Monisha Sen has just finished the admission process for her one and a half year old, and heaves a sigh of relief!
It's that time ofthe year again, when mothers of babies who turned one last year are going through schools and admissions. For the uninitiated, these
tots will be in playschool now. Yes, by the time they are one and a
half, come June, these little ones will be in school for two hours every day, accompanied by water bottles, snacks and a change of diaper.
I have seen parents waiting for the post, anxious to know whether their
child has been admitted - to a playschool! This is especially true in
South Mumbai, where there are a lot more children than there are
Unfortunately, I am one of those who endorse sending
little ones to playschool and nursery. It is beyond me to keep my
one-year-old active, stimulated and interested. So I too have succumbed
to all the heartburn. We mothers have just about finished all the
research and discussions about the pros and cons of the various
nurseries. And been through the anxiety of admission worthy of post graduate studies…
Along with other moms in the playground where I take my children, I too
can discourse knowledgeably about the benefits of the Montessory Method
and the Play Way Method. I have heard and recounted horror stories
about nurseries that are supposedly popular as they start training
these little babies for school
interviews. And how important a well-known brand name is for a nursery,
and which brands are better (read: makes it easier to do well in school interviews).
I have visited nurseries that are so colourful and lively that I have
longed for my children to be able to spend their two/ three hours
there. I have heard about PTA meetings that some nurseries insist on,
and wondered if I am up to it myself.
I have been part of the debate about whether young girls
make better nursery teachers than older, soberer ladies. Whether young
teachers make learning more fun, and if children have a tougher time
settling into school routine as they go into "big school".
Or when the teachers are older, they are better able to deal with our
precious brats with more patience, and will be able to keep them safely
I often wonder whether a large class of forty-one students indicates how popular and good a school
is, or do children do better in a smaller class where they can get more
attention. I have even compared the ayah-child ratio in my analysis!
Fathers, too, are not immune to this pressure. While
shopping for the nursery, even dads are roped in to make the rounds,
see the classes, meet the teachers, collect the forms and generally
make themselves useful in the decision process.
I cannot help but wish I could do what parents of my
generation did; pack us off to any local nursery, as long as it is not
in someone's verandah! And we would meet here the same children we
would play with in the local park, and later on, we would all go to the
same schools - thus forming foundations of friendships that would last
through our childhood and beyond.
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- The Indiaparenting Team