For my child – which is the best school and the best daycare in Gurgaon??
We are living in rather interesting times…..as many thought leaders say VUCA times: Volatile-Unpredictable-Changing-Ambiguous and a fast evolving world….
In these changing times, the education & child -care centres should also be evolving and the old methods of rote learning – just for getting marks or getting into a good college – after school is just not enough. Nor relevant for the coming times.
Schools & childcare centres also need to change with all the change around us…here are some thoughts on what is needed today.
· Does the Education Board matter…i.e. which is better CBSE, ICSC, IGCSE or IB ?….yes and no….while there are differences in these Boards(and we will reserve another blog for a more detailed discussion on the differences), in our view the school’s management & operating team who manage the infrastructure, operations, quality of teachers and prescribe what will be done daily in the classrooms is far more important to evaluate…as School Boards are essentially examination bodies – who primarily set the main examination question papers … and provide minimum norms for the physical infrastructure and provide some inputs for approach to education & inputs for the smooth running of the academic operations and the safety & security of the children… all of which are operationally managed by the school management/team….so in a nutshell more than the Examination Board – it is the day to day operations of the school, the quality of the management & teachers, learning operationalizing framework, etc which are more important.
· Does physical infrastructure matter? … some schools are beginning to look like HOTEL properties with big fancy reception areas, big imposing classrooms & playgrounds, swimming pools, horse riding tracks … designed to impress parents …and charge over inflated fees ….and with a lot of brand building & marketing ….as if they are trying to sell based on the physical and glitzy infrastructure….while in a school the intellectual infrastructure is far more important….often not enough is done on the intellectual & life-skills infrastructure ….while the emphasis on physical infrastructure overshadows everything else ….
· The learning intellectual & life skills infrastructure – such as excellence in academics, sports & extracurricular activities, simplicity, values, ethics, experiential learning, making learning a joy are all far more important…. in fact for small children the big, imposing overwhelming infrastructure is undesirable as it overwhelms and inhibits the child’s psychology with the big imposing size and scale… most schools in urban settings in European countries e.g. are usually smaller buildings and have a lot of emphasis on experiential learning, with outdoor & extracurricular activities blended with lots of “doing with their own hands” project work..
· And the role of the teachers is not just to teach, but more importantly spend most of their time to mentor children, guide enable the pupils to think of the answers by doing their own thinking, researching, project work & by dialogue, questioning & discussions with their peers, etc. A great class room is not one where the teacher is teaching & children are listening…rather one where there is lots of dialogue, debate & discussion and sometimes project work on..
· Since climate change is such a problem with weather patterns shifting due to over usage of fossil fuels, high carbon foot print of most urban centres, inadequate greenery and plant/tree cover due to urbanization, widespread usage of plastics, it’s critical that schools become centres of sensitivity for the environment – so that they become catalysts in the required change of eco-friendly sustainable practices …
· Earthy simplicity, humility, and ability to win with humility & take defeat in ones stride, team work, respect for another or different point of view are core values, which apart from ethics & morals …a good school should subtly & continuously emphasise…and strive to inculcate …so as children grow they become good citizens of the planet..
· While scores, grades, success & winning is emphasised, taking risks and handling defeat and failure in ones stride are equally important life skills that a good school will inculcate …as life will always have its ups & downs, its twists & turns and so the school should strive to create an environment of a nursery for real life…rather than an over protected so very protected environment where the children become unprepared for real life situations… life skills psychologists emphasise that handling stress & difficulties are also important for the brain & overall development & are important core competencies
· Winning & excellence & high marks are important – but in today’s fast changing world ….the desire to learn things in-depth…with a good understanding of the “why” of the subject, why am I learning this ?? is perhaps far more important …so children are learning not just the subject matter of a subject…but the ability to learn continuously on their own …as its very likely that in the 4th industrial revolution that is on….change is going to be so rapid that any knowledge acquired today may become disrupted by newer knowledge, newer subjects & even newer disciplines…so the ability to become lifelong self-learners, where they enjoy learning is perhaps far more important…than getting the highest marks against a pre-set syllabus of a Board of Examination..
· How far should I be willing to send my child for the best school in Gurgaon….our advice is that not too far….long travel for the very best school is just not worth it, as daily your child will end up wasting a lot of time… a decent good school nearby is often better that the best school 1 or more hours away – a complete waste of time daily…
· And do I need just a school or just a day-care? ideally for parents where both are working and have limited support at home – they need both so the best school is one which also offers quality childcare/daycare till late evening, so I’m not worrying about transitioning from the School campus to the daycare centre in the afternoon….or on days when the school is closed ….but the parents are working (i.e need full day daycare).
· Also the daycare should be such that the child is not just cared for…but is engaged so that during the daycare hours there are various activities both indoor & outdoor, that the child is busy with…not watching television or movies…
Is this resonating? Or is this flagging more thoughts and questions? we are keen to hear from you…learn about your views & perspectives and will be glad to engage with you and perhaps help in answering some of the follow through or other questions that you might have… so kindly do write down below…we are eager to hear from you..
And write in to us on subjects on child education that worry you and we’ll be glad to help….
- Team – Sixth Element – the only nursery, primary, Sr School & daycare in a green eco-friendly integrated campuses in Gurgaon!