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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hyderabad Preschools - Esperanza Review

Esperanza


Esperanza is very popular among IT folks. This is because they have tie up with NASSCOM and which brings a very attractive package for parents working for NASSCOM affiliated companies. Suiting for people who make it a routine to stay back office late.. ;)

Why popular?

  • - 24 hours daycare facility
  • - 12 hours schooling+daycare plan for NASSCOM  affiliated employees (no one else can avail this flexibility)
  • - CCTV access to parents'
  • - Air Conditioned rooms (this is important for many parents especially in peak summer hyderabad heat hits up to 48 degree Celsius) 
  • - Intake: 6 months - 12 years old
  • - Learning methodology: Integrated.
  • - You can get an internal transfer between any Esperenza branches, anywhere in the country if the school is available in the city.
  • - No uniform everyday  
  •  - Aya: Child ratio > 1:5

Our take:

- We visited two Co-Co (Company Owned, Company Operated) centers - one at Gachibowli and the other at Banjara Hills. The rooms were not spacious in both of them. Rather, they were very congested and suffocating for the number of children that the room carried.

- High child:teacher ratio (Note: You should pay closer attention to the terms child:adult and child:teacher. Both are different. Make a lot of difference.

- In both the schools we visited (one J visited and the other Liya and I visited) kids were just lying all over the room and though they had separate small mattresses, they had a single bed sheet spread across and looked as if all are lying together with very little space to move around. (This is what I felt). And because of this, I could not go inside the nursery classrooms. Post schooling, all classrooms turn into the  napping place for kids.

Banjara Hills branch:
  •  The center head is very pleasant, helpful and child friendly. She treated us nicely. She spoke to Liya and encouraged her to play in their outside area for some time. (I don't know if it's a marketing strategy, but Liya liked her very much.)
  • This one was much spacious compared to Gachibowli school, in a multi storied building. But with little natural light. 
  • I checked their menu. That sounds good to go.
  • They had a big club house and dance room, very spacious but again very little sunlight. Sounded as if I have reached a big cave.
  • Weird wall paintings: I honestly didn't like the painting they have done on their wall (I had seen the same opinion of a few mothers, in some forums). Dark shades of light colors, especially the dark green makes the rooms gloomy and dark. I don't think that it gives any warm feeling for a child. You get a sad feeling inside the classrooms due to the weird painting.  (Again purely personal view!)
From Esperanza Website




  •  
  • Though we went in the afternoon on a hot day the A/Cs were off. Kids were sleeping under the fan. The Head told me that they had turned off A/Cs because weather was okay that day. 
  • A lot of stairs to take for kids to go up and down and didn't find any safety sealing on the rails. For two floors, they have carpet on the stairs. Other floors were naked with no good flooring. Definitely a point to consider if your kid is hyper active. 
  • I didn't get to see any single preschool teacher over there OR I was not introduced to any teacher. Only ayas were present. All were speaking in Telugu and they were gossiping while changing the clothes of children. I don't find it's a good habit for children to learn from them- gossiping. (This is why I said you should be careful between the word 'adult' and 'teacher')
  •  More than 40 kids in the daycare is too huge, though there are enough caretakers. 
  •  Hygiene - on my scale just above average (in regards to some specific hygienic condition I was looking for. May not hold same for all parents.)
  •  Safety - I would rate just above average. There are many more safety measures they could have taken inside the school. (In my personal view)
  • Have a good outside play area. But they should have taken some more safety measures as the school is situated at the end of a 'cliff' like area. Any child peeping over and falling through the barricade of their outside area would fall into such a deep ground. Just can't imagine. The outside area was not fully clean or dedicated for children. I saw many carton boxes, bricks etc just heaped up in many corners, those should NOT have been located in any corners of a children's play area. 
  • I did not get a complete view of their teaching methodology, they were only concentrating on explaining about their facilities. But they did not have any 'out of the world' facilities either. I must say that the head is a nice lady, who explained everything else in very detail and took us around the school. Though their curriculum includes music, activities, gym, etc, somewhere I did not understand what difference their curriculum would bring forth in a child or what difference they hold when comparing with other competing schools.  In fact, when I left Esperanza, Banjara Hills, I had a complete idea about their operations, but no clue about how do they actually conduct learning sessions. Nor I could get to see some work done by children. 

Gachibowli:

Most of the things hold same as Banjara Hills branch. But they did NOT have a proper outside play area at all. The school is very small. This branch was rated 3rd most preferred schools in Hyderabad, by educationworld online, in 2011.  But, I can't figure out how did they make it. May be because IT folks prefer, they have a good market. If you compare quality and price, in my personal opinion it's not worth it. Neither did Banjara Hills branch.

Fee structure:

This is where they take advantage over other schools. This is NOT for lower income group. It comes  Rs. 90,000 plus for an year only for pre-schooling if you are NOT a NASSCOM parent. If you're a NASSCOM parent, this is how it goes- 3.5 hours of pre-schooling+ 8.5 or free daycare for Rs. 5500 per month. Also add up some registration fee etc which is again in 1000+ and some caution deposit (Rs 4k if I recall it right), which is refundable only if you inform them two months in advance. Rs 6000 as one time admission fee. Also, they have another 2000 extra per term, which either J nor I understood what they take for. So, altogether 6000 per month with for 12 hours (including preschools) for NASSCOM parents, only towards fee. (Reg, admission fees and caution deposit are extra). For non NASSCOM parents, it comes 6500 per month, only for pre schooling. No idea about the daycare fees, as we were only looking at the structure for NASSCOM.

* Fee can NOT be paid monthly. Have to be paid in three different installments. Not refundable at any circumstance. 
* Internal transfers are subjected to the availability of seat plus fee will be in accordance with the fee structure of new branch. Fee structure may vary from branch to branch depending on the location in the city. 
* Above Fee structure is applicable until May 2013. They would revise NASSCOM fee structure after they renew contract with NASSCOM.

My recommendation: Not worth the money. If you are choosing this for pre-schooling alone, I would recommend taking a look OI preschool (Jubilee Hills) and Globe Toters, which give a similar or slightly higher fee structure but far ahead in overall quality. If you're a NASSCOM parent who mostly stay late at work, and no one to take care of children at home, no doubt Esperanza would fit in much better than any other schools. 

Disclaimer: I am just a parent not an expert in childcare. Whatever I scribble here are my personal experiences or views which may be contradictory to yours or may not hold good for you. You have the freedom to speak out and if you a parent searching for pre schools, I DO NOT want to take it as a reference for choosing preschool or daycare. I would recommend you to personally go to school and run your own inquiry. All the opinions I expressed here are purely personal and honest. Princess Liya is my personal blog not a commericial place and so none of my opinions are influenced by any offers or biases. 

1 comment:

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