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.
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.