Bangalore’s best preschools 2019-20

EducationWorld December 2019 | Cover Story

The number of preschools included in the proprietary and franchised league tables of the garden city, Bangalore — fast transforming into garbage city — is 113, highest of the 16 urban habitats covered by the EW India Preschool Rankings 2019-20.

Awareness of the value and importance of professionally administered early childhood care and education (ECCE) is arguably highest in the southern city of Bangalore (pop.12 million), aka Silicon Valley of India. The number of preschools included in the proprietary and franchised league tables of the garden city — fast transforming into garbage city — is 113, highest of the 16 urban habitats covered by the EW India Preschool Rankings 2019-20.

With India’s Silicon Valley hosting a large number of well-qualified professionals employed within its IT and ITES (IT enabled services) companies, the demand for professionally administered early childhood care and education (ECCE) is on the upswing. Therefore, pre-primary schools delivering globally benchmarked ECCE, which is mercifully exempt from the regulatory supervision of Karnataka’s infamously corrupt education ministry inspectors, have proliferated in all neighbourhoods of this bustling metropolis. Intense competition between them has raised the standard of privately dispensed pre-primary education to high levels of excellence.

To compile the EW Bangalore Preschool Rankings 2019-20 league tables, field personnel of the Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company Centre for Forecasting & Research (C fore) persuaded 694 parents with preschool-going children and 122 ECCE teachers/principals of Bangalore, to rate the city’s sufficiently well-known proprietary and franchised preschools (preschools rated by less than 30 sample respondents are excluded from the league tables) on ten parameters of ECCE excellence including teacher competence, teacher welfare and development, infrastructure, individual attention to students, value for money, parental involvement, innovative teaching, safety and hygiene, leadership quality and special needs education.

Bangalore’s best preschools 2019-20 (PROPRIETARY)

Last ranked #1 in 2015-16, the Indus Early Learning Centre, Whitefield (IELCW) has regained its #1 rank after a three-year hiatus besting Head Start Montessori, Koramangala ranked #1 last year and Neev, Indiranagar, ranked #1 in 2017-18. Jointly ranked #4 in 2018-19, Greenwood High Preschool, Whitefield and Indus Early Learning Centre, Koramangala are jointly ranked #3 this year.

Bangalore’s best preschools 2019-20 + Indus Early Learning Centre“We are euphoric about IELCW regaining its natural #1 rank in the latest EW league table of Bangalore’s best preschools. I ascribe the excellent public reputation IELCW enjoys among Bangalore’s young parents to our child-friendly curriculum which integrates best international ECCE practices,” says Priyanka Khurana, head of IELCW, promoted in 2011 by the Bangalore-based Indus Trust which also owns and manages the highly acclaimed IB-affiliated Indus International schools in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune — all ranked among the Top 10 international day-cum-boarding schools in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20. Currently, IELCW has 120 students and 19 teachers on its muster rolls.

Khurana is especially pleased that IELCW has been given top score on seven of the ten parameters of ECCE excellence including teacher competence, teacher welfare and development, infrastructure, innovative teaching and parental involvement. “Our carefully selected teachers are rigorously trained to deliver customised ECCE to develop our children’s creativity, socialisation and life skills. We are also one of few preschools countrywide which actively develops young children’s leadership skills through directed play and goal setting,” says Khurana, an alumna of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, who taught at several schools in the US and India, before she was appointed head of IELCW in 2016.

Top table featuring IELCW, Head Start and Neev, Indiranagar (in that order) apart, there’s been a major rearrangement of seating on the Top 10 table. Vidyasagar Preschool, Hebbal, ranked #7 in 2018-19 and Kara4Kids, Indiranagar, ranked #18 last year, have risen high in the estimation of this year’s sample respondents to be jointly ranked #4 in 2019-20. Fun & Learn Preschool, RT Nagar (#8 in 2018-19) and Kai Early Years, Whitefield (8) are ranked #5 followed by Neev, Koramangala at #6 (5) and Oi Playschool, HSR Layout, also ranked #6.

The other seats on the Top 10 table have been allotted to Neev, Whitefield, #7 (6), Klay Prepschool & Day Care, Prestige Pegasus, #8 (9), Green Dot Montessori, AECS Layout, Kudlu ranked #9 (10) and previously unranked Kalorex Preschool, Banashankari also ranked #9. The Bangalore School, Whitefield and previously unranked Little Elly, Indiranagar complete the Top 10.

Shanthi LokeshwaranShanthi Lokeshwaran, principal of Vidyasagar Preschool, Hebbal (VPH, estb.1982), the feeder pre-primary of Vidyashilp Academy, ranked #3 among the city’s primary-secondary co-ed day schools in the EW India School Rankings 2019-20, is delighted by the preschool’s #4 rank and excellent scores on the parameters of teacher competence and parental involvement. “Our improved ranking is very reassuring. It indicates that Bangalore’s parents and educators are appreciative of our efforts to continuously raise ECCE standards. Our teachers are carefully selected, well-trained and constantly motivated to engage with and involve parents. In ECCE, collaboration and cooperation between teachers and parents is critical for nurturing happy, confident children. Therefore, it’s very satisfying that VPH is ranked highly on the parameters of teacher competence and parental involvement,” says Lokeshwaran, an early childhood development alumna of Indira Gandhi National Open University who was appointed principal of VPH in 2015. Currently, this 37-year-old pre-primary has 882 children (two shifts) nurtured by 38 teachers.

Yet perhaps the highlight of the EW Bangalore preschools rankings 2019-20 is the spectacular leap forward of Kara4Kids, Indiranagar (K4K, estb.2006). Last year, this preschool was acquired by the Bangalore-based NestaVera Education Pvt. Ltd, a company promoted by experienced edupreneur Manas Mehrotra, an alum of the Babson College, USA and trustee of Bangalore’s top-ranked Greenwood High School. With good scores under the parameters of infrastructure, parental involvement and safety and hygiene, K4K has leapfrogged from #18 to #4 this year.

Kara4Kids“This is fantastic, energising news. Under our new management, K4K has been given a major infrastructure boost and uplift under all parameters. Moreover, we have undertaken a focused initiative to encourage our parents to become actively involved with the school. This has had a very positive impact on children’s learning, socialisation and development,” says Mercy Darshan, an alumna of Madras University and former teacher at Army School, Udhampur who signed up with K4K in 2009 and was promoted to head of school in 2011. Currently, K4K has an enrolment of 105 children mentored by 15 teachers.

Further down the 61-strong league table of Bangalore proprietary preschools, there’s been a significant churn with the debut of several previously unranked pre-primaries. Among those that have improved rank are Safari Kid, Whitefield, at #13 (#20 in 2018-19), Petals Montessori at #14 (26) and Gaia Preschool, RT Nagar at #16 (27). Debutants include Legacy School (Montessori), Hennur, ranked #20, Neev Early Years, Queens Road #23 and Greenwood High Preschool Activity Centre, Jayanagar, 3rd Block #24.

Bangalore’s best preschools 2019-20 (FRANCHISED) 

In the crowded 52-strong league table of Bangalore’s top-ranked franchised preschools, licensees of national and peninsular India franchisor chains are evenly represented.

Ranked #1 for the fourth successive year is Seed International, OMBR Layout, a franchisee of the Chennai-based Seed chain of 41 preschools followed by Oi Playschool, RMV Extension at #2 (#3 in 2018-19), a franchisee of the Hyderabad-based People Combine Educational Initiatives and the previously unranked The Bangalore School, ECC Road, Whitefield, at #3.

Maple Bear Canadian Preschool, Dollars Colony, RMV Extension, a franchisee of the Delhi-based Maple Bear Canadian chain of 100 preschools and primaries, is ranked #4 jointly with Oi Playschool, Sahakarnagar, and Podar Jumbo Kids, Indiranagar, a franchised preschool of the Mumbai-based Podar Jumbo Kids chain of 124 pre-primaries countrywide, is ranked #5.

Promoted in 2009 by R.K. Deepalakshmi, an alumna of NIT, Trichy and former Citibank, Tokyo manager, Seed International, OMBR Layout (SIOMBRL) heads Bangalore’s top-ranked franchised preschools league table for the fourth consecutive year with top score under eight of the ten parameters of early childhood care and education excellence, including teacher competence, teacher development, infrastructure, innovative teaching and safety and hygiene.

SEED International OMBR Layout“I would like to thank your informed sample respondents comprising parents and teachers for recognising the important work and service rendered by early childhood educators to the nation. We feel encouraged, motivated and challenged to continuously improve and upgrade ECCE standards. However, I have no hesitation in attributing SIOMBRL’s consistent #1 ranking to the excellent curriculum and teacher training support given by Seed, Chennai and the encouragement of Jaya Sastri, founder-director of Seed,” says Deepalakshmi.

The sentiment of satisfaction and pride is greater in the 12-month-old Bangalore School, ECC Road (TBS-ECCR, estb.2018) which has made a grand debut at #3 in Bangalore’s 52-strong franchised preschools league table. The first franchisee of The Bangalore School, Whitefield (ranked #10 in the Bangalore proprietary preschools league table) established by well-known educationist Usha Mohan, TBS-ECCR has been awarded high scores on the parameters of infrastructure, innovative teaching and safety and hygiene.

The Bangalore School Priyanka Singh“It’s fantastic for a one-year-old school to debut at #3. I credit this amazing debut to the great reputation our franchisor TBS enjoys among young parents in this city, and the excellent curriculum provided by it. We have invested heavily in child-friendly classrooms and play facilities, and from day one we have accorded highest priority to child safety and hygiene as a non-negotiable parameter of early childhood education,” says PriyankaSingh, a law postgraduate of Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, who served as a teacher in the proprietary TBS, Whitefield before promoting TBS-ECCR, which already has 130 students and 10 teachers.

Beyond the Top 5 as well, there are some stunning turnarounds. Maple Bear Canadian Preschool, Vijaya Bank Layout (earlier the Sesame Street Preschool) has made a dramatic leap forward from #17 in 2018-19 to #6 this year. Almost equally impressive is the rise of Tree House, Domlur, to #7 (#22 in 2018-19). Podar Jumbo Kids Plus, Koramangala at #8 (19) and Podar Jumbo Kids Plus, BG Road #10 (18) have also impressed this year’s sample respondents. The other seats at the Top 10 table have been allotted to Podar Jumbo Kids, Frazer Town #7 (5), Oi Playschool, HRBR Layout #8 (8) and EuroKids, RMV Extension #9 (6).

Maple Bear Canadian Preschool ShwethaShwetha P, centre head of Maple Bear Canadian Preschool, Vijaya Bank Layout (MBCP-VBL, estb.2014) is euphoric about MBCP-VBL’s dramatic ascent in the EW Bangalore franchised preschool rankings league table. “We continuously supplement and improve the excellent curriculum provided by our franchisor Maple Bear Canadian and ensure the highest quality ECCE for our 80 children. For instance, recently, we added nature and environment-related activities to our curriculum with the objective of inculcating love of nature within children from youngest age,” says Shwetha, a business management alumna of University of Mysore who worked with Capgemini for a year before being appointed head of MBCP-VBL in 2014.

Further down the league table of Bangalore’s most admired franchised preschools, the highlight is the debut of 15 pre-primaries indicating rising demand for professionally administrated ECCE in the garden city. Of the 14 debutants, eight are franchisees of the Maple Bear Canadian Preschool and five of the Oi Playschool chain.

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