The Bard, a poem by William Gray, reminded us that a name by itself means nothing. It's what's behind the name that really matters. Nowadays, we hear a lot about international schools and play schools in the field of education. What are they really? What is an international school and what exactly makes it international? Does mere inclusion of word international in a school’s name makes it an international school? How exactly is play school different from a conventional nursery? Let’s find answers to these questions today.

What is an international school?

In order to be considered an actual international school, it is widely agreed that a school generally follows a national or international curriculum different from that of the host country. Additionally, an emphasis is placed on international education with such programs as the International Baccalaureate(IB) and global citizenship.

These schools cater mainly to students who are not nationals of the host country, such as the children of the staff of international businesses, international organizations, foreign embassies, missions, or missionary programs. Many local students also attend these schools to obtain global exposure or for pursuing higher education in a foreign country.

International Association of School Librarianship, at their 2009 conference in Italy, outlined a list of criteria for a school to be described as an international school. They noted that although all international schools may not meet all criteria, a majority of the eight specified criteria should be met. Following are the eight specified criteria

  1. Transferability of students’ education across international schools
  2. A moving population (higher than in national public schools)
  3. Multinational and multilingual student body
  4. An international curriculum i.e. IB
  5. International accreditation
  6. A transient and multinational teacher population
  7. Non-selective student enrollment
  8. Usually English or bilingual as the language of instruction

But, not everyone agrees with the above criteria. “It’s not where the students come from, but how the education program is delivered. If the school’s mission is to deliver international education and produce global citizens then it’s an international school,” said the superintendent of a famous international school. He further added that more leeway be given to the accrediting body. This is true in India’s case. In addition to the international accreditation organizations, best international schools in India are accredited by our country’s Ministry of Education.

What is a play school?

A play school, is on an average, a three-hour programme every day designed for those in the age group of 18 months- 2 ½ years whereas a preschool, which is also for a similar period, is for those in the age group of 2 ½- 3 ½ years. The programs of play school are structured for working parents to keep the children on a part-time day care.

Play schools provide children with a culturally sound environment, right values, love and protection needed for a healthy body, mind and soul. Although differing from one play school to another, the activities in which children participate are

  1. Storytelling
  2. ole play/dramatization
  3. Recitation
  4. Splash pool play
  5. Hand painting

These fun filled, entertaining and knowledgeable activities promote all round skill development while also maintaining the elements of joy, excitement, health, good values and interaction with one another. These activities bring out the best in every child. Play schools focus on holistic development of every child through play activities and collaborative group work. Top play schools in India provide a solid foundation for the children and prepare them for academic challenges they are about to face in the future.

As time keeps changing, educational practices also keep changing. International schools gained prominence due to globalization and play schools gained popularity because in modern times, many households have both the parents working. No matter what the changes are, the primary need of humans for the quest of knowledge remains the same, but it becomes more refined and evolved.