School admissions in Gurgaon are not so simple anymore. With many innovations in the education sector, availability of different curriculums and teaching modalities, no wonder the school admission season is wrought with stress and anxiety for parents.
In a city like Gurgaon, where there are a number of quality schools, it can be even more difficult to make the right selection. But with a little bit of research you can definitely make an informed choice for your child’s future.
When you have made a list of Gurgaon schools to visit based on your initial research or recommendations, it is time for the next step. It can be helpful to ask the right questions when you meet the admissions counsellors when you visit the schools.
Here are some helpful questions that you can ask to identify the right school in Gurgaon for your child.
1. What makes your school unique?
Asking this question in terms of curriculum and teaching methodologies can help you know if the school places value on education or on simply completing the syllabus. Inquire further based on the responses you receive. For instance, if the school follows a progressive method of teaching then ask about differentiator factors.
2. Is technology used to support teaching and learning at this school?
Gone are the days of mere blackboards and chalks. Ask about smartboards, tablets, the computer lab and multimedia tools that the school utilizes to aid classroom teaching. Also, try to understand how the school integrates technology with learning in their classroom, if technology is treated as an entity or if it is spread across the curriculum to facilitate learning.
3. Can you meet the principal or a teacher before you decide in favour of the school?
The response to this question can either present a red flag or help you cement your decision about selecting a particular school for your child. If the school admissions team doesn’t even allow you to meet a teacher, let alone the principal, you must seriously follow up with a big ‘WHY’. And possibly consider scheduling a visit to the next school on your list.
4. Do the classroom assessments cover skills necessary to succeed in the real world?
Using standardized methods to assess each child’s understanding of the subject is a passé now. It is important to know if you are sending your child for rote learning or to prepare for the life ahead. Does the response include words like innovations, problem-solving, consensus-building etc.? Also learn more about the curriculum framework (IB, CBSE or IGCSE) and how it is taught with unique methodology followed at the school.
5. What is the school’s approach to homework?
Many schools around the world have completely done away with homework. Are the schools in your list still operating on outdated mode of learning through home assignments? Homework can really become a burden for students and not contribute to their learning. Do you want this for your child? Take your call.
6. What is the expectation from a parent on their involvement?
Some schools encourage involvement from parents while other not so much except for the help required to finish the mountain-loads of homework. A good school will always want parents involved in their child’s education right from the start. A good school would regularly conduct workshops and interactive sessions to educate parents. Some new-age schools also have parent councils and they involve these parents in management level talks and decisions.
7. How well do the teachers know their students?
Ask the teachers if they take into account their students’ interests when assigning projects to them. This is a wonderful question that can reveal the involvement of educators in their students’ education. A teacher who doesn’t care about students’ interests in general can perhaps help them go through the syllabi but not teach them to utilize their learning in the future. If you happen to take a tour of the school, try to observe how the teachers are generally with their students in the class. Some simple things to observe would be to see if they are sitting at the same level of a child and the sitting arrangement in the class. If the teacher has a special place in the class, like that in a traditional setup, it means a hierarchy of authority is followed in this school and you need to decide what you want your child to experience every day.
8. How do you integrate extra-curricular activities with your curriculum?
With limited number of school days in any given year, this question can be an important assessment of a school’s emphasis on the overall development of students.
9. What professional development and training opportunities do you offer your teachers?
Teachers play a valuable role in shaping children’s thought processes and outlook on life, so it’s important that they have the right mindset and skill-set to teach in a school. Don’t we all remember with gratitude those teachers who left a positive impact on us? Ask about the teacher recruitment process and expectations of the school board from the teachers. Things don’t end at the recruitment of teachers, it goes way beyond that. Try to know what this school does to train their teachers to evolve with the changing times. How much time do they invest on training of resources? How much time teachers spend collaborating and designing lesson plans?
10. What are the safety parameters and protocols at your school?
Ask if the school has integrated security system in place. Check if the corridors, libraries and cafeteria are under surveillance or not. Are the school bus drivers properly trained? Are the security guards properly vetted before their recruitment? Inquire about the number of male vs female staff at school.
11. How is your physical education different and does it help students develop various skill sets?
Physical education can contribute to a child’s comprehensive growth. Remember not only to ask about sport facilities but also how the physical education program would help with the development of soft skills and physical growth of the child at a very young age. Also, ask other related questions, such as how do they manage physical education classes during peak pollution days in Gurgaon.
School visits might be tiring and even difficult due to your busy schedule. But it is important to visit as many schools as you can before finalizing one for your child. It is one thing to go through fancy brochures and websites but first-hand visits may show you another vista altogether. During your school visit, look for the little signs, observe the students interacting with each other, try to look for warmth, examine the behaviour of the teachers and other staff; glimpse the culture of the school through activities all around you and scrutinize everything.
Step aside from the hearsays, research and recommendations on Gurgaon school admissions. Stick with your decision if in your heart it feels right for you. After all, as a parent, you are the best bet for your child’s happy future and well-being.
Author of this article is the founder of Vega School Gurgaon.