This time last year was madness. Sheer madness. We were running around and breaking our heads. This, for choosing the right school for our kids. There were umpteen schools around our place. But, there were too many factors that our minds were weighing.
No rote learning. No state board. All round development. No one-building school. Big playground(s). No exams for the first few years. No writing lessons that break the kids’ hands. No mugging-up business. And so on. And on.
Finally, when we zeroed in on a school which possessed all the above characteristics, it was too far away from our dwelling. We had a big trade-off-to-be-done before us. Should we give in to the distance or to the good school? Will the kids be able to travel almost an hour one way and still remain well and energetic? Should we just get them to go to the nearby school although they provide an A4 sheet which has to have a hundred as written every day? Or, should we move our belongings (which we had just then shifted to a place of our own) to a place closer by to our much-liked school?
Questions. Questions. And, more questions. That was a bit pessimistic. Rather, choices. Choices. And, more choices. Finally, after a lot of deliberation between us and a word of caution from our parents, we chose to take the plunge. We gave in to the distance. We put them in the school we liked and made the kids travel a lot.
The first few days of schooling saw a very apprehensive mother in me. Although I’ve read various parenting ideologies about ‘children adapt better to newer environments’, facing it as a mother is always anxiety inducing. Added to it was the fact of longer travel travails. Also, that the daughter had a bit of motion-sickness. So, everyday along with biscuits and breakfast, I had to pack plastic bags in case she pukes. I avoided giving them milk lest they turn puke-y. Like always, the manuals won; and the mother lost. Just that the mother was more than happy to lose, this time around.
Now, after almost six months of schooling, I can afford to say that our gamble has paid off. Well. The kids love the bus rides. They love their school.
Why, you ask. Simple. They are happy at the school. They have no pressure at all, whatsoever. Even the little bit of strictness that I impose at home is absent at school. The kids are read to. They are told stories. They are taken to a park nearby every week. They are allowed to play in the sand every day. They’ve songs sung to them. They learn to sew. They’re given empty sheets of paper and crayons to ‘play’ with. They have small bean bags to make. They learn counting with toys. They have blocks to build. They are let loose to do things that they wish to. They have no fixed schedules.
The most important of all, their teachers never snap at them for anything. Of course, they are given time-outs if they chirp during snack time. But if they feel sleepy during story time, they are not reprimanded but are allowed to sleep. If a child loves to stand and stare during play time, they are left to themselves; and not forced to play. Kids are treated as kids; not as some mechanical engine in an assembly line setting.
This, is enough for the kids to throw tantrums to go to school, even when they are sick. And, this is enough for the parents in us to stand vindicated of our choice of school.
Indu is a dreamer by nature; a (former) chartered accountant by profession; and a writer by passion. Her life right now, revolves around her four year old twin boy and girl. The two naughty siblings love to play their pranks on her every day, making her both smile and wince at once. She loves to leave a trail of her life at her blog here.