better because they were positive and encouraging, focusing on a child’s strengths instead of constantly disciplining negatives. I don’t have choice here as I’m in a town of less than 1000 but I am lucky our school both has high marks and they have been very willing to communicate extensively with me to improve my son’s success. He’s very smart but needs extra guidance :)

  9. I also believe that it is important for children to learn in a supported environment. I also feel it is important for the student to be challenged and encouraged to grow and expand their horizons.

  10. Having grown up in a small town where the public school system was one of the best and still is from what I hear I really think the teachers who truly care about the students and the subject (s) they teach is paramount. Learning should be emphasized not memorization (unfortunately-that is why most students forget most of what they learn by the next year if not the next semester)

  11. Hi,
    We are expats returning to India soon. In my quest for finding a good school for my 5 year and 2.5 year olds, I stumbled across your website. Though your posts are two year old but I find them highly relevant. I would love to get some insight on schools in Thane or Navi Mumbai

      1. Hi Amanda…can you help me with the name of the Montessori school in thane where your children go to..coz I have my second daughter who is 2.5yrs and am looking for a good school ..


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