What is the best school in Gurgaon? How do you decide?

What is the best school in Gurgaon to send my child to?

That is a question that you hear at least once a week, if not more often (if you are of a certain age, that is). It could be a colleague, a friend, someone in the family, or your own child. We recently had to face a different variation of this question:

Is the current school that we are sending our child to good enough? Should we change her school?

I think it is very difficult to decide what is the best school. The typical criteria that we all look at:

  • Is it new or established? Is the name known?
  • What is the past academic record for this school?
  • Is the focus on studies or extracurricular? How much homework does this school send daily?
  • What are the tuition fees? Are there any extra fees outside the tuition fees?
  • What is the reputation? Is it a rich-kids school?
  • How far from my house it is? Is there a school bus facility? Is it safe and professional? How much does it cost?
  • What is the education philosophy? Does it have rote-based learning or experiential learning or something else altogether?
  • How is the sports program?
  • How are the facilities, the classroom, the cafeteria, etc.?

And more.

Recently though we figured out two very important questions that we didn’t ask when we were looking for a school for our daughter a few years ago. And the answer to those questions caused us to change her school this year:

  • How much focus does the school have on continuous teacher training?
  • How much is the school open for parent feedback? How accessible are the teachers to the parents?

These questions, for us, became very important. You see, no school is perfect. No school will impart perfectly all the tools and learnings that our children need in their life. And we decided early on that we will always have to supplement outside the school. However, we started noticing with her existing (now previous) school that the school doesn’t focus on teaching teachers. We found gaps in how teachers were dealing with children in our daughter’s class – and feedback was received very openly. But no action or training to address these gaps followed. We had a number of students move away from this (otherwise very prestigious) school.

On the other hand, the new school, where our daughter now is, has a weekly teacher training schedule. Every week, the teachers spend over 2 hours in training. This school also allows direct access to the teacher via email and whats-app.

So, how do you decide the best school? It is a mix of what works for you from the questions above, but continuous access to teachers for feedback, as well as focus on teacher training should rank very high on the list of criteria when deciding on a school.

A nice place to host a (birthday) party

Cafe RedThere are so many options in the city when you want to host a birthday party for your kids. We used to do them at Stellar museum, but that has since closed down. You can do them at party halls, but they are always so claustrophobic – no natural lighting in most cases. We found a place this year which offers semi-outdoor seating, has a big lawn, and provides good service and prices. The place is called Cafe Red Garden Kitchen.

The Cafe is not very large, but they have a decent-sized lawn attached to it. You can book the cafe for both their covered space and the lawn and they provide the catering for your event. For our child’s birthday party, we simply planned some activities in the lawn for the kids (balloon toy maker, tattoo artist, science experiments, etc.) and the adults simply sat back and relaxed while the kids had a nice large lawn to have fun.

This place is a really good option when the weather has cooled down a little, and I highly recommend it. The food was good, the service was slightly slow in the beginning but they caught up very quickly. They are not really known as a party place and more as a cafe where people hang out. Which is what makes it different from other choices. They also have a covered area which is co-working space. You can just rent it and work out of there.

I am pretty sure that we will strongly consider Cafe Red as our venue for the next party as well.

Finding a clean, professional Spa in Gurgaon

Spas in this city have cropped up like mushrooms in a forest. Most of these are fronts for illicit activities and if you are looking for a reasonably priced location which is only interested in providing therapy services, then you will be hard-pressed. The most common searches that land people on this website are related to spas. And so, I thought about writing an article which focuses on locations which are known to be clean and professional. Below are some such places that I have personally visited and are endorsed by me:

  • The Jiva Spa, in Vivanta by Taj, Gurgaon – this hotel is situated near the HUDA City Center metro station (next to Fortis hospital). While I am sure most of the spas in 4/5 star hotels will qualify for this article, this particular one I have used and found to be exceptionally good. You are sure to get pampered by very professional therapists.
  • Blue Terra Spa – This has been a steady standard for many years. They have multiple branches and you can be sure of getting a good service. Personally, I think their DLF Phase IV location (in Supermarket 1) is a better spot.
  • Spa Soul, in Galaxy Hotel – located inside Galaxy Hotel (behind 32nd milestone) is another gem of a Spa. Again, these folks are very professional. The facilities include showers and steam rooms. And they are very reasonably priced for the quality of facilities that they offer. Try negotiating a discount at the time of the booking.
  • Aroma Thai, in Ambience Mall – solid and reliable. Also one of the few places where you can get a decent foot massage in the city. They also have a new location in Good Earth City Center near Sohna road which they don’t yet mention on their website.
  • Sawasdee Spa, in Ambience Mall – these folks have also been around for a long time. They also have another location in the city (South Point Mall), but I prefer the Ambience Mall location. Good facilities, but they are always booked also, so you may want to call ahead for an appointment.

Well, these are the only ones that I have used where you are sure to get a good service. I welcome comments from readers who have personal experiences here or any other locations in Gurgaon.