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Pune’s best preschools 2015

EducationWorld December 15 | Cover Story EducationWorld

There’s been a spurt in the number of preschools promoted to cater to the rising demand from IT and new-age industry professionals. C fore field researchers interviewed 609 parents and teachers/principals in Pune to evaluate preschools in three separate categories. Here are Pune’s best preschools for the year 2015:

Prriety Gosalia, Leapbridge International The second largest academic and industrial hub (after Mumbai) of Maharashtra, Pune (pop. 9 million) is fast emerging as a centre of high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE). Over the past decade in particular, there has been a spurt in the number of preschools promoted to cater to the huge demand for professionally administered ECCE from upwardly mobile IT and new-age industry professionals in this fast-expanding city. As a result, the number of pre-primaries rated and ranked for the first time in three new categories — proprietary, franchise, pre-primaries of composite schools — of the EW Pune Preschool Rankings 2015 has increased to 32 from a mere 10 in 2014.

Owned/Proprietary

Ranked Pune’s #1 among all preschools genres in 2014, it’s unsurprising that Leapbridge International Preschool, Kalyani Nagar (estb.2009) is ranked #1 in the discrete category of proprietary schools this year. A close second in this category is the 31-year-old Primrose Nursery sited in Pune’s upscale Koregaon Park, which was ranked #3 last year, followed by Vivero International, Kalyani Nagar ranked #3 this year (#6 in 2014) and Leapbridge International, Aundh at #4. Quite obviously, young parents prefer to send their children to owned/proprietary schools which dominated the 2014 league table.

Though delighted that two of its preschools are ranked among the Top 4 in the city, Prriety Gosalia, chief executive officer of the Leapbridge International Group of six preschools in Pune and one in Mumbai (Leapbridge, Sion is ranked #4 in the Mumbai proprietary league table), is unsure about the utility of the sub-division exercise. “Although the new categorisation will enable parents to discern the difference between owned, franchised and pre-primaries of larger schools, it may also confuse them if two schools in the same area top the rankings in their respective categories. Rankings should be based on the quality of preschool education provided regardless of management structure. Nevertheless, we are happy the new classification hasn’t affected our pre-eminent ranking. In Leapbridge, our focus is on selecting the best qualified teachers and continuously training them in latest ECCE pedagogies,” says Gosalia, a child psychology, education management, and multiple intelligences alumna of Bombay University, and the Multiple Intelligences Institute, Singapore.Sandeep Goenka, Spring Buds International

Debuting in the Top 5 table of Pune’s proprietary preschools is Spring Buds International School, Nagar Road, a constituent of the Spring Buds group of four preschools in Mumbai and one in Indore with an aggregate enrolment of 4,000 youngest children.

Ranked #2 on the infrastructure parameter, Spring Buds spreads across 15,000 sq. ft, offers its 200 children air-conditioned classrooms, a 1:8 teacher-pupil ratio, sand and water play facilities, soft gym and continuous CCTV surveillance. “It’s gratifying to learn that our efforts to provide high-quality early childhood education in safe, modern and inspiring learning environments is appreciated in Pune. I am really pleased about our high rating on the parameter of infrastructure as providing child-friendly facilities is a top priority,” says Sandeep Goenka, managing trustee of the Citizens Welfare Association, a Mumbai-based trust which runs the Spring Buds group of preschools and the C.P. Goenka International primary-secondaries in Mumbai, Pune and Indore.

Following Spring Buds at #6 is another previously unranked preschool — Victorious Kidss Educares, Kharadi (estb.1997). The entry of these two previously unranked preschools has dislodged SERRA International Preschool, Aundh (#7) from its high #2 rank of 2014. Sapling Nursery, Ram Indu Park ranked #8 (7) and Orange Ivy Play School, Viman Nagar #9 (4) have also ceded some ground. The Top 11 league table of Pune’s premier proprietary preschools is completed by the two branches of Jumpstart Preschool at Karve Road and Shivajinagar.

Franchised

Kangaroo Kids, AnudhUnder the new taxonomy, several previously bottom-ranked as well as unranked franchisees of national ECCE chains have made it to the top table of franchised preschools this year. Topping Pune’s best franchised preschools league table 2015 comprising 12 pre-primaries are the previously unranked Kangaroo Kids, Aundh (KK-A) followed by EuroKids, Kalyani Nagar and Podar Jumbo Kids, Chinchwad at #3.

Tejaswini Patil, principal of KK-A is evidently pleased with the new taxonomy which has given Pune’s franchised preschools their place in the sun. “It makes good sense to compare apples with apples and not all types of fruits. It’s so fulfilling to know that KK-A has been ranked #1 on six of the 10 parameters among the city’s franchised schools. Our #1 rank on teacher competence and development is our due as our teachers are articulate, committed, and passionate about nurturing and developing every child’s potential. Also the top rank on the special needs parameter is a reaffirmation of our policy of integrating special needs children into mixed classrooms from playgroup onwards,” says Patil, a commerce and business management alumna of Pune University and director of KK-A (estb.2011).

The division of the composite table of yesteryear has also improved the status of Little Millennium, Viman Nagar which was ranked #9 last year and #4 this year, as also Tree House, Aundh which has moved up to #5 (#8). Promoted in 2010, Tree House, Aundh is a franchisee of the Mumbai-based eponymous preschool chain, and is ranked #1 on the parameter of safety and hygiene. “The Tree House franchise network has grown exponentially in Pune with 32 affiliated preschools operational in the city. It indicates that our curriculum which combines playway and Montessori pedagogies is a hit with the parents’ community.Supriya Kumar, Tree House Anudh

Moreover, our #1 ranking on the parameter of safety and hygiene reflects the great attention we pay to the well-being of our children,” says Supriya Kumar, an economics alumna of Magadh (Bihar) University with a diploma in early childhood care and education from IGNOU and head of Tree House, Aundh which has an enrolment of 100 children instructed by eight teachers.

Further down the league table, several other franchisees of national chains have debuted. Maple Bear Canadian Preschool, Baner Road, a franchisee of the Delhi-based Maple chain of 75 preschools, is ranked #7 while Sesame Street Preschool, Wakad — a franchisee of the eponymous chain with 22 preschools countrywide — is ranked #10.

Pre-primaries of K-12 schools

Promoted in 2013 by the Indus Trust which has also established IBO-affiliated Indus International schools in Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad — all ranked among the Top 10 international day-cum-boarding schools in the EW India School Rankings 2015 — the Indus Early Learning Centre, Koregaon Park (IELC-KP) is ranked #1 in the newly introduced category of pre-primaries of K-12 schools. The two-year-old feeder pre-primary of the top-ranked IIS, Pune, is also ranked #1 on seven of ten parameters of ECCE excellence — competence of teachers, teacher welfare and development, parental involvement, leadership quality, innovative teaching, infrastructure provision, and individual attention to students.

Monisha Pandit, IELC“We are super excited that IELC-KP has been voted Pune’s #1 pre-primary in this newly-introduced category. It’s public recognition of the hard work our teachers have put in over the past two years. Our curriculum and pedagogy are rooted in the IBO philosophy of inquiry-based learning which enables our children to be fully prepared for the IBO’s primary years’ programme. Moreover, like our parent IIS-Pune we pay great attention to teacher training and development and parental involvement. Hence our top ranks on the parameters of teacher competence, innovative teaching and parental involvement,” says Monisha Pandit, an alumna of Mysore University who taught at Bangalore’s Vidyashilp Academy and the Wimbledon RutLish Boys School, London before being appointed head of IELC-KP in 2013. Currently, this preschool has 100 children mentored by 16 teachers on its muster rolls.

The other seats at the Top 5 table are occupied by the pre-primaries of Mercedes Benz International, St. Mary’s, Bishop’s, Kalyani Nagar and Vibgyor Kids, NIBM Road – whose parent schools are also top-ranked in the EW India School Rankings 2015. Jumana Gari, principal of Vibgyor Kids — the pre-primary of the CISCE and CIE (UK)-affiliated Vibgyor High, NIBM Road (estb. 2004) — welcomes the inclusion of pre-primaries of composite schools in the EW India Preschool Rankings 2015.Jumana Gari, Vibgyor High

“The new classification is rational and the inclusion of pre-primaries of K-12 schools was overdue. Most parents prefer to admit their children in pre-primaries of composite schools as it saves them the pain of seeking admission in higher classes which is always more difficult. And from the school’s viewpoint it makes sense to admit children in pre-primary classes as we can prepare them for our own schools to ensure smooth transition into primary classes. In Vibgyor Kids, our curriculum and pedagogy is in sync with Vibgyor High’s  philosophy of nurturing critical thinkers and making teaching-learning a stress-free, fun-filled experience,” says Gari, a graduate of Mumbai University with over 16 years of teaching experience who was appointed principal of Vibgyor Kids, in 2009. Currently, this preschool has an enrolment of 343 children in the 2.5-6 years age group tutored by 38 teachers.

The inaugural Top 10 league table of pre-primaries of composite schools, is completed by preschools of Bishop’s School, Camp (#6); DPS, Pune (7); Symbiosis International School (8); Pawar Public School (9) and Abhinava Vidyalaya (10).

To read Pune’s best preschools league table visit:

Also read: Pune’s top-ranked preschools 2016

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