After visiting many schools we (me and my wife) selected Da Vinci Montessori for my 20 month old son to start his journey of schooling life. I was assured by Ms. Ashani, founder of Da Vinci of a great learning environment and a caring culture at school with experienced teachers taking care of my child. I was asked to pay fees of Rs. 70,000/- upfront for six months which I paid.
The school does not believe in a long settling period and asked for our son to be sent to the class alone. The idea was to start with 15min and once he becomes comfortable, to increase the time. We thought that given their experience, it will be best to follow their methods. However, even after trying for 10 days my son kept crying while going in the class, as well as throughout the 15 mins of class. The teacher, Ms. Ruchi and Ms. Ashani told me that this will change over time and what we need to do is to have PATIENCE (A word that I heard lot of times during the horrific experience with the school). Even after 2 weeks when nothing changed, I kept asking Ms. Ruchi and Ms. Ashani about what I can do to make things better and they said have PATIENCE as some kids take upto a month to settle. In the entire process I thought that they have been doing this for long and relied on their expertise. However, they were putting zero efforts into making sure that my child settles. My son kept crying on the way inside class and then for the entire duration of the class and we received him back crying.
After a couple of weeks, me and my wife decided to take matters in our hands as there were no suggestions or efforts from the school’s side. My wife suggested to the teacher that she will come with my son to class and make him comfortable. It worked and my son was fine when my wife was inside. But there was still no effort from the teacher to make my son comfortable with/befriend herself so that he can come alone in the class as well without my wife. After a couple of days, it was decided that my wife will be with my son before the class starts and then she will sneak out once the class starts. However, as soon as my son realized that my wife is not there, he got uncomfortable and started crying. Again the same response from the teacher, PATIENCE.
Then my wife thought of having play dates with 1-2 of the existing kids in the class so that my son can become friends with them and seeing a familiar face in the class (which should ideally be the teacher) he will be better. It had some positive impact but the discomfort continued. We used to tell our son to play inside and not worry as we and his maid will be outside to receive him when he comes. One day we asked him why he cries inside – he indicated that he is SCARED inside. We got terribly scared ourselves on hearing this and stopped sending him to school from that day because we did not want to set in his mind a fear of school for life.
At this point it was 4 months (there were some school holidays in between) from the time we first sent him to this school. So, in this period the school and the teachers that claimed to be experienced had done nothing to make my son settle. Also, the entire effort of finding the right school and starting my child’s education on a positive note went astray. The founder and the teacher seemed least bothered as my son stopped coming to school and even after 10 days we did not receive any call/message from them about the same asking why my son is not coming. My wife called 10 days later to inform that we have discontinued.
Any respectable person/organization will atleast at this point agree that it was their fault and apologize. To our dismay, they behaved in a completely opposite manner. They were least bothered about taking care of my son from the start and that continued in their attitude till last. When we asked them how the money part will work for we thought it was fair enough to expect part refund. Initially they said they will think about it but as usual did not properly reply for 2 weeks (even after constant reminders on calls and messages). Finally they sent a mail saying that they will not refund any money saying “Our cost structure does not change if we have one child less in the classroom.” This was when they had only ~10kids even though their batch strength can go upto 16-18. They also indirectly blamed us and external factors for my son not settling. At this point we had to fight with them and get half the money back somehow.
I will recommend everyone to keep this experience in mind before sending their kids to Da Vinci Montessori.
P.S. We found another play school for our son and he settled there in 2 weeks, thanks to the effort of the teachers there.
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