ities. The school makes parents an important part of the process, updating them regularly on their children’s progress. Miniland teachers too work hard at preparing their students – “Interview preparation is part of the school curriculum,” says Sampat. At the beginning of the year, the school has parents “fill out an admissions form to judge which primary school they might want to send their child to later” – doing this enables Miniland to get a sense of how to prepare each child and parent individually.
The school can also play a large part in building the confidence of the child. “Anything about a stranger can scare children,” says Sampat. Miniland teaches its children to be confident with the unknown interviewer by conducting mock interview sessions with unfamiliar adults.
Examples of some areas tested:
Personal details to test the child’s comprehension of the world around him Logical reasoning: opposites, odd one out, story sequencing, puzzles Basic maths skills: counting, size comparison Phonics: beginning and ending sounds Motor skills: beading, lacing, colouring and drawing to evaluate eye-hand coordination Social and interpersonal skills like following instructions, replying to questions Confidence and independence
Preparing your child at home
Most parents use a multi-pronged approach: formal coaching outside the home, and informal learning at home. The need for formal coaching and tutoring has burgeoned over the last few years, and people now make a living out of conducting ‘interviewtraining’ classes for preschoolers. In fact, training classes have become popular to the extent that there are waiting lists for these classes themselves! These classes can be quite effective since they give parents and children a pretty good idea about the question types and question pattern of the interview and hence some insight into how to prepare the child based on the assessment criteria. Most importantly, after attending these classes, parents get a sense of how to train and prepare the child on their own.
Megha Parikh from Mumbai sent her daughter to such a class for around a year, and she agrees that they can be useful. She adds, however, that the most important aspect of interview training was that it provided guidance. “One cannot depend on a trainer. Parents should consider themselves responsible for their child,” clarifies Parikh. An interview trainer can provide valuable inputs; however, at the heart of a child’s preparation is what he does on a daily basis with a parent. This ongoing learning is what will ultimately enable him to succeed in the interview. Instead of looking upon the interview as an obstacle that must be overcome, let it become the catalyst that drives the essential daily learning process of your child.