Vruksha Montessori School - Chennai


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Vruksha is a school in Chennai that follows the Montessori system of education. There is a toddler classroom (typically 2 to 3 years), then the pre-primary and primary classrooms (3 to 6 mixed age group), moving to Standard I after that. The school currently has up to Class 3 (ICSE board I think). The school operates out of two buildings, one each in TTK Road and St. Mary's Road, both in Alwarpet. The school is run by Ms. Nandini and Ms. Jayashree, both of who have taught in Abacus Montessori school earlier, and have joined together to start this school in the city. The school is completely run according to the Montessori system of education, so if you do not buy into the concept, then this school is definitely not for you. For simple understanding, according to the Montessori concept, children learn at different paces, not all children need to learn 2+2=4 on the same day, children learn by doing things, no listening to them, each child learns differently, and so on. So, like any good Montessori school, Vruksha does not have desks and chairs, or blackboards. The classroom is a place where every chid places his/her mat in a particular place, picks up an activity to do, and then puts the stuff back where it belongs. For a toddler, the materials could be anything such as a stack of cups, or a set of different coloured beads and a string, a jigsaw puzzle, etc. These materials are not toys, and they are meant for development of the child. For e.g. stacking helps in understanding concepts of larger-smaller and also helps in hand-eye coordination. In addition to activity time, school time for the toddler section (9.00 am to 12.00 noon) consists of playtime, mealtime and song and dance time. The toddler classroom has about 20 children, and is manned by three teachers, and two or three helpers. My son studies there; and I find the teachers very affectionate towards the children. All the teachers (even those who don't teach in this classroom) know the names of all the children. I find them quite adept at handling wailing children, and responsive when s/he accidentally gets hurt. Parents are allowed to stay with the child during the settling in period, and there are no hard and fast rules about the duration of this settling-in period. I like that best about the school, there are very few hard and fast rules, they are usually quite flexible, firm but flexible. The school, like I mentioned earlier, operates out of two buildings, both are old-fashioned Chennai houses. The TTK Road school is on the ground floor, while the St. Mary's Road is on the First Floor. The TTK road has play area on the ground floor adjacent within the campus, adjacent to the building itself (a couple of see-saws, a slide and a swing). Things I like about the school - the teachers. They go to great lengths to make sure the child is completely at ease - the child-centric learning process - Flexibility (Uniforms are optional for the toddler age-group, if a child does not feel like doing puzzles at puzzle time on a given day and wants to go outside and play inside, they would let him/her do that, you can opt for one-way pick-up/drop by school van) - Good balance of kids with different socio-economic status The school’s building is not as large or as cheery as some of the other playschools and there is less open space than I would personally prefer, but I am willing to live with the compromise. Admission Process: Applications are called for, almost throughout the year. For the toddler classroom, admissions happen two-three times a year. A face-to-face meeting between the principals and the parents is then arranged; and during the meeting, it is less of questioning from the school's side and more of orientation to the Montessori system to make sure that parents are fully convinced of the concept. Admission is usually on a first come first served basis, and once parents are convinced of the system, there is no selectivity from the school's side.

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