Maple Bear is a Canadian-based chain of preschools that has over 20+ branches in the city of Bangalore. I'm going to review the one situated in Sahakarnagar in North Bangalore. This branch is 3 years old and is spread on an area of 3800+ sq. ft. They follow a Canadian syllabus with a pinch of Indian culture added. The Teacher : Student ratio is 1:10 with one helper in each classroom.
My son was a student here for 2 years - Playgroup (Toddler) & Nursery. As all parents do their R&D in their pursuit of choosing a good school, so did we & based on the following criteria, we finalised Maple Bear:
2. Very soft-spoken centre co-ordinator
3. Every corner in the setup is well arranged
4. Hygiene factor in the washrooms/kitchen is not compromised with
5. Cordiality and impeccable knowledge & language of the faculty
6. A systematic daycare
7. Well-lit classrooms
8. Presence of a large play area, a garden & a spacious porch
9. The convenience of being easily approachable
The school claims to have an activity-based day care facility, good infrastructure, well-equipped classrooms and professionally-trained faculty. And from my two-year observation, I wholly support that.
It's a 9am-11:30am schedule for the Toddler & Nursery classes while 9am -1pm for the Kindergarten classes. The daycare facility is available till 6pm. They also have emergency daycare option which is actually a relief to parents in any sort of distress -- by far, a very accommodating preschool. For children who do not bring lunch boxes, the school offers healthy meal options. The menu is shared with the parents & there's always something new on a rotational basis.
Parents of new students aren't allowed in the classroom even on the reopening day. Their mantra is 'if the guardians are around, the children do not settle in faster.' Yes, it is very heartbreaking for a parent to leave their kid at a totally different doorstep but my son took just 2 days to begin enjoying his new environment. He always looked forward to meeting his friends and teacher.
Weekly emails are sent to parents every Friday on what portion was covered in class. And the best part? Pictures of the activities that took place in the classroom are also uploaded weekly on their FB page. How cool is that? This is perhaps the only preschool in the area that takes the children on a good number of field trips. And yes, they are all well taken care of. My son had no complications whatsoever. In fact, in addition to having fun, he learnt a lot from the educational trips. He would speak about it for days.
There was a challenging phase that my son was going through & we hadn't the slightest clue. The teacher at Maple Bear actually brought it to our attention & with their timely help, we were able to redress the situation. That's when I realised how important a Montessori training is. And the teachers at Maple Bear have, no doubt, been carefully appointed to give a 100% to their job. They even helped my son move to a no-diaper stage in the Toddler year itself.
Yes, no system is perfect. If you plan to shift your child to an Indian system of education board (CBSE, ICSE) later on - the child may find it a bit laborious in the initial stages at his new school. But then, that is purely a choice that we as parents have taken. Despite Maple Bear following a Canadian syllabus, they still do introduce writing the ABCs during the last semester of the Nursery class. That being the case, my son has had no issues at his new school (touch wood - & it probably depends on the uniqueness of every child). Nonetheless, I'm quite proud that my son was associated with Maple Bear. His English language speaking skills are excellent and has no stage fear; considering the number of activities the preschool has had to offer.
To me, the only con I can point out is that my child got quite comfortable with the personal attention he was receiving at Maple Bear which he does not get now. Additionally, it's hard for the parents to move from the daily communication with the playschool teachers to the limited PTMs at a school.