Education, Childhood,Exposure to latest trends…

Over the past couple of months I have been thinking about play school and school for Chutku and having conversations with lots of collegues about which school, what to look out for etc etc; And sometimes I feel the needs I have from a school is not sufficient when I hear from the other parents. Or am I outdated?

Sometime back I was talking to a collegue who proudly said that she had admitted her 3 yr old daughter to pre-school in a really big school which was a long distance from her home. The travel time itself was around an hour. So I asked her if the poor child wouldnt get tired of the travel itself and how she can always  change the school at a later date… So her response was she was shelling out a cool 1lakh for the child’s admission (donation) and the annual school fees was about 30K at that point in time which was subject to change year on year and admitting the child in pre-nursery itself gets them some discount(?!) too. And why so expensive – Because they teach everything there – yoga,karate,skating,swimming and guess what – even horse riding itseems!!

And a college friend of mine who had come to Chutku’s 1st Bday party also commented the same “Hey RS, start saving for his school admission from now only…”  All these got me thinking and thinking real hard.

Personally, I would put Chutku is a school that is closer home, even if it is a smaller school with lesser number of children to ensure individual attention. Also, closer home means lesser travel time and more time to do other things. For me, other things would be playing on the streets in the evenings like I used to and after a couple of years or whenever he shows any interest – an hour of some hobby class… I wouldnt care for the swimming/karate/skating lessons, I would rather have PT classes or SUPW (Socially Useful Productive Work) or Art classes for the kids like we did where the kids got to just relax and play – play in the grounds, run around or just learn to use their little fingers… Im not even going to mention horse riding here – I really find that ridiculous in Bangalore.And its definitely not about the money either. What matters to me is my child is learning something in the school, is happy to go to school, making friends and participating in other activities. Extra curricular for me means the elocutions/debates/essay writing/singing/drama/Painting competitions that we had and I always participated in. Even Band Set and March Past for that matter! Do they even have a bandset in schools these days? *Mental note to check* As for the other activities – There is always summer vacations and hobby classes – for which I would definitely encourage him if he shows the least bit interest and yes, the onus is on us parents to expose him to all these things and let him decide. Also, in such a discussion like a cousin pointed out – having these activities in school releaves the parents from taking time off their busy schedules to ferry the kids to these classes, but at this point in time I think Im ready to do it. I admit I might end up eating my own words later, though!

*Digress – I used to be an active member of the bandset and played the flute for about 5 yrs – from 4th std to 8th std and then the Cymbol for the last 2 yrs in school. And I remember my Band Master and PT master making me do the marchpast in  the school grounds to show everyone else how it is done!! Also, since the marchpast music NEEDED cymbol – there have been days when bandset practice was cancelled because I was on leave.I also used to really enjoy the zilla and district level competitions we used to attend for these. *End Digression.

So you all tell me:

Am I still behind the curve in giving more proirity to the proximity of the school to home/day care?
Am I wrong in thinking that swimming/karate/skating lessons are all not really that important when I search for a school?
Will I be depriving my child if I dont really insist that he needs to go to all these classes even if he is not interested?
Will I become a negligent Mom if I insist that my child go out and play in the evenings after school instead of tutions and running around from one hobby class to another? If he is interested in anything then thats a different matter but I would still say that he has to have some play time…
Will my child become an under achiever if I dont push him to all these things?
Will he be laughed at by his friends (Peer pressure) because his parents are OK if he is not a topper in class all the time or he is not pushed off to some class or the other? (Im just hoping him to be an average student and I will be ok with it I think)
Im not even talking about the quality of teachers here because no matter how much you pay and where you go – there will always be good/bad/average/strict/favourite teacher… And that again depends on the student/teacher relationship that will build on its own I think…*Digress here – I used to be very fond of my kannada teacher though everyone else thought she was strict.And our Neela Ma’am who was our english teacher was loved by one and all*

Would love to know what you all Mommy’s (Non-Mommys too) think/feel about this – what would your preferences for your Child’s school be?

Edited to add on 15th Sep:
In response to Sangi’s and RM’s post: http://rushmechatter.blogspot.com/2011/09/happy-going-to-school.html

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