Helping parents to decide between CBSE/ICSE/IB /IGCSE – A comparative Analysis.

Life is difficult for parents of Gurgaon. Gurgaon is perhaps the only city in the country that has an extremely dynamic and fast changing landscape of school education. There is plethora of choice for parents. Making decisions is  difficult for these parents as there are  different schools speaking of different methodologies and offering different Educational boards. With most of the schools in the city being new there is absolutely no alma mater on can turn and speak to. In one of our posts we guided parents on how to choose a school for the child but parents still remain perplexed on which educational board they should choose for their child. We would be presenting below a comparative analysis on three major boards on offer for children of Gurgaon:

follow link CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) vs ICSE ( http://thermograve.co.uk/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http:/thermograve.co.uk/our-story/ Indian watch School Certificate Examinations) vs IB (International Baccalaureate)

CBSE is the most popular board of India with around 12 thousand schools following CBSE. It was started by NCERT to operate schools like Kendriya Vidyalaya and is recognized by colleges throughout India. CBSE conducts leading entrance exams for both engineering and medical colleges across India at undergraduate level. The board aims at preparing children for these exams. Therefore they focus more on science and less in languages. CBSE content is very science and math oriented with enough attention being paid to application of knowledge. ICSE (Indian School Certificate Examinations) schools are less in number. ICSE exams are help by CISCE a private non-governmental board of school in India recognized by Delhi Education Act 1973. The board is popular for its more comprehensive and complete pattern. This board has equal focus on science , arts and languages. It is relatively tougher than CBSE.The curriculum is relatively more extensive than CBSE and students following ICSE will face more number of examinations and will have more subjects to prepare for. Due to the emphasis laid on English in ICSE, students from this board may hold a slight edge over other students in exams like TOEFL. – It is recognized by many universities and colleges abroad. IB prepares the students for studies abroad due to similarities of its course structure with many international curriculums.

 IB International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and founded in 1968. It is recognized by most of the Universities of the world. Students can apply to Foreign Universities wherein CBSE and ICSE board is not recognized. Curriculum based on application and experimentation. As per Ms Sapna Chauhan Chairperson of Amity Global School that offers IB curriculum “In IB learning is holistic and experiential with a focus on conceptual understanding. Students develop inter cultural understanding and acquire skills to be global citizens. The Diploma Programme (Grade 11 and 12) offers multiple and flexible choices of subject combinations with a focus on developing analytical and critical thinking skills. Students gain in-depth understanding by doing case studies and acquire skills applicable to the real world.” Main focus in IB is on ‘how to learn’ rather than ‘what to learn’. Students under IB have slight advantage in exams like CAT, SAT and GRE because of better analytical skills. However it might be difficult for the child to change the board if need so arises. IB board should be considered as an option only by those who wish to study abroad and whose parents get transferred globally.

Gurgaon is fast becoming a hub of quality school education with leading brands opening up their brands and offering both national and international educational board. The choice that is offered in Gurgaon for school education is unparalleled elsewhere in India. Parents need to carefully evaluate their requirements and choose an option. However experts suggest that at nursery level, education methodology of the school should be a more important criterion for choosing a school rather than the educational board offered.

KidsGurgaon Team

(ref:www.infolona.com, www.newindianexpress.com)

For more information call 9999676960 or email: partner@kidsgurgaon.com

6 Questions to ask while choosing a school this admission season !

Choosing a school for the child is one of the most strategic decisions that one could take not only for the child but for the entire family.For it is the school that would determine the schedule of our daily lives for the next 14-15 years. Right from the time at which one wakes up daily to the number of days one can spare for the annual vacations and in some cases even the place one chooses to go for the vacations, gets determined by the school the child goes to. On a serious note nowadays school increasingly play a very important part in shaping up the child’s personality especially in view of shrinking social fabric that exists around. Let’s take some time out and list out some aspects to consider while taking this all important decision;

1) First and foremost ask yourself “What kind of school you need for your child?”.You want one with strong academic focus or the one that believes in and provides opportunities for overall development. If you are a working professional you might want a day boarding school over a school that finishes by 2PM. Is location important? How much time would it take the child to commute. Does the fee structure suit your pocket?

2) School Philosophy: Take out time and visit the school. Study school prospectus/ brochures; speak to other parents on how does school approach issues of learning, discipline, competition so on and so forth. There are schools that do not believe in spirit of competition and thus you would not find your child participating in art competition or maths olympiad because of the schools philosophy of ‘competition with the self’. However as a parent you might not agree with above and want your child to be prepared for world that thrives on ‘Survival of the fittest’. Evaluate all aspects of school and see if your are broadly in agreement with the school philosophy.

3) Quality of staff: The staff of the school both teaching as well as  non teaching (front desk and support staff) holds key to  how comfortable your child will be in school. Speak to school staff on what they feel is best about the school. There comfort in answering this question should tell you a lot about their commitment and connect with the school. Assess the behaviour of the front desk, empathic and cordial behaviour on their part should be comforting for you. Always remember front desk works in close coordination with the principal and their attitude should tell a lot about ethos followed by the principle and hence top management of the school. I always recommend preschool parents to meet the principal rather than the counsellor to assess the school culture, but in case of primary school that might not be possible so front desk conversation should tell you a fair bit.

4)  Quality of Parents: Assess the profile of other parents in the school. Do they majorly belong to the same socio-economic strata? Speak to them about the experience so far. Please remember most of the existing parents would defend their decision of sending the child to the school. Ask them the magical question” what do you think is best about the school?” Check the comfort and see if the answer matches your priority. You could ask about the aspect the school needs to improve upon. If the answer is anywhere close to your apprehensions,do not consider the school.

5) Teachers – they matter the most. Teachers have a great affect on not only what the child learns but also on how the child approaches the learning process. Great teachers help each child learn his/her way. Good schools invest in teacher training regularly and not consider just another cost head. Ask about how teachers are trained/updated on regular basis. What minimum qualifications are considered? What is the teacher turnover rate? Low teacher attrition means school takes care of its staff and keeps them motivated. Only a positive and motivated individual can give best of guidance to your child. Be wary of schools that consider teachers just a clog in the wheel.

6) How does school handle social, emotional and discipline issues? What is the policy of school in case of breach of discipline? Does school have it in its philosophy to address social and emotional concerns of its children? Does school have enough expertise in handling social/emotional conflicts that might arise?

There are various other aspects you should also consider like curriculum, education board offered, school accreditation etc. While taking this all important decision REMEMBER you and your childs requirement are primary, the neighbour might choose a school that is the best but not as good for you!

Happy Parenting!

Preeti Vaishnavi (Founder – KidsGurgaon)

 

Activity Classes – Are we scheduling them well!

What activities should my children be involved in? Are they missing out on something? What is my child is meant to be cricketing legend and the other who paints masterpieces? How will we know if we do not introduce them to all these things? These are just a few of the big existential worries that spiral out of the mind of thousands of Gurgaon parents

As good parents we want to help our kids learn skills, gain confidence, find interests and try new things. When they’re young, it’s easy to want to give them every opportunity. It is also important for us to make them realize that they can achieve anything, that they understand big rewards come from perseverance and hard work. These classes can be an effective mean to teach our kids basic lessons of life. However, these basic essentials get ignored in our zeal to ensure that our child gets everywhere and everything. We do not allow our busy schedules to pause for a moment and think about the real purpose of such activities. Most of us end up over scheduling our kids lives and hopping from one class to another.

 

The purpose of these activities can vary from parent to parent, however it is important to know the same and approach the activity accordingly. If your child shows deep rooted interest towards an area of art or sport. It is important for a parent to recognize the same and provide appropriate opportunities to hone and enhance the same. Ritika often found her son drumming tables and toys in a rhythmic manner. His keen interest in music, made Ritika enrol her son in neighbourhood music classes at the age of 5. Keep an eye open on what are the basic interests of your child and accordingly scout for an activity. “I have never spotted my son with a color stick in his hand but my younger daughter is forever making ‘love you mother’ cards” says Poonam. We as parents are in the best possible position to know what our kids like, what we really need to do is to stop, look , hear and then act. Some parents use these classes to bridge an important skill gap. Handwriting improvement classes and various study support classes come in handy for this. There are clinical psychologists recommending art classes for children suffering from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Some parents opt for such classes to expose there kids to new areas of skill that otherwise they might not come across like robotics, ballet form of dance or chess

 

However while scheduling classes for our kids we should take care that we do not overschedule the lives of our kids The key is to do things in moderation and choose activities with a child’s age, temperament, interests, and abilities in mind. If something’s too advanced, the experience is likely to be frustrating. If it isn’t engaging, kids will be bored. And when kids do something only to please their parents, it defeats the whole purpose.

Here are some simple suggestions to make it enjoyable for kids and parents alike

  • Agree on ground rules ahead of time: For instance, plan on kids playing one sport per season or limit activities to two afternoons or evenings during the school week.
  • Know how much time is required: For example, will there be time to practice between lessons? Does your child realize that soccer practice is twice a week, right after school until dinnertime? Then there’s the weekly game, too. Will homework suffer?
  • Even if kids sign up for the season, let them miss one or two sessions: Sometimes taking the opportunity to hang out on a beautiful day is more important than going to one more activity, even if you’ve already paid for it.
  • Try to carpool with other parents to make life easier.
  • Try to balance activities for all of your kids — and yourself: It hardly seems fair to spend time and energy carting one kid to activities, leaving little time for another. And take time for yourself, to do the things you enjoy, and to spend time together as a family.
  • Set priorities: School should come first. If kids have a hard time keeping up academically, they may need to drop an activity.
  • Know when to say no: If your child is already doing a lot but really wants to take on another activity, discuss what other activity or activities need to be dropped to make room for the new one.
  • Remember the importance of downtime: Everyone needs a chance to relax, reflect on the day, or just do nothing.

Riding a bike, taking a walk, playing a game, listening to music, or just doing nothing for a while can give kids some much-needed downtime. And never forget how important it is for kids to simply get together to play. KIDS NEED TIME TO BE JUST KIDS!!.

 

 

Thumb Sucking in Children - Get the EVIL out!!

More than three-quarters of infants suck their thumbs or fingers through the first year of life. A child usually turns to his thumb when he is tired, upset or bored and simultaneously engage in other self-comforting behaviors like pulling at a strand of hair, touching an ear, or holding onto a blanket or stuffed toy.

A child younger than age five years shouldn’t be pressured to stop thumb sucking. The majority of children give up such habits on their own before they enter school , about fifteen percent of children will continue thumb sucking past their fifth birthday. This is an age when teasing often starts, causing social difficulties for children once they reach school age.
Thumb sucking can also lead to dental problems. A child who is still sucking his thumb by age five, when permanent teeth start coming in, may develop an abnormal bite. In addition, prolonged thumb sucking can cause minor physical problems, such as chapped lips or cracked skin, calluses, or fingernail infections. Excessive thumb sucking may lead to

Buck teeth – for example, the front teeth may be pushed out of alignment. This can alter the shape of the face and lead to an open bite.

A lisp – pre-school children who suck their fingers and thumbs can push their teeth out of their normal position. This interferes with the correct formation of certain speech sounds

The effects of thumb sucking are usually reversible up until the age of seven, because children still have their deciduous (baby) teeth. If thumb sucking continues beyond the age, when the second teeth are erupting, permanent dental problems can occur.thumb sucking

There are various things you can do to help your child stop thumb sucking.

1. Reward your child and offer encouragement – for example, with a hug or praise, to reinforce their decision to stop the habit.

2. Limit nagging – if children feel they are being nagged they will become defensive.

3. Mark their progress on a calendar – for example, place a star or a tick for each period (such as a day or week) that the child does not suck their thumb or finger. Provide a special outing or a toy if the child gets through the period successfully.

4. Encourage bonding – for example, with a special toy.

5. Reminders – give the child a mitten to wear as a reminder not to suck, or place unpleasant tasting nail paint (available from chemists) on the fingers or thumb. Placing a band aid over the thumb at bedtime is another reminder.

6. Offer distractions – while a child is watching TV, have toys available for children to play with. Sit with the child during this time and give a cuddle to help them not to suck. In the car, have toys available to keep children occupied.

7. Talk to your pediatrician and your child’s dentist, who may recommend appropriate treatment ,that prevents thumb sucking.

Dr Meenakshi Vaishnavi
Consultant Dental Surgeon, Mobile: 9810856391

How to choose a Preschool or day care centre for your child.

Choosing day care centre or first school for your child is both an exciting and daunting prospect. Regardless of the qualities you’re looking for, it’s wise to start researching early and essential to visit couple of schools. “When choosing a preschool, be sure to do a lot of research – both online and in person. 4Ps can be kept in mind for a quick scan – people (are they happy, caring and engaged?) place (is it clean and safe) practices (are they developmentally appropriate and innovative?) and philosophy (can you relate to it?)”Ms Sapna Chauhan, Vice Chairperson, Amiown Preschools.

Here are some specific questions to ask, and things to look for while deciding on the right school for your child..

Before You Go:
• Ask yourself “What kind of childcare or school environment am I looking for?” Do you picture your child in a busy, active place with lots of other children, or are you looking for a small, nurturing environment with just a few kids? What kinds of specific needs does your young child have: toilet training, napping, socializing? Do you want a school located near your workplace or your home? Is the fees within your budget?

When You Get There:
• Consider if this school is a good fit for your child — and you. Can you picture your child thriving here? Will this school engage his interests? How will he do socially in this environment? Nobody knows your child the way you do, so you have to be able to picture your child in this setting.

• How does this school approach learning? Some philosophies are play-based, some introduce reading and math earlier than others, and many schools incorporate multiple philosophies. Some preschools follow specific educational models such as the Montessori Method, the Waldorf approach, the Reggio Emilia system and more.

• What is the look and feel of the school? Does it feel warm and inviting? What kind of activities are children doing? What is happening in the art corner and the block area? Are children working cooperatively, individually, or both? Are there opportunities for dramatic and fantasy play? Do children have lots of free time to run around?

• How large are the classes and what is the teacher-child ratio? Most childcare centres range from 1:3 or 1:4 adults to children or infants, and then vary by age as the child gets older. The important thing to consider is how your child’s needs and your own will be met by this equation. Assess the staff and teachers. Do they seem happy and excited — or bored?  Also, inquire about how they were trained and past experience.

• How does the school address social-emotional issues? How issues are like hitting, throwing, and biting addressed? What are the discipline policies? How are children punished for inappropriate behaviours .Do parents and teachers work together to deal with issues as they come up? Ask for specifics and consider if they will be right for your child and for you. How do teachers and the administration keep parents informed?

Some more questions:

• Request a copy of the class schedule: Is the day broken up into many different classes or does one activity flow into the next? • What are the illness policies? How does the school handle illnesses? Is the space safe? What evacuation plans are in place? Can you get names of other parents whose children go to the school? Talking to other parents is a great way to find out more specific answers.

-Team KidsGurgaon ( For guidance on finding the right pre school and child care for your child, you can call on our Parent Support number 8800668256 or drop in a  mail at partner@kidsgurgaon.com ) Reference: http://www.pbs.org/

Kids Party Ideas 

Lets make it easy for you mommies!

Its Birthday time again and mommies start running helter-skelter figuring out what different to do this year round. We present to you a couple of themes that you could explore for your child this year round. Hope this makes the celebrations exciting for your kid and easy for you!

1. Cupcake theme : (Girl up to age 10). This theme is the hot favorite of the season. Order birthday cake in the shape of Cup Cake. Decorate the party area with cutouts of different colored cupcakes. All guests get to wear a head band with cupcake picture stuck in front. Steal of the party is the cup cake decorating activity. Each child gets to decorate his/her own cupcake with sprinklers, Choco chips, icing cream. Best decorated cup cake gets the prize. All guests take return gifts designed in the shape of a cup cake.

2. Butterfly theme : (Girl up to age 8) Popular with toddlers and young kids, this theme can make your celebration look colorful and vibrant. Decorate your party area with giant cutouts of Butterflies and flowers. Give all the kiddo guests in the party wings to wear and see them running around with those. An activity asking kids to make and decorate a butterfly is very popular. Provide for butterfly cutouts and colors along with decorating material. You can ¬even have an activity to do with life cycle of butterfly. Finally a Butterfly cake sees to it that kids have an exciting munch too.

3. Rockstar theme : (Boy/Girl age 3-10) Guests are asked to dress up as rockstars. Best dressed guest wins a prize. Cake can be in the shape of a guitar. Head band making activity can be arranged for. Little guests can be asked to perform as rockstars. Music based activities can be explored in relation to this theme.

4. Ramayana theme : (Boy/Girl age 6-10) This is a great way to connect our children to their cultural heritage. Kids can be asked to dress up as characters from the epic or simple ethnic attire would also do. An elder of the family can recite Ramayana to kids asking them simple questions now and then like what is the name of medicine that saved Lakshman’s life during the war. Children who give correct answers keep on getting small goodies and goodies keep their interest alive in the story. Bow and arrow cake works well for the theme. An activity asking girls to make jewelry pieces from flowers also is popular with kids.

5. Sports theme : (Boy up to age 10) Guests are asked to dress up as there favorite sports star. Single wicket hit game can be arranged. Soccer quiz again be organized. Cake in the shape of soccer ball/cricket bat works well and finally set of tennis balls/cricket balls along with playing cards can be given as return gifts.

Other themes that can be explored science experiment, cartoon character, Teddy bear, farm animals and many more. For helping you organize your child’s special day,  call any of the party organizers mentioned in the website.

Choosing a Preschool or Childcare Centre

Choosing your child’s childcare centre or first school is both an exciting and daunting prospect. Regardless of the qualities you’re looking for, it’s wise to start researching early and visit a couple of schools. Here are some questions to ask, and things to look for to ensure that this school will be right for your child and you.

Before You Go:

• Ask yourself “What kind of childcare or school environment am I looking for?” Do you picture your child in a busy, active place with lots of other children, or are you looking for a small, nurturing environment with just a few kids? What kinds of specific needs does your young child have: toilet training, napping, socializing? Do you want a school located near your workplace or your home? Is the fees within your budget?

When You Get There:

• Consider if this school is a good fit for your child — and you. Can you picture your child thriving here? Will this school engage his interests? How will he do socially in this environment? Nobody knows your child the way you do, so you have to be able to picture your child in this setting

• How does this school approach learning? Some philosophies are play-based, some introduce reading and math earlier than others, and many schools incorporate multiple philosophies. Some preschools follow specific educational models such as the Montessori Method, the Waldorf approach, the Reggio Emilia system and more.

• What is the look and feel of the school? Does it feel warm and inviting? • What kinds of activities are children doing? What is happening in the art corner and the block area? Are children working cooperatively, individually, or both? Are there opportunities for dramatic and fantasy play? Do children have lots of free time to run around? What is the focus on reading? If this is a preschool, ask if it focuses on teaching early literacy skills and at what age.

• How large are the classes and what is the teacher-child ratio? Most childcare centers range from 1:3 or 1:4 adults to children or infants, and then vary by age as the child gets older. The important thing to consider is how your child’s needs and your own will be met by this equation. Assess the staff and teachers. Do they seem happy and excited — or bored? Ask, “How long have teachers been with the program?” Also, inquire about how they were trained and training requirements.

• How does the school address social-emotional issues? How issues are like hitting, throwing, and biting addressed? What are the discipline policies? How are children punished for inappropriate behaviours .Do parents and teachers work together to deal with issues as they come up? Ask for specifics and consider if they will be right for your child and for you. How do teachers and the administration keep parents informed? Is there a good newsletter? Do you get e-mail updates?

Some more questions:

• Request a copy of the class schedule: Is the day broken up into many different classes or does one activity flow into the next? • What are the illness policies? How does the school handle illnesses? Is the space safe? Is it up to code? What evacuation plans are in place? Can you get names of other parents whose children go to the school? Talking to other parents is a great way to find out more specific answers.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/

‘ Is it worth Being A Home Mom’

Its totally worth it. Our little one’s truly enter our world to change our lives forever. I as a kid always missed my mom during vacations. My mom was working full time and I entered day care as a 3 month old. It surely made me super independent but surely I was more of a clingy attention seeking kid who left no stone unturned to get my parents attention. I made a vow to myself very young that my childwill never ever have to crave for attention. Yes, I gave up my comfy cushiony corporate job for a thankless behind the scenes duty that may be a nanny could do better than me. But then I would have never known how it feels when your child learns to stand up first, his first word, his every lil naughtiness, his falls, his milestones, all this compensates for all the money and career time lost. There are times where I feel at loss of an identity, when I am called Sankalp’s mom but as he is growing I am trying to start working from home, being at home I’ve discovered a new me. The baker in me is having fun. I’ve just expanded my work and I am loving it. I get to be around my lil brat and yet can feel that my passion ain’t being wasted. These are my opinions and are not meant to be little anyone’s emotions, do not want to make any one guilty Because we all have justified reasons to be strong and to leave our lil ones home. Hats off to motherhood. All mothers are great for all their selfless dedication to their lil brats n dolls and experience makes me say this.

                                                                                                          Srishty Puri Gajbhiye

Mothers Speak

Pride ! Satisfaction ! Joy! The first words that come to my mind. Feels just like yesterday… that precious moment when my bundle of joy entered my world, I looked at my new born and felt priceless monderment at hoe anyone could create this miracle for me…and life suddenly was beautiful. A self-proclaimed hands down mommy- The joy of looking, caring and rearing for her, was and still is unparalleled!!   That first smile, that first dribble… That first walk, that first slip… That first bite, that first tooth.. Haven’t I seen it all. And then, a new life, new experiences, school and new friends. What a time we had, her first project when we worked together amidst fights and laughter. Those countless times when we danced, sang, orated preparing for competitions…getting ready for parties…did art and cooked, just to kill our idleness!! Would I have been able to do those, if I had been running a race…building up my corporate avatar…NEVER!! Wouldn’t we have been aliens.. and me merely a provider? What we share now is bond so truly magical. Couldn’t have asked for a bigger blessing from God, THAN BEING A HOME MOMMA.                                                                               Nidhi Bansal Sharma