Nursery Admission Age and Process

School Admissions – Nursery Vs Montessori and Age Cut-off Criteria

What is the difference between Nursery and Montessori ? Which one is better for us?
What is Montessori I, Montessori II and Montessori III ?
What is the right age to enter in LKG ?
What is the age cut-off criteria of different schools ?
Which is better – Nursery in mainstream schools or in a playschool ?
With so many questions in our minds, we began to search online and offline for answers. Below is what we got –

What is the difference between Nursery and Montessori ? Which one is better ?
Nursery (pre-K.G.) has the traditional teaching methodology which we all are more used to. Its more teacher centric and has a more structured curriculum.

Montessori is a teaching pattern wherein children have access to many more teaching materials as compared to a traditional pre-primary class. The classrooms are more child-friendly. At the same time, there is a lack of structure as the learning is more child-centred which means children learn at their own pace without being pushed around. Montessori at pre-primary level consists of three classes – Montessori I, Montessori II and Montessori III which correspond to Nursery, LKG and UKG in traditional school terminology.

Now, to the question “which one is better” – it depends. Some parents think that the montessori method will suit their kid’s needs well while some go on the traditional route. Some parents put their kids in montessori I and then later shift to LKG in a traditional school thinking that it might be difficult to get admission in traditional school after three years of montessori.

Note – In Bangalore, montessori term is used very loosely. Many montessori schools do not adhere strictly to the montessori methodology. So one would want to ascertain that the teachers are montessori trained and the school has a good amount of teaching material in place.

What is the right age to get admission in Nursery or LKG ? What is the cut-off criteria for age ?
Average age of kids in nursery is 3 years, in LKG 4 years and in UKG 5 years. Though this varies greatly for different schools because all schools have their own age cut-off criteria.

Many schools in Bangalore, specially ICSE schools, seem to follow this criteria – a child seeking admission in LKG should have completed 3 years 10 months as on 1st June of the academic session. Many other schools follow the 3 years 8 months criteria while few schools follow 3 years 6 months or 3 years 3 months or even 3 years too. Find the list of schools with their age criteria here.

Because of above mentioned cut-offs, sometimes parents couldn’t get their kid admitted in a school of their choice. For example, a kid born in Oct./Nov. will be 4.8 years at the start of academic session of LKG, if he gets admitted in a school following the “3 years 10 months as on 1st June” criteria. This seems to worry a good number of parents (including me) because 4.8 years looks quite big an age to start in LKG. For such parents there are two different options –

Find a school having a cut-off criteria favouring your child’s age : So what if you could not get your kid admitted in a top branded school. You can always find some schools where the age cut-off allows your child to become eligible at right age. Put your kids in a less sought after school where they get admission more easily.
After all its not the school name that matters most but the school environment.

Wait till your child is age eligible: If you are not able to find a suitable school where the cut-off criteria is in favour of your child, just wait for another year. So instead of putting your Oct./Nov. born kid at 3.8 years in LKG , put him at 4.8 years. Many parents do that. An year’s delay will hardly make any negative effect on your child’s development. On the contrary, it will have some benefits –
The child will be more prepared mentally as well as physically to cope up with school work.
The older child in a class will perform better in reading/writing etc. because of age advantage. This will be a good confidence booster.
The older children in a class have lesser chances of being bullied.
After all its not the age that matters but the intelligence and confidence.

Which is better – Nursery in mainstream schools or in a playschool ?
Nursery in a mainstream schools might be a bit high standard than playschool. In play schools, the environment is supposed to be more playful. The school timings will be around 3 hours in both the cases. Again, the choice depends on an individual. Some parents put their kids in a mainstream school in order to avoid the admission hassles later on (Getting admissions in Nursery is easier). While some parents take it easy and put their kids in playschol and then shift to a minstream school later on i.e., in LKG or UKG level.