This is a question that is asked in many homes as the child starts to finish primary school. There are pros and cons of both education formats and the answer really lies not in the format but in the lifestyle and priorities of the parents.
A Case for Day Schooling
Education in formative years requires an effort both at home and at school. In the two to five years age group, the role and responsibility of inculcating the initial values and daily habits in a child lie with the parents. This requires constant love and attention by both parents and maximum time with the child is essential.
Most homes today are nuclear families and in most cases, both parents work to earn a living. This poses severe challenges in allotting time and attention to a child when it needs it most. Day care centers do not and cannot address these needs. They only offer basic daily needs of the child. In cases where the grandparents stay in the same home, the issue is better addressed but still not good enough as the child still needs parental inputs and care.
The inter-personal relations and communication between parents have a major impact on children as they are most susceptible to impressions at an early age and these stay on for a lifetime. So if there are arguments and fights at home or if there are lifestyle issues of excess drinking, smoking, partying etc at home, the child does get affected which may or may not be visible in the early years.
In such a scenario, it’s always better to shift your child to a boarding school. The best age to admit your child to a boarding school is around seven years. Some may argue a little earlier while some may support a later admission. It’s a matter of personal preference, however, seven or eight years is a good age.
There are several advantages of a Day school. The child is always within view and is exposed to all kinds of information, entertainment and awareness, at all times, something that Boarders miss out on. It’s often seen that when a Boarding school student returns home for holidays and interacts with his friends at home, the difference in general knowledge and awareness of events around us is lacking. Before television, internet and mobile came on, the gap between boarders and day scholars was wider. This gap has now narrowed. The Boarders are now better informed of events happening in the country and the world.
Perspective on Day schooling
Disadvantages of Day School
The biggest drawback of keeping a child in a day school is pampering by the parents. This has nothing to do with the school but staying at home does impact the child’s development. The problem lies not so much in each home but the fact that all children are exposed to varying degrees of indulgence, depending on their parent’s economic status and therefore a child may or may not be privileged to get material benefits and lifestyle of other children. This economic inequality unfortunately leads to leads social hierarchy amongst children.
A simple thing like a car picking up a student vs using the school bus or a luxury car picking up the child vs a basic model, can have a negative impact on the student. Money spent at the school canteen or over the weekends can make or break friendships.
A day school tends to have more children per class than a boarding school and therefore individual attention to a student becomes difficult. The class teacher’s involvement with each student is only for that year. The advantage however, is that the competition is greater and therefore the pressure to achieve is higher.
Perspective on Boarding School
Advantages of Boarding School
A boarding school is a good solution to parents that cannot devote too much time to the child or are living in an area that is not conducive to bringing up a child.
Boarding schools have several benefits. Firstly, all children get equal attention and all get the same benefits and follow the same lifestyle. All good boarding schools give maximum attention to overall development of a student and this starts with inculcating discipline to follow daily routine and rules. After the initial ‘missing home’ period, the positive transformation in a young entrant to a boarding school is very visible, within the first six months of admission.
All students are kept adequately occupied through a well-balanced daily routine in academics, sports and other co-curricular activities. Students begin to love the lifestyle and many are reluctant to return home during holidays. In fact, once holidays begin, they can’t wait to get back which leaves many parents a tad disappointed but amused.
Another advantage is that given the smaller number of students and full time interaction with the teachers, the teachers develop a close bonding with students as they are very involved with the student’s development in all aspects of emotional, physical, academic or sport and can monitor the progress far better than any teacher in a day school. This is the reason that students develop lifelong attachment and respect with their Boarding school and teachers.
The best part of living in a boarding school is that each student is taught to be independent and to take care of his own needs. Each student is exposed to all aspects of leadership through his time at school and the overall development is more balanced. Parents who have studied in boarding schools will swear by the benefits of overall development of a child.
Some of the popular traditional Boarding schools of India are:
- The Doon School, Dehradun
- St Paul’s School, Darjeeling
- Scindia School, Gwalior
- Mayo College, Ajmer
- Maharani Gayatri Devi School, Jaipur
- Sherwood College, Nainital
- Bishop Cotton School, Shimla
- New Era School, Panchgani
- Welham Boys and Welham Girl’s School, Dehradun
- La Martiniere College (Kolkata and Lucknow)
- Woodstock School, Mussoorie
- Montfort Anglo Indian School, Yercaud
- Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun
So if you are at crossroads to a decision between day school and boarding school, evaluate all factors and see what will work best for your child.