The number of preschools — proprietary and franchised — ranked in the EW Ahmedabad league table has risen from 26 in 2017-18 to 34 in 2019-20 with ten new pre-primaries debuting this year. Here are Ahmedabad’s best preschools 2019-20.
The early childhood care and education (ECCE) sector in Ahmedabad (pop. 5.7 million) is humming with activity. With parental awareness about the importance of professionally administered ECCE within the city’s middle and upper middle classes rising daily, a new tribe of edupreneurs have stepped forward to meet the demand for contemporary — proprietary and franchised — English-medium preschools in the commercial capital of the western seaboard state of Gujarat (pop. 69 million). Moreover, with the state’s BJP government having ill-advisedly enacted the Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017 which caps annual school fees at Rs.30,000, edupreneurs are opting to invest in early childhood education as it offers freedom from government interference.
Consequently, the number of preschools — proprietary and franchised — ranked in the EW Ahmedabad league table has risen from 26 in 2017-18 to 34 in 2019-20 with ten new pre-primaries debuting this year. And uniquely, the city is emerging as the hub of several homegrown franchisor preschool chains including Kalorex, Shanti Juniors and Rangoli which are signing up franchisees statewide as well as in neighbouring Rajasthan and Maharashtra. For instance, Rangoli has 75-plus franchised preschools in Gujarat and Maharashtra and Shanti Juniors has 350 in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.
To rate and rank the textile city’s most admired preschools in the proprietary and franchised categories in 2019-20, the Delhi-based research company Centre for Forecasting and Research (C fore) interviewed 511 parents with at least one preschool-going child and 67 ECCE educators in Ahmedabad.
Although the 2019-20 league table of Ahmedabad’s best proprietary preschools has been shaken up, the 578 sample respondents have reaffirmed Redbricks Early Years Centre, Satellite (estb.2009) as the city’s #1 pre-primary for the fourth year in succession with top scores on nine of the ten parameters of ECCE excellence including teacher competence, professional development, innovative teaching and leadership.
Vedant International Preschool, Maninagar is promoted to #2 (#4 in 2018) while Olive Green Kids School, Navarangpura (2) and Rising Kids Preschool, Bapunagar (3) are jointly ranked #3. The previously unranked Satellite School for Children has made an impressive debut at #4 followed by Bodakdev School for Children, which has retained its #5 rank jointly with the previously unranked Toddler’s Den, Bodakdev.
“It is a great achievement for Redbricks to be ranked #1 by this year’s informed sample respondents as well. Our top scores on nine of ten parameters is the outcome of our adherence to our core principle — fulfilling young children’s needs in a developmentally appropriate manner. Since inception, a sharp focus on implementing age-appropriate ECCE pedagogies has helped us achieve excellence. This year, we organised two Reggio-inspired exhibitions displaying children’s projects in public art galleries in Ahmedabad, which received rave reviews from a stream of visitors. I believe these exhibitions served to impact the value of developmentally appropriate early childhood education. We will continue to do our best in the service of young children to brighten their future,” says Renita Handa, an alumna of St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad and Bentley University, USA and promoter-director of Redbricks Early Years Centre which has an enrolment of 287 children and 30 teachers.
Likewise, Rutvi Vyas, founder-principal of the Vedant International Preschool, Maninagar (VIP, estb.2014), is delighted that this year’s sample respondents have promoted VIP to #2 with excellent scores under the parameters of special needs education, teacher competence and infrastructure provision.
“We are blessed and grateful for the honour bestowed upon our preschool by your informed respondents. VIP’s steady rise in the EW league tables is the result of continuous training programmes for our teachers, constant resetting of the school’s goals, regular monitoring of students’ development and provision of child-friendly infrastructure. I’m especially pleased about our top score under the parameter of special needs education because we strongly believe in inclusiveness and are one of few preschools in the city to have a certified special needs educator on our staff to mentor children with learning disabilities. We hope to grow the Vedant network through the owned and franchised model,” says Vyas, a commerce and education postgrad of Gujarat and SNDT (Mumbai) universities. Currently, VIP has 600 children in the age group two-six years and 60 teachers on its muster rolls.
However, the highlight of the Top 5 table of proprietary pre-primaries is the spectacular debut of two previously unranked preschools — Satellite School for Children at #4 and Toddler’s Den, Bodakdev at #5 (its affiliate Toddler’s Den, Bandra has also made a commendable debut at #5 in the Mumbai proprietary preschools rankings, see p.56). But when contacted by your correspondent, Deepanshu Arora, co-founder of Toddler’s Den, Bokadev, declined to comment because he doesn’t “agree with the survey methodology”. “Toddler’s Den, Bokadev is based in one of the largest early years campuses in the world and is the #1 preschool in Ahmedabad,” he informed EducationWorld.
The debut of these two preschools in the Top 5 has prompted a major reshuffle in the seating order on the 20-strong league table of Ahmedabad’s proprietary preschools this year. Shanti Juniors, Prahaladnagar has slipped to #6 (#5 in 2018) and is tied with the previously unranked Tulip Kindergarten, Bopal. Super Wings Preschool, Thaltej (8) is jointly ranked #7 with 9kids, Memnagar (6). Smart Kids, Maninagar has risen in public esteem and is ranked #8 (12) jointly with the previously unranked Kalorex Preschool, Ghatlodia.
The Top 10 table is completed by Little Wings Holistic Childhood Centre, Bopal, jointly ranked #9 (7) with Thumbelina Nursery & KG School, Naranpura and Lakshaya Preschool, Bodakdev at #10 (11).
The 2019-20 trend of previously unranked preschools making favourable debuts continues with four preschools gatecrashing the 20-strong league table of Ahmedabad’s best proprietary preschools. They include Joy Jumperz Preschool, Satellite at #11, Anand Niketan Joeys, Ambli Campus #12, Apple Global School, Sanand at #13 and My First Gurukul, Income Tax Society #14.
The distinguishing feature of the 2019-20 league table of Ahmedabad’s top-ranked franchised preschools is that franchisees of homegrown Gujarat-focused chains are giving national and transnational chains stiff competition. For instance, while the Mumbai-based pan-India ECCE major EuroKids has five preschools represented in the 14-strong league table, the Ahmedabad-based Kalorex has a representation of four.
Unsurprisingly, during the past four years, the tussle for top-rank in the EW Ahmedabad franchised preschools league table is between the franchisees of these two chains. For three years since 2014-15, EuroKids, Satellite was adjudged the city’s #1 preschool. But in 2018-19, Kalorex, Maninagar was voted #1. This year again, the race is close with Kalorex, Maninagar finishing a nose ahead to be crowned the #1 franchised preschool of the textile city. Kalorex M’s top scores are under the parameters of teacher competence, teacher welfare and development, infrastructure, individual attention to students, innovative teaching and value for money.
“I believe it’s the diligence and commitment of our teachers that has helped us remain at the top. To be able to provide an enriching learning environment for young children, all parameters of ECCE excellence need equal attention. Therefore, though I’m proud that your respondents have ranked us #1 for teacher competence, innovative teaching and infrastructure, I believe we also deserve top-rank for parental involvement and safety and hygiene,” says Mrunal A. Desai, a business management postgrad of the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and director of Kalorex, Maninagar which has an enrolment of 183 students mentored by 17 teachers.
Ranked #2 again this year, EuroKids, Satellite is awarded best scores for parental involvement, leadership, special needs education and safety and hygiene. Following closely is Rangoli Preschool, Bopal at #3 and Kalorex Preschool, Isanpur at #4 — both of whom have retained their 2018-19 rankings. Though this year’s sample respondents have not changed the Top 4 order, further down the table, they’ve given huge promotions to several preschools including The Tree House, Satellite, from #9 in 2018-19 to #5 this year, Rangoli Preschool, Bhuyangdev to #7 (11) and EuroKids Gurukul, Memnagar to #8 (11).
Vidhi N. Patel, director of Rangoli Preschool, Bhuyangdev, is exhilarated that this three-year-old preschool is now ranked among Ahmedabad’s Top 10. “We are very pleased with this news. I want to thank our teachers and parents who have cooperated and collaborated to create a nurturing and joyful environment for our children. The curriculum provided to franchisees by Rangoli is excellent for developing children’s cognition through play and activity-based pedagogies. Our Top 10 ranking this year has energised and motivated all of us to improve and aim for a higher position next year,” says Patel, an alumna of Hemchandra North Gujarat University, Patan who signed up as a franchisee of Rangoli Preschool in 2016. Currently, the school has 100 children mentored by seven teachers.
The Top 10 table is completed by EuroKids, Vastrapur, ranked #9 (5) and Kalorex (Siksha Academy), Nikol, which has retained its #10 rank jointly with Vedant International Preschool, Bopal.