The school we’ve chosen for Rumi: kahani mein twist!

Last I wrote, we had almost finalised DLRC for Rumi. It fit all the criteria we were looking for and she also attended a Demo day and came out beaming, with a ‘best friend’ in tow.

Just as we were gearing up to pay the fee and complete the admission process, we got a call from a parent who had also attended the DLRC open house with us. She informed us that Sapling Diya was planning to offer higher grades too. Sapling is a very well-known and loved pre-school in Pune. I would have certainly chosen it at the pre-school level, but for the stubborn beat of my heart saying ‘alternative’.

Since I was already sold on DLRC, I was unsure about whether I wanted to even take a look at another school but one thing I’ve always truly loved about my parenting is my ability to go that extra mile for Rumi, and so I called up and took an appointment. That worked well as we were scheduled to visit DLRC later and both schools are in close proximity to each other.

I can say with all honesty that Sapling Diya was the first alternative school we loved on sight. There is something very warm and inviting right from the minute you set foot in the gate. And the classrooms are absolutely beautiful. They are the most aesthetically pleasing classrooms I have ever seen. Completely in line with the Montessori value of orderly, beautiful systems for kids with ample natural light and clean, easy-to-maintain spaces on every floor.

It felt like the kind of space I would have thrived in as a child who loved order and neatness. We had a general tour and waited for a more detailed appointment in January.

Our second visit continued to impress us. The Montessori philosophy is exactly in sync with our values as a family. There are many schools that add ‘Montessori’ to their name and a general impression prevails that Montessori = little children.

But the Montessori method is so much more than open bookshelves and colorful toys. It is a careful thought through way of letting children unfurl authentically while supporting them with well-designed tools and toys that appeal to all their senses while challenging them adequately.

I had lost my fickle heart again! But the fees shook me out of my bliss. Sapling Diya has the highest fee structure amongst all the alternative schools we know of, indeed the highest among any school I know of barring the international schools.

Then followed a few tense days of discussion. Can we afford to spend so much at this stage? Is it even worth spending so much on the early years of education? Would it matter so much if R went to another school? How quickly we were forgetting that we had loved DLRC too, and even that price point had seemed high?

On the other hand, what do we strive and struggle for if not for all we believe in? And we believe in the value of education. And when it comes to your child, how much is too much?

It seemed like a leap of faith when we decided to pick Sapling Diya. My mum, the Brave, said “Tum karo, Raasta Allahmiya dikhata” (You take admission, trust that God will show the way).

Having the support of R’s uncles, aunt and both sets of grandparents was very encouraging. And we went ahead. It seemed like things wouldn’t fall into place but they did and how!

For Sapling Diya generously offered to have R start in February in order to acclimatize herself to the Montessori structure and settle down before leaping into Lower Elementary.

R has started and seems happy. I am wary of jumping in joy too soon as I am prone to doing but I think it will turn out to be a good decision yet.

And to sum up, what made us choose Sapling Diya over DLRC?

The difference was truly fractional. I remain impressed with DLRC and the fabulous engaging work they are doing. It all came down to the Montessori philosophy which I loved everything about and our belief and knowledge about Rumi made us feel like she would continue to thrive in a more playful, child-centric environment.

I will be talking more about Montessori schooling in my next videos.

Sapling Diya intends to offer both the Lower and Upper Elementary program (until 12 years of age). And what will we do after that? It all remains to be seen.

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