Our first born turned 3 years in December and on Tuesday 7th, we took her to Kindergarten. She looked so grown up in her school uniform. I was all emotional wondering whether to be happy or sad to see her go.
This whole complication of the different levels; Baby class, Nursery, pre-unit has been pretty confusing to me as I can’t get why a kid has to take 3 years in Nursery.
When I was joining Nursery, it was very simple, 1 or 2 years in Nursery then off to class 1. There was nothing like graduating from nursery or the fun fare of hiring a gown for a 6 year old complete with a leavers bash!. Where did all this come from (I digress)
I had been warned that nowadays, getting a good school for your child is like bidding for your country to host the World Cup, you do it immediately you do that urine test after your periods have been late for 2 months and discover that you are pregnant! Even before you go for your first pre-natal clinic, go to the Kindergarten of your choice and fill the waiting form then wait for the interview.
I therefore started looking for a school for Naomi
as soon as the doctor said, its a girl! in August last year having taken a one week off for the exercise. I had a couple of names in mind having set up the following rules
a. School should not be more than a 30 minute drive away
b. The school has to have a playground (Its criminal to make 3 year olds stay in class cramming with no actual break and a place they can play
c. Fees should not be more than our rent (otherwise we should move into the school)
d. Learning method (Having done my research, I preferred a school that used the Montessori method where kids use flash cards & other more effective methods as opposed to just singing abcd)
e. Environment – if the school structure looks like every class is usually an afterthought, like those landlords who build the ground floor of a rental house and wait for the tenants to help raise the other floors! Again, if the school is not clean, wash rooms stink, etc your child will be the hospital’s patient of the month. If the schools idea of a swimming pool is an inflatable one which is rarely cleaned again, health hazard.
With these few guidelines I set out to various schools starting with Waridi in Westlands. I loved the school but when I got the fees structure, lets just say over 100K in a year for a kid to learn Aa Ba Ca Da felt like extortion. I decided to stick to my lane.
I finally got a school after having visited over 9 of them and I fell in love with it.
What I have come to learn that a lot of money might not necessarily get you the best school for your child. Its also important to set your goal on the ideal type of school for your child.
Lastly, do not subject your child to a 6 a.m routine in the name of preparing to go to Nursery with a 2 hour bus ride every morning and evening! that child will grow to detest school which should be fun and a place to learn new exciting things.
Edit: Due to the numerous requests to disclose the school I settled for, my choice was due to its proximity as I live along Waiyaki way. I would recommend either Kids Zone or HillBrook Kindergarten. If you use the guidelines I shared, finding a good school that is within reach of where you live should not be hard but yes, it does take a bit of searching.