Hi Parentree members,
Hoping you and all your family members are fine and safe during this pandemic.
We have a two and a half year old son and we are in school hunting mode now. We are looking to gather as much information as possible about schools in Hyderabad that are close to our requirements. If you or someone from your circles has children studying in schools which satisfy the following criteria (in order of importance), we would be very grateful if you could share your inputs about the school / connect us with the concerned person. We do understand that expecting all of the factors mentioned below together is a bit ideal, so the more the merrier:
(a) methods of teaching which focus more on conceptual and holistic understanding of matters, and which specifically focus on methods involved in developing a sense of curiosity to learn, along with independent and rational thinking, good moral values with a modern outlook, ability to face adversities or challenges in life, etc.
(b) mixed crowd (in terms of both socio, economic and religious background) - not just / not mostly children from elite background.
(c) balanced language policy which lays equal importance to Indian languages also, without rules about children speaking (with other children or with teachers) only in English; and without looking down or in any other way discouraging children from speaking in a language other than English, etc.
(d) a healthy evaluation system (both for academics and co-curriculars) that focuses on the functional aspects, like testing conceptual
understanding /basic skills and where effort is made to find what obstacles (if any) that a child is facing in learning; allowing healthy competition without being focused on ranking, etc.
(e) where a culture of conformity (to authority, existing practices, etc.,) is not promoted either directly / indirectly; where there is a culture of allowing thoughtful questioning, including questions from students like - Why should I study a particular subject or topic and how will it be useful to me?; at the same time, where non-confirmity is not promoted just for the sake of being different / cool, etc.,; where respect for authority, existing practices, etc., is the norm and non-confirmity has to have a meaningful basis; where there is a distinction drawn between conformity and respect, giving space for respectful questioning; enabling the child to think independently without becoming over-confident.
(f) at the appropriate ages, there is focus on bringing about awareness about socio, economic, political and other issues, including those which are more directly relevant to our daily lives and which are least talked about, like damaging health aspects with most packaged food products, etc.; focusing less on the drama (like some activists) and more on the intricacies and solutions;
(g) equal importance to sports, arts, music, etc., including the less fancy forms like stitching, folk music, etc.
(h) involvement of children on some regular basis in tasks like cleaning, washing, garnering, cooking, etc., (either in school or as assignment at home or in any other way), to help them appreciate dignity of labour.
(i) transparency and fairness regarding fees and financial matters; where yearly fee hikes are reasonable, where there are no much restrictions on where textbooks, uniforms, etc., are to be purchased from;
(j) active involvement of parents and their suggestions in decisions relating to academic matters, co-curriculars, other activities relating to children;
(k) good balance between being firm (or strict) and being empathetic to any difficulties that a child may going through; where children are treated like adults, where there is more emphasis on explaining the consequences of their actions (in contrast with just telling them what is allowed and not allowed, etc.); at the same time, where too much leeway is also not given letting a child to not be engaged in something (academics / co-curriculars / otherwise) till they show interest / willingness €" most children need some degree of push to make them work hard and excel.
(l) children are not shy to ponder over, analyse and discuss certain areas / topics, which are taboo, controversial, etc.; and at the same time not excited to do so just because it is considered cool / glamorous or the like;
(m) preferably in and around central Hyderabad (within around 10 kms radius) - like Marredpally, Begumpet, Ameerpet type area.
Yes, a lot of the criteria above are quite subjective and it may be difficult to say whether a school satisfies it or not in an objective manner. But, from experience of interacting with children studying in a specific school, some trends can be noticed over time.
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