It is that time of the year where the daunting task of selecting the first school for your first child is upon you. In Karachi, they are called a variety of names: playgroup, nursery, Montessori, Kindergarten, and preschool. These are all ultimately early years programmes.
It is key to get this decision absolutely 100% correct, as the first 5 years of your child's development are the most important years and define the rest of their life. Studies show that maximum brain development takes place during these 5 years.
Social media and the web are a great way to begin your search. See pictures and learn about different programmes being offered in schools. Always visit every school you are considering, and try to see them during their normal operation hours.
Cardinal rule: When selecting the best environment, focus on the people and atmosphere, not the physical aspects. Physical aspects are the easiest to get right.
1. It is important that you meet the key people and you are not rushed during the meeting/campus tour. You should spend at least 20 minutes just observing the goings on.
2. Students are active and moving about, teachers are on their feet and encouraging and engaging students in play based learning activities. Look to see how students approach the teacher and their comfort levels.
3. Is there a balance between classroom and outdoor activities for students. Is creativity and imagination encouraged and do the staff talk about play based skill development.
4. Look to see that learning equipment in the class is easily movable. This is a good indication that resources in classroom are rotated to maintain change.
5. Don't get fooled by bright, colourful notice boards and furniture, these are not productive for early years learning. Efforts to beautify a classroom often take away from the effort a teacher puts in to working with your child.
Never take anything for granted, always ask questions and apart from reviews and feedback, always try to get first hand answers for your questions. It is the school’s responsibility to satisfy your concerns.
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