After watching my daughter's development over the last couple of years she has been in Kidzee, I am now convinced that all parents SHOULD begin their child's formal education in a Montessori only! This is all I need to say about Kidzee before I end the review.
When my elder son had to start school, I wasn't much for play-school, pre-school, etc., so we started him off in LKG in one of the regular schools which has classes up to the 10th and 12th. In retrospect, this was a mistake because, being a tamilian in karnataka, our son only knew tamil before he started school (we are not one of those kinds who expect the first words from our one or two year old to be "Mommy" or "Grampa") and hence could not even carry basic conversation with any of his classmates who were surprisingly, for a cosmo. city like Bangalore, almost all Kannadigas. Moreover, many of them had been through pre-school. So, my son was mostly silent in class, very reticent and felt quite left out in school. The class teacher told us this several times but we couldn't do much about it. Thank God, from UKG, my son became the normal brat which every dad wants his son to be! And he know more kannada that I can hope to learn even if I live my whole life in Bangalore. Kids adapt quickly.
So, we decided that our daughter should go to pre-school. Anyway, she was feeling bored at home and my wife was looking for any possible break from more than five years of dedicated toddler-grooming. And Kidzee was pretty much right next to our house, so it was an automatic choioce. (Well, Eurokids was there too but not too many people had much to say for it - not even one of our neighbors who was a teacher there!). So, it was Kidzee.
They have two session for play-groups and pre-school kids, so you can opt for any one based on your convenience. The early one is from 9.30 to 11.30 and the second is from 11.45 to 1.45. Play-school, of course, is basically day-care without much learning or activity. Well, there's some basic stuff that they teach and it's all activity-based learning. But it was so good that in two months of going there, my daughter claimed she know Hindi, which surprised us thoroughly until we found out that she knew exactly that - 'Hindi' and nothing more!
Pre-school is a lot of activity-based learning, which means quite a bit of unwelcome homework for the mom (or the dad depending on who doesn't wear the pants in the family). No books. No grades. But your daughter's progress is monitored and reported so you see visible and quantified progress.
Our daughter is now in LKG. Before school started this year, parents were called for a PTM (if you don't know what this is, you shouldn't be reading this review!). They told us that there would be a lot of writing homework and that they expected sincerity and cooperation from the parents (for their own kid's good) in helping the child with the homework. The first month therefore was tough. Writing ABC ... , abc ... , 1 to 10, etc. It would take more than an hour for our daughter to do her homework.
But in two months, our daughter's progress was excellent! After two months, the homework was a breeze - only 10 mins. a day! And now, after about 6 months in LKG, my daughter knows how to write the capital and small letters, numbers from 1 to 50, number names from one to ten and many three letter words. It is a natural extrapolation that soon she will also know four letter words sooner than any other kid her age, but I hope the school wouldn't be responsible for that :)
When we talked to several other parents with kids in LKG in other schools, they said their child had just about started learning how to write. So, in comparison, I believe my daughter has been well taught and I should definitely give credit to Kidzee for that. They allocate more than 50% time to other activities like drawing, painting, playing, yoga, dance, etc. So, it is not like these aspects of development are neglected. All in all, a great place to begin formal education - only that I am not sure if all other Kidzees are the same too!
They do have their annual and sports day and your child WILL always get a chance to perform - so now you have to decide - with your son in Ryan and your daughter in Kidzee - should you or shouldn't you buy the video camera? (Ref: my other review on Ryan, Brookefields)