Tough yet vital call

  • The perfect school for one child might not prove ideal for another with different needs
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Mar 21, 2017-

Parents go through a hard time choosing the right school for their kids. After all, the decision shapes overall abilities of children as they grow up in a new environment and begin seeing the world from a new perspective.

But it’s a decision that is fraught with anxiety, because it’s often very challenging: The perfect school for one child might not prove ideal for another with different needs.

What is generally sought in a school is a solid academic foundation. Parents should also take into account the location of the institution, the facilities on offer, extra-curricular activities and, wherever possible, take their time to research the operators. These factors are often considered secondary, but they make a big difference in your child’s school-going experience. And it’s important to take into account the particular needs of each child while making the decision.

One of the reasons parents are so fussy about finding the perfect school is because they take it as a big decision, and one that will shape their child’s life.

Before, picking up Nisarga Batika School for their 10-year old daughter, Nikunja Nepal went through a similar ordeal.

“My family moved back to Nepal from Canada in November 2016. The primary motivation for moving was to raise our 10-year-old daughter Suraya partly in Nepal. Her father is Canadian and I am Nepali,” said Nepal. “We have committed ourselves to raising our daughter in both countries and cultures. She was born in Nepal in 2006 when we were living here. We moved to Canada in 2010 to be closer to our family in Canada. We have moved back to Nepal after spending six years in Canada.”

Nepal said the primary preoccupation for the move back was finding a good school for Suraya. They wanted a school that would explore her potential as an individual and help her thrive without focusing too much just on academic merit. They were also moving back in the middle of the academic year – not every school is open to accepting students mid-year. Although their daughter could speak Nepali and read it to some extent, she did not have the fluency of a regular 10-year-old kid in Nepal. 

“We wanted a school that would be patient in helping her with her weak areas and let her flourish in her strong areas. We explored some options online. But there is limited information about schools online,” said Nepal. “When we arrived, we consulted family and friends and opted to visit three schools. Finally, we chose Nisarga Batika School in Rabi Bhawan. We liked the school premises, small class size and their focus on experience based learning.”

Nepal said, at Nisarga, each class also has two regular teachers and participation of every student is encouraged and they have seen this in school activities that they have attended since. 

“Most importantly, Suraya likes her school, her teachers and her friends. The overall cultural transition for a 10-year-old is a difficult thing and I think her school helped a lot to her re-adaptation in Nepal,” said Nepal.

Even for Moon Pradhan, a communication specialist, looking for school after Montessori education for their two kids was a tough call. 

“We choose a Montessori school that is close by and offered good education,” said Pradhan. “Also, we consulted with parents whose children were enrolled in the school and after rounds of visit and observation of the school facilities we decided to admit them in Sanskriti International School.”

A mother of two children, Pradhan believes that individual guidance remains vital for each child and the school should make their students able to look beyond bookish knowledge. 

“It was a real hard time. Yet we were convinced with the commitment of the people running the school,” said Pradhan. “My kids are happy and excited to be in this school.”

Now, Pradhan’s son is studying in grade 6 while her daughter is enrolled in grade 3. 

Pradhan believes that parents should thoroughly research on the classroom environment while also look into the kind of teachers that are employed at the schools.

Experts also suggest that parents should visit the schools and interact with the teachers and management to understand it better. This should be done frequently to make sense of their claims of better education. What this does, they say, is that parents can understand how their children are  treated once they enroll them and if they the little ones can cope up in the new environment. 

The frequent visit also acquaints their child to the school environment right from the beginning.   Apart from the academic status of the schools, availability of hygienic food is crucial for children, more so for those who are recently enrolled in 

pre-school or primary classes, because they are more physically vulnerable at that age.

Published: 21-03-2017 10:10

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