Ria goes to school

School admissions are a big deal at around this time of the year. We were not really cued in into the process and at least I for one wasn’t even so keen on getting her into a school… she’s not even 2 yet. Anyways so we debated and debated and debated some more (Sonali and I) and finally as with everything decided to take the middle ground…. go figure out the places and decide later. So the process started. Saturday we started by looking at this new school that’s become operational this year, Goldcrest High. The school building is still under construction but they have classes playgroup to 4 operational. First spoke to this smart counselor who showed us the school and facilities. Playgroup has no chairs only floor mats and a huge play area…. 25 kids to a class with two teachers for all preschoolers. No learning except how to interact with other kids. No teaching them how to hold a pencil (as some other schools boast of) which we had heard about from other mothers (who were quite proud of the fact that “billoo” could recite the alphabet and write it too by the time “billoo” was 2.5years old…… our logic “I don’t know a single grown up who can’t recite the alphabet or write it…. what’s the big hurry?!!”… Then we met the principal of GoldCrest high and he gave Ria a box of chocolates…. our miss Muffin picks up just one from the box which has us completely stunned (she would usually pick up a handful)…. the princi tells us about his own daughters and how there was no concept of playgroups at that time and how it is a good thing now as kids get to interact with similar age kids etc. etc. …Ria sits very calmly through the interaction and the old man is very impressed…. says “I approve now whenever you guys decide go ahead and complete the formalities… I’m sure she’ll have fun here”…. met another mom who had brought her 1.4year old for admissions… very level headed people, instant connect… swapped numbers so we could exchange notes on research of schools over weekend. Another good thing they expect the kid to be dropped by the parents or maids….. good because they understand that kids that small are not safe in a school bus (can’t be expected to sit calmly on a moving jolting bus on our stellar roads)

So then we go to other schools…. next stop (errr almost stop) Avalon Academy (supposedly the best school in Navi Mumbai)….. we are apprehensive as the rep on the phone when we had called had been bordering on rude… definitely hoity toity… oh yes we’re the sort of people who don’t go by public opinion ever…. so we reach Avalon and keep driving…. reasons? the parking lot is full… there’s a serpentine queue reaching upto the road outside of people looking to get forms for nursery admissions…. the cars parked outside shout money and puke money as well (parking lot overflowing with shimmering “dresses” which is just a precursor of what to expect from the kids…. showy parents==bratty tantrum throwing kids and that’s certainly not what we are looking to handle long term)…. fees at GoldCrest and Avalon are pretty much at par but the label is something that’s made Avalon a little arrogant. And the Gulf money/WesternUnion money transfer species in the parking lot kind of made the decision for us without us needing to step out of the car.

Next Jumbokids, looked like a hole in the wall establishment, a single storey house with doubtful air conditioning and rude staff (a friends kid used to go to Jumbokids and apparently had been slapped by a maid on the school bus)…. for under 3year olds that’s kind of unacceptable behavior (for the new age parents of course it was perfectly normal about 30 years back but not now)….. so jumbo kids is out…. I also thought that “their elephants looked weird….. emancipated”… this was in reference to the cartoons on the walls of the school and on the bus :))….. we had seen amazing art work on the walls and classrooms at GoldCrest a few minutes back so the comparative comment….

Next was Euro Kids…. another hole in the wall building with peeling paint and dingy lanes…. nopes didn’t quite cut it for us….

so we came back home and thought some more….. sending the kid to a playgroup today is a necessity for one more reason. Once in a playgroup they automatically progress to the next class and the class after that and so on and so forth….. this means no stress for admissions to school after playgroup…. no donations no asking contacts for letters of recommendations nothing at all….. just get them into a great playschool and then make sure you pay the fees on time for the next 15years. So putting her into a closer to home playgroup might be a good thing for now as it would mean less travel for her and us as well but in the long run, an year down the line, it would mean frustration at not getting into a school of choice….. So Monday we went out and had a look at a few more options including D.Y. Patil which is starting it’s playgroup in the international school this year onwards. The representative was kind of clueless and showed us the facilities on a monitor…. I mean we did that much sitting at home so what was the value add…. besides DYPatil is too huge the small kid would probably be lost in that huge a setup….. the place is great just not sure if we’re looking for something that’s so so very long term….(she could possibly spend the rest of her student life at DYPatil as they also have a lot of professional colleges in the same campus and if she plans to be a sportsperson… heheheh the D.Y. Patil stadium is part of the campus…. that’s a great thing only that we were not so sure we wanted a lifetime commitment right away)…. so nyaaahh…. too much of a good thing is also kind of not good enuf at times…

So decision made we went back to Goldcrest High and got the admission form. It needed a doctor to give her a medical certificate. Any pediatrician would’ve done but we being us :)…. took an appointment with Rias doc and drove 21km to get her to sign the certificate and give the vaccination history. She was amused that we came all the way…. and had the cashier refund our fees (we’d already paid for the appointment while waiting for Dr. Bijal to arrive)…..

Going now to complete the formalities….. goldcrest high/

update @ 3:30PM: day started with a friend of Rias ringing the bell at 8:45AM…. she had brought breakfast for Ria….. puri, chana, halwa and a KitKat (oh forgot to mention she’s around 50years old)…. got ready and went out to do the admission formalities, picked up the passport pics, form submitted, cheque for fees deposited, all good…. all set… school starts on 14June 2010

7 Replies to “Ria goes to school”

  1. Very very interesting history of school admission. Ria would definitely enjoy it when she grows up.
    We all wish her best of luck and happy school days.

  2. Much as it looks like being TOO EARLY for RIA to commence attending a structured program it has come to be a necessity in modern times for the child to stay head and shoulders above her peers. Good move! Hope she discovers and equips herself with the skills to face the vagaries of the life ahead with this smart beginning. Our hearts go out to her and you people. May Allah bless her and you guys!

  3. Much as it seems too early for baby RIA it is a smart choice. May Allah bless her and you guys!

  4. Its been 2 years now. How is Baby Ria doing at Gold Crest – Vashi. My son is almost 11 months old, so doing a bit of research on playgroups – found your blog post and thought I should get your feedback at the completion of 2 years.

  5. Ria is doing great. Goldcrest has turned out to be a great school. Unlike other schools, that we keep hearing about from other parents, Goldcrest is not pushy or over aggressive. The teachers are actually well trained and know what they are doing. Again our observations are based on this line of thought that kids need to be left alone and learning needs to be facilitated, not forced down their throats…. most schools actually have exams and written tests in nursery but not so for Goldcrest. I would strongly suggest enrolling your kid at their playgroup.

  6. hello, still positive on your recommendation for Goldcrest High? I am evaluating options for my 2 year old

  7. Yes I think it is a decent school. It is working out fine for us. The fees issue comes up once in a while but that is a universal concept today evident in all schools. The playgroup at GCH is one of the best as the co-ordinator and teachers are very patient with kids and parents. You should definitely go and have a look for yourself as requirements differ from person to person.

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