Introduced in 2018, the EducationWorld Grand Jury India Preschool Rankings felicitate pre-primaries that have introduced contemporary pedagogies and practices in early childhood care and education (ECCE).
To shortlist and select progressive preschools countrywide, we invited nominations from educationists, individuals and schools themselves, supported by evidence of best practices in ten categories — teacher-parent-student engagement, campus design, nature-friendly environment, innovative pedagogy, outstanding leadership, health-nutrition-safety, future-ready preschools, design thinking, best technology integration and most respected early childhood education brands.
Moreover, we also invited nominations from pre-primaries of composite K-12 schools which have integrated and adopted best ECCE practices.
The nominations were duly assessed by a jury comprising eminent educationists Fatema Agarkar, founder of Agarkar Centre for Excellence, Mumbai; Kausar Sayeed, member, National Core Committee, Early Childhood Association of India; and Dr. Maalathi K.R, founder and CEO, Aurro Educational Services, Chennai.
The complete Top 10 EW Grand Jury India Preschool Rankings 2022-23 are presented in the pages following.
India’s Most Respected Early Childhood Education Brands
Institutions which have made exceptional contribution to expansion and upgradation of early childhood care and education.
“Every stakeholder of the Podar Education Network — parents, teachers, support staff and management — is elated by this prestigious award. Podar stands for quality and global standards in early childhood education and our philosophy of ‘Kiducation’ ensures that every child is nurtured to realise her full potential. We believe that parents are our partners and teachers our education warriors who should collaborate for the happiness and success of children. Podar Jumbo Kids is now upgrading to Podar Prep with a new Trikona curriculum based on the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Early Years Foundation Stage of the UK and Early Years Learning Framework of Australia. All our over 400 pre-primaries will have an Immersive Spa to support children’s socio-emotional development. We have also introduced the Froebel-based coding curriculum which is a non-digital curriculum that uses Froebel’s gifts and other toys” — Dr. Swati Popat Vats, president, Podar Education Network which has 400 owned and franchised preschools countrywide (14,000 children and 1,500 teachers)
Preschools which encourage and facilitate interaction and exchange of ideas between teachers, parents and children to enable holistic development of students.
“The entire Chintels Group of Schools is honoured by the India #1 rank conferred by the EW grand jury under this important parameter. It is endorsement of our belief that deep, constructive synergy between teachers, students and parents is vital for the holistic development of youngest children. Our parents trust and fully support the management and teachers to implement innovative pedagogies and activities. The objective of parents and teachers is children’s nurturance and all-round development. We are fortunate that our parents — including male parents — participate in school activities and collaborate with teachers to organise extra-curricular programmes” — Meenal Sarna, headmistress, The Chintels Preschool, Kanpur (540 children and 38 teachers)
Pre-primaries which have demonstrated high potential to quickly adopt, upgrade and integrate 21st-century ECCE best practices.
“We are humbled that a high-powered EW Grand Jury has ranked Ardee India’s #1 future-ready preschool. This is expert approval of our philosophy of nurturing children’s natural discovery and exploration skills to develop self-learning and critical thinking capabilities at youngest age to prepare them for new world challenges. To this end, the school’s senior leadership and teams of teachers are continuously updating, researching, and implementing pedagogies suitable for our 21st-century learners while staying true to Montessori precepts and practices. Our prime objective is to provide a stress-free joyful learning environment which optimises children’s latent potential” — Chanda Raisinghani, president and trustee, The Ardee Schools (Preschool: 240 children and 24 teachers)
Campus Design Excellence
Preschools which have built attractive and conducive campuses to enable children to learn joyfully and give their best.
“We are thrilled to receive the India #1 rank for campus design excellence. Our pre-primary campus has been specially designed under the visionary leadership and guidance of Nita M. Ambani, founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, to provide young children a happy, engaging, and futuristic learning environment. Set in the serene setting of Reliance Greens township, our campus is structured around three courtyards, with an open-sided large multi-level gathering space at the fulcrum. The campus architecture seamlessly integrates outdoor and indoor spaces and provides children and teachers wonderful opportunities to combine classroom and outdoor learning” — Anvita Kackar, principal, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Reliance Foundation School, Jamnagar (Pre-primary: 700 children and 55 teachers)
Preschools are judged on their success in ideating innovative, child-friendly and age-appropriate curriculums and pedagogies.
“We are delighted to receive this prestigious award. It is acknowledgment of the hard work put in by our teachers and validation of their innovations. At Kai Early Years, we believe that curriculums and pedagogies should empower youngest children with social skills and competencies to prepare them for the constantly changing world. That’s why we offer our children the Montessori and International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme — they complement each other excellently. At the heart of both philosophies is to provide little children personalised and enabling environments and teaching through pedagogies which arouse their inherent curiosity” — Sharayu Thampi, head of school, Kai Early Years, Whitefield, Bengaluru (86 children and 9 teachers)
Best Technology Integration
Preschools which have successfully integrated new-age technologies usage with students and teachers encouraged to apply digital technology skills to enrich early childhood education.
“I am ecstatic that we are ranked India’s #1 preschool for best technology integration. Ebenezer International is an Apple school and we believe in using technology to create joyful learning experiences for our children. We are focused on engaging children through play-based learning activities enhanced by digital resources that are appropriate for young learners. For instance, our teachers use Seesaw and Toddle platforms to draw up lesson plans. We are very careful about using age-appropriate technology to develop children’s creativity, communication, and collaboration skills” — Anuradha Krishnan, head of school, Ebenezer International, Bangalore
Health, Nutrition and Safety
Preschools which promote policies and programmes to enable provision of safe and healthy learning environment and emergency care facilities.
“We thank the EW grand jury of eminent early childhood educators for acknowledging the efforts of our teachers and support staff to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our children. Health and safety is a top priority for us with our teachers paying special attention to educating children about hygiene practices and self-grooming. From the school gate to classrooms and play areas, we have ensured child-safe environments. We use special child-safe paint and all toys are non-toxic with teachers and support staff well-trained in Covid safety protocols. Moreover, teachers regularly interact with parents and spread awareness about providing children healthy, nutritious food” – Vimal V (second from left), franchise owner, TIME Kids, Kaloor, Kochi (120 students and 10 teachers)
For early childhood education leaders of preschools who have displayed outstanding leadership in upgrading and improving their institutions.
“I am delighted and humbled that The Gurukul, Crossings Republik is ranked #1 for outstanding leadership. I dedicate this award to our management and teachers who collaborate to achieve institutional goals. I am especially thankful to the management for providing teachers full support and freedom to innovate child-centred and experiential pedagogies. I believe in participatory leadership that involves and motivates teachers to deliver balanced holistic education” — Sushmita Ahlawat, head of school, The Gurukul, Crossings Republik, Ghaziabad (300 children and 30 teachers)
Preschools which have environment-friendly campuses and promote classes / activities in open, outdoor green spaces.
“We are delighted that your EW Grand Jury of eminent educationists has ranked TBA Elements India’s #1 nature-friendly preschool. Since we promoted this preschool in 2020, it has been our conscious endeavour to restrict our carbon footprint to the bare minimum and be close to nature in terms of campus facilities and pedagogies. Our school is sited on a two-acre campus of which 80 percent is open green area. We provide a play area, skating rink, vegetable garden patch, bright well-ventilated classrooms and an open sky amphitheatre. Peacocks, sparrows and parakeets are some frequent visitors on the campus. We have also introduced a post-Covid ‘Learning beyond classroom’ programme for children to learn experientially through outdoor nature activities” — Anjana Kamath, principal, TBA Elements Preschool, Mangaluru (78 children and ten teachers)
Design Thinking Leaders
Preschools demonstrating extraordinary capability to break away from rote learning, and adopt pedagogies which encourage development of children’s creative thinking, collaborative and problem-solving skills.
“It’s a proud moment for us to be ranked India’s #1 preschool in the category of Design Thinking. I thank our incredible teachers, students, parents and support staff for their continuous efforts to reinvent foundational learning by incorporating new-age pedagogies and practices. We have adopted a two-pronged approach to integrate design thinking into pre-primary education. First, we have ideated, prototyped and tested pedagogies that work best for children. Secondly, our teachers guide children to learn problem-solving using the design thinking model of empathising, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. For instance, in an activity to encourage eco-friendliness, our children redesign discarded bottles, utensils, containers as plant pots and sprinklers using the design thinking approach” — Rashmi Minocha, principal, Little One, The Jaipuria Preschool, Ghaziabad (125 children and 15 teachers)