IPM School Special 2017

www.indiaparentmagazine.org • School Issue 2017



MV Kids Dentists & Braces a unique Dental Facility!

Why the Bay Areans are pitching in to make AAP win Punjab & Goa

Introducing Warrior Code Taekwon-Do

Ready. Set. Enroll. Stratford School nurtures

OPEN HOUSE March 25 10:00 a.m. –1:00p.m.

the joy of learning in children . Enroll your child in a school that inspires children to become tomorrow’s creative problem-solvers, innovators, and leaders. REGISTER NOW for our Open House StratfordSchools.com/NorCalOH

The curiosity to reach. The courage to grasp. TM


@Stratford Summer

AccreditingCommission for Schools


Preschool State License Numbers: 073402482, 013417816, 013420588, 434404890, 434408056, 434407977, 434404336, 434406722, 434408877, 384001837, 434410807, 434410816, 073406680, 013420939, 414004014, 434413440. ©2017 Stratford Schools, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


• Experienced staff • Cheerful, bright, organized, well-prepared classrooms • Sensory-rich hands-on exploration • Distinct curriculum - robust foundation for inspired learning • Caring, nurturing and warm atmosphere • Art, music, culture integrated program • AMS Affiliated Schools


• Infant Care: 2-18 months (Dunford Campus ste 500 only) • Toddler: 18-36 months ( not available at Dunford Campus ste 800) • Preschool • Pre-K • Kindergarten: 2.5 - 6 years (all Campuses) • Bilingual Programs (Chinese/English): 2.5 - 6 years (Not available at Warner Campus) • Kindergarten - 1st grade (Dunford Campus ste. 500 only) • Enrichment Activities: Foreign Language, Keyboard, Chess, Gymnastics, Music, Soccer, Art, Dance, Field Trips


The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s mind as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown to grow under the heat of flaming imagination –– Maria Montessori



• After School Care: 5-12 years (Dunford Campus ste 300 only)

AppleSeed Montessori School 1302 Warner Ave, Sunnyvale CA 408-245-7338 www.appleseedmontessori.com

AppleSeed Montessori School 1095 Dunford Way, Ste 800, Sunnyvale, CA 408-985-7333 www.appleseedmontessori.com

AppleSeed Montessori School 1095 Dunford Way, Ste 500, Sunnyvale CA 408-260-7333 www.appleseedmontessori.com AppleSeed Affiliated Schools: AppleSeed Almaden Montessori School 5200 Dent Ave, San Jose CA 408-264-7333 www.appleseedalmaden.com

AppleSeed International School 1095 Dunford Way, Ste 300, Sunnyvale CA 408-260-9333 www.appleseedinternational.com

Sunshine Montessori School 1321 Miller Ave, San Jose CA 408-996-0856 www.sunshinemontessorischool.com

The best care. The right way.

For a FREE in-home consultation, please call us at (650) 328-1001 or visit careindeed.com.

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School Special 2017 www.indiaparentmagazine.org Cover Pic: Ranjani Manda

Calendar Pg 32-33 To view full length Calendar please visit www.indiaparentmagazine.org

In This Issue


IPM’S INDEPTH REPORT! When You Can’t wait for Kindergarten Why Asian-Indians prefer private pre-schooling

Pg 24

By Jo Ann Daugherty

EXCLUSIVE The Bastard-Child of Indian Politics, Aam admi Party (AAP), fights Tooth and Nail to win Punjab & Goa Assembly Elections Why the AAP USA Bay Area Chapter is mak- ing sure that it does! By Meena Yeggina Pg 46

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School Special 2017

DEPARTMENTS INTRODUCING SCHOOLS -Academy of Fencing Masters -Emerson School and Hacienda School -Institute For Mathematics & Computer Science (IMACS) -Elan Preschool

74 41


14 71 69 62 60

-Maybeck Highschool

-Step One School -Stratford Schol

-Warrior Code Taekwon-Do



UC Davis MIND Institute joins SPARK Groundbreaking

initiative combines web-based registry with DNA analysis to accelerate autism research 30

OPINION Why I loved Interning with AAP By Sindhu Ravuri 58 Divide and Rule

It's not what Modi is saying about Muslims, it's why he shouldn't say it at all By Ashok Swain


False Pride When Jauhar is treated as “bravery” of a woman and “prestige” of a community By Meena Yeggina 64 MOVIE REVIEW Jolly LLb 2 By Meena Yeggina 38

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Can research really change the future of autism? You can SPARK research with one click.

Join SPARK – a free study with a simple mission: speed up research and advance understanding of autism.

Individuals with autismwill receive a $50 gift card once registration is complete.

To learn more about SPARK and register online, visit www.SPARKforAutism.org/UCD

SPARK: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge

SPARKPrimary Investigator:WendyChung, MD, PhD Protocol Number: 20151664 Western Institutional ReviewBoard

916-703-0299 bhilscher@ucdavis.edu

©2016 Simons Foundation

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every child should know what it feels like to dance This is the founding principle of Tutu School. We believe that motor skill development is infinitely enhanced by Tchaikovsky and Bach, that young imaginations benefit immensely from exploring the enchanted worlds of swans and sugar plums, and that twirling should be a fundamental part of any childhood.

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IPM Ad Index

In Order of Page Appearance Startford Schools www.stratfordschools.com Appleseed Montessori School www.appleseedalmaden.com www.appleseedmontessori.com www.appleseedinternational.com Care Indeed www.careindeed.com Ohlone College www.ohloneforkids.com/iparent Delores (Real Estate) www.deloresgragg.com Care Indeed www.careindeed.com UC Davis Mind Institute www.sparkforautism.org/UCD Delphi School

www.susanfoley.com Dance Attack www.danceattack.com Provines Dental Group

CMT www.cmtsj.org The Music Place




www.musicplace.com Winchester Mystery House 21 www.winchestermysteryhouse.com Step One School 21 www.steponeschool.org Gulugulu Preschool Summer Camp www.mygulugulupreschool.com Children Discovery Museum 17 www.cdm.org Vivace 25 www.vivaceyouthchorus.org PJCC 25 www.pjcc.org/swim Young At Art 27 www.yaainc.net Celebrations Indian Cuisine 29 www.celebrationsindiancuisine.com Hacienda School 30 www.haciendaschool.com Emerson School 30

www.provinesdentalservices.com www.provinespcfi.com www.provinesppi.com

Sunshine School


www.mysunshineschool.com Valley International Academy www.valleyacademy.org Santa Clara Swim Club www.santaclaraswimclub.org San Jose Piano www.marvegos.com/ipm Puja Services Sriveda Vidya Peetham 1-925-915-1829 Start Organic www.startorganic.com/IPM Smiley Notes www.smileynotes.com God’s Unfailing Love sharkysswimschool.com Step One School www.SteponeSchool.org Sharky’s Swim School 408-275-6220 Marvegos (Art)








www.delphicampbell.org Little Spirits Bay Area Inc www.littlespiritsbayarea.com Tutu School




www.emersonpaloalto.com Early Learning Preschool elpreschool.com Maki Swim School www.makiswim.com Sutton Swim School www.suttonswim.com Paces www.paces.solutions Golden Apple Learning Store www.goldenappleLS.com Headstart

www.tutuschool.com Kids Park www.kidspark.com PJCC www.pjcc.com/swim Homeroom Education


42 & 65




13, 34




www.Homeroomeducation.com Mad Science www.thebayareamadscience.org Mad Science www.mtdiablo.madscience.org IMACS www.IMACS.org/Indiaparent Warrior CodeTaekon Do www.amazingmartialarts.com Success Learning Center www.successlearningcenter.org Living Art Studio www.livingartstudio.org www.wildwildlifecamp.com Children Discovery Museum 17 www.cdm.org 13 13 15 16 17 16

Maybeck Highschool www.maybeckHS.org Twisters Sports Center





www.twisterssportscenter.com COVERS BACK MV Kids Dentists & Braces www.mvkidsdentistsandbraces.com DACA Swim School www.daca.org Academy of Fencing Masters www.AcademyofFencingMasters.com Challenger School www.challengerSchool.com The Ivy Advisor www.theivyadvisors.com


www.myheadstart.org Elan Preschool www.elanpreschool.com Cathedral Of Faith, Milpitas 43 Shree Veda Vidya Peetham 44 My School 44 Daprille-Bell Law Offices 45 www.daprille-bell.com Law Offices of Susan Foley 45 41

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Institute For Mathematics & Computer Science (IMACS): How it changed entrepreneur Thibault de Chatellus’ life

engaged. The self-paced computer enrichment curriculum is designed for third to ninth graders. It develops advanced prob- lem-solving skills and builds a strong foundation in programming and computer science. Why should parents consider math and computer science enrichment? More and more jobs in today’s knowledge-based economy require a mastery of mathematics and strong critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, US students are falling further behind. Today, they rank 35th in mathematics and 27th in science com- pared to other countries in the most recent PISA test. More than ever, education needs to emphasize the development of skills, instead of the acquisition of knowledge, which can quickly become obsolete. Why did you send you son to IMACS? Like all parents, I wanted the very best for my child. Our son was in one of the best schools in the area, but we were not sure that it was enough. Giving my son advanced math education and problem-solving skills was important. We signed up for a free IMACS class and were immediately impressed by the teaching methods. IMACS was so different from anything we had ever seen. What were the results? The power of IMACS is not that it taught my son how to solve specific problems. Rather, it taught him how to think logically and creatively, so he could approach any problem. He became an out- standing student – not only in math – and approached all of his studies with poise and confidence. He graduated with the highest GPA in his high school, graduated from an Ivy League college and now works for one of the top management consulting firms in the country. Why did you invest in IMACS? I had reached a point in my professional life where I wanted to pursue something that would truly make a difference in the lives of others. Knowing how much IMACS benefited our son, I thought it should be more widely available and decided to bring the program to the Bay Area. How can parents get their kids started in the program? All parents and their children are invited to attend a free class. Because IMACS groups students by ability, not by age or grade, the class allows IMACS to determine the right starting point for each child. For more information on IMACS and to reg- ister for a free class, go to www.imacs.org/bayarea or call 408.702.2447.

Two years ago, businessman and entrepreneur Thibault de Chatellus decided to follow his passion: He invested in a math and computer enrichment program to teach children the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. As a young student, his son took classes at the Institute For Mathematics & Computer Science (IMACS), a unique enrichment program that transformed his life. Recognizing how it could do the same for others, Thibault decided to bring IMACS to the Bay Area. The first IMACS center opened in Sunnyvale at 719 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road in July. Excerpts from an IPM interview with Thibault de Chatellus, President, IMACS California What exactly is IMACS? IMACS is an extraordinary math and computer enrichment program. For over 20 years, IMACS has helped thousands of bright children reach their highest potential. This innovative pro- gram, designed for bright elementary and middle school students, develops logical reasoning and creative problem-solving skills rarely taught elsewhere. More than 4,500 students in the U.S. and abroad attend IMACS classes or study its online courses each year. IMACS students have gone on to elite colleges and have won numerous awards in math and science.

“Like all parents, I wanted the very best for my child. Our son was in one of the best schools in the area, but we were not sure that it was enough.”

Why is IMACS unique? IMACS teaches students by ability, not age or grade. As a result, IMACS students are never held back from reaching their full potential. Additionally, our curricula are developed by a long- standing team of mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, and educators, who draw on an average of over 25 years of expe- rience teaching talented students. Rather than accelerating the pace of standard material or teaching tricks without understand- ing, IMACS designs original curricula that engages bright chil- dren on a deeper level. What programs does IMACS offer in Sunnyvale? IMACS offers five levels of math enrichment for students starting as early as first grade. Classes are taught by highly quali- fied teachers using challenging games, logic puzzles and mathe- matical problem-solving activities that keep students highly

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IN EVERY CHILD, THERE IS POTENTIAL WAITING TO TAKE OFF. IMACS’ Math and Computer Enrichment Programs teach elementary and middle school children the logical reasoning and creative problem-solving skills they need to excel in STEM - and in life.






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After School Help

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www.SPARKforAutism.org, call 916-703-0299 or email bhilscher@ucdavis.edu. ABOUT SPARK SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge) is a national autism research initiative that will connect individuals with a professional diagnosis of autism and their biological family members to research opportunities to advance our understanding of autism. SPARK’s goal in doing so is not only to better understand autism, but to accelerate the development of new treatments and supports. SPARK was designed to be easily accessible to the entire autism community and was fashioned with input from adults with autism, parents, researchers, clinicians, service providers and advocates. Registering for this first-of-its-kind initiative can be done entirely online in the convenience of one’s home and at no cost. DNA will be collected via saliva kits shipped directly to participants. Once the SPARK participant’s family has returned their saliva samples and provided some medical and family history information, the SPARK participant will receive a $50 gift card. SPARK will provide access to online resources and the latest research in autism, which may pro- vide participants and families with valuable information to help address daily challenges. For researchers, SPARK pro- vides a large, well-characterized cohort of genetic, medical and behavioral data, and will result in cost-savings for researchers by reducing start-up costs for individual studies. SPARK is entirely funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). ABOUT THE UC DAVIS MIND INSTITUTE At the UC Davis MIND Institute, world-renowned scien- tists engage in collaborative, interdisciplinary research to find the causes of and develop treatments and cures for autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fragile X syndrome, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Down syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. For more information, visit mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu. ABOUT AUTISM Autism is a general term used to describe a group of com- plex developmental disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and perhaps environmental influences. These disorders are characterized by deficits in social communication (both verbal and non-verbal) and the presence of repetitive behaviors or restrictive interests. An estimated one in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spec- trum. The wide range of autism manifestations makes it chal- lenging to study potential causes or treatments, and thus a large cohort, which can be segmented, can substantially advance such efforts. UC D AVIS MIND I NSTITUTE JOINS SPARK, NATION ' S LARGEST AUTISM RESEARCH STUDY G ROUNDBREAKING INITIATIVE COMBINES WEB - BASED REGISTRY WITH DNA ANALYSIS TO ACCEL - ERATE AUTISM RESEARCH AND SPEED DISCOVERY OF TREATMENTS

Leonard Abbeduto, David Amaral

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) —The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif. today helped launch SPARK, an online research initiative designed to become the largest autism study ever undertaken in the United States. Sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), SPARK will collect information and DNA for genetic analysis from 50,000 individuals with autism — and their families — to advance our understanding of the causes of this condition and to hasten the discovery of supports and treatments. The UC Davis MIND Institute is one of a select group of 21 leading national research institutions chosen by SFARI to assist with recruitment. The SPARK effort is being led locally by Leonard Abbeduto, director of the UC Davis MIND Institute, and David Amaral, MIND Institute director of research. “The SPARK project is especially exciting because of the unprecedented collaboration involving 21 clinical sites all working together with a common vision,” said Abbeduto. “It says a great deal about the scientific community’s commit- ment to helping families affected by autism.” Amaral added that the project will undoubtedly change the course of future autism research and hopefully bring prac- tical benefits to affected individuals and families. “This is the kind of study that the MIND Institute was designed to carry out,” he said. Autism is known to have a strong genetic component. To date, approximately 50 genes have been identified that almost certainly play a role in autism, and scientists estimate that an additional 300 or more are involved. By studying these genes, associated biological mechanisms and how genetics interact with environmental factors, researchers can better understand the condition’s causes, and link them to the spectrum of symptoms, skills and challenges of those affected. SPARK aims to speed up autism research by inviting participation from this large, diverse autism community, with the goal of including individuals with a professional diagnosis of autism of both sexes and all ages, backgrounds, races, geographic locations and socioeconomic situations. SPARK will connect participants to researchers, offering them the unique opportunity to impact the future of autism research by joining any of the multiple studies offered through SPARK. The initiative will catalyze research by creating large- scale access to study participants whose DNA may be selec- tively analyzed for a specific scientific question of interest. SPARK will also elicit feedback from individuals and parents of children with autism to develop a robust research agenda that is meaningful for them. Anyone interested in learning more about SPARK or in participating can visit

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S t e p On e S c h o o l “Starting from the Heart” Find out why.

expert teachers know how to teach to the individual, while at the same time creating a warm, cohesive classroom environment. A low student teacher ratio (ratios range from 1:5 in the Twos program to 1:8 for the 3’s and 4’s to 1:11 for the Transitional Kindergarten) makes that possible. Step One is also set apart by a strong anti-bias curriculum and emphasis that shapes our work. We encourage diversity through exposure to different languages, cultures, family structure, and family traditions. We strongly commit to maintaining diver- sity when accepting applicants and hiring teachers, and are one of the only preschools in the country with a facul- ty composed of over 30% male teach- ers. We were honored to receive this recommendation from a Step One par- ent: “I can say with all sincerity that you will be hard-pressed to find a warmer, more nurturing, or more exciting place for your little one.” Please contact us to learn more about our environment as a fit for your child: Step One, Starting from the Heart.

In addition to an enriching class- room environment, Step One offers an exceptional outdoor space in the beau- tiful Berkeley hills. Along with a large play-yard, Step One has built child- friendly nature areas on our hillside, complete with garden and outdoor kitchen: a complete indoor-outdoor learning environment. On any given day, you’ll find children engineering ways to bring water from the waterfall to the sand box, or practicing their math and measurement skills by planting a spring garden. Step One’s teachers are one-of-a- kind and are at the core of our highly- regarded program. Over 60% of our teachers have been at Step One for 10 years or longer. They are highly edu- cated, motivated early childhood experts.Teachers bring their creative abilities (such as music, dance, Spanish language expertise, art, and photography) to the classroom. Staff also receive on-going professional development, mentorship, and coach- ing. Each child is unique, with his or her own strengths and challenges. Our

With a 35-year history in Berkeley, Step One is one of the East Bay’s best- loved preschools, with a track record of developing children’s curiosity, empathy, and love of learning for a lifetime. For 21st century learning, creativi- ty and collaboration are the name of the game. Step One fosters both through teaching that stimulates both children’s intellectual curiosity and their social-emotional development. Children at Step One are encouraged to explore and discover: to take initia- tive in their learning so that they ‘learn how to learn’. This approach positions them to engage deeply and to find learning meaningful. Step One students are also learn- ing empathy, which is encouraged and modeled by teachers. They internalize respect for self and others while devel- oping close relationships with teachers and peers. The schools our graduates attend praise Step One students as academically well-prepared, strong school leaders, and exceptional class- room citizens.

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NEW IN MOUNTAIN VIEW A Sprawling child-friendly Dental Facility that has Certified Specialists

The minute you enter into the facility you will realize that it is a kid friendly place. Children will love the décor, painted walls and friendly staff. Moreover, MV Kids Dentists and Braces is located in Mountain View, in the exact place as the popular and familiar Nalli Silk Sarees has been though in a much bigger and brighter interior. In this special health section we introduce you to MV Kids Dentists and Braces, a dental practice for children spe- cialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. According to the spokesperson of MV Kids Dentists, their place is different from other similar practices, ranging from philosophy to higher standards of treatment and behavior. Let’s explore each one of them carefully. PHILOSOPHY At MV Kids Dentists and Braces, their philosophy is to improve oral health for children in the community using their best knowledge in pediatric dentistry and orthodon- tics. Their office is designed to create a warm and welcom- ing environment for children and their parents. They uti- lize the latest technology in pediatric dentistry and the state-of-the-art equipment to provide the best possible care to the children.

High standard dental treatment The dentists at MV Kids Dentists and Braces practice honestly and ethically. Their pediatric dentist is board-cer- tified by American board of Pediatric Dentistry, and both their pediatric dentists and orthodontist are highly experi- enced treating children with a wide range of behaviors. They have many different treatment options that are suit- able for children of all ages that have different oral and behavioral needs. Their affiliation with the academic envi- ronment allows them to stay up-to-date on the latest tech- nologies in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. They only offer treatments that they would use on their own children. Certified by American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Not all children's dentists are specialists. Their pedi- atric dentists and orthodontist have spent an additional 2- 3 years to become specialists in their fields. Their pediatric dentists are also Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Not all pediatric dentists are necessari- ly board-certified. To earn the title of Diplomate, a pediatric dentist is required to go through multiple steps of certifica- tion process to verify his/her proficiency and excellence in Pediatric Dentistry. In addition, to maintain the Diplomate status, the pediatric dentist needs to renew annually by

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Dr. Yang is an active member the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry, the Mid-Peninsula Dental Society, and the International Association for Dental Research. She is board-certified and is a proud member of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Community wise, Dr. Yang serves as one of the six board members of the UCSF Pediatric Alumni Board of Directors, and as a com- mittee member at the UCSF Children’s Oral Health Research Center, the world renown research center dedicat- ing to children’s oral health. Dr Yang loves photography, drawing and painting, Zumba, Yoga, traveling around the world to experience new cultures, and spending time with her husband and family. Quat “Charles” Tran, DDS, Orthodontist Dr. Tran has been creating beautiful smile since 1999. He received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree with high honors from the University of the Pacific Dental School in San Francisco. Following dental school, Dr. Tran earned a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Orthodontics from New York University. When asked why he chose this pro- fession he said enthusiastically: His involvement in dental profession and the local community has been extensive since establishing his San Jose office in 1999. Dr. Tran is passionate about his work as an orthodontist, he truly enjoys and love spending time with his patients and his team. Dr. Tran is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, California Dental Association and Santa Clara County Dental Society. By providing the highest-quality treatment using the latest and most comfortable technologies in orthodontics, he continues to exceed the expectations of his patients and parents. While not doing what he loves best, Dr. Tran enjoys ski- ing, golfing, listening to music and spending time with family. Their office is conveniently located just a few blocks from downtown Mountain View. They are currently accept- ing new patients with the special promotion (as noted in the ad). They open Monday-Thursday and some selected Saturdays. For more information please visit: http://www.mvkidsdentistsandbraces.com/ "I love orthodontics. I love doing what I'm doing. I love working and interacting with my patients!"

demonstrating that his/her knowledge is up-to-date and meets the high standard of clinical excellence.

Child-friendly environment The office is designed with children in mind. The office uti- lizes many glass doors, windows and walls to maximize natural light. The whole office is surrounded by ocean-blue walls and fun aquarium-themed paint done by talented local artists. The waiting area is spacious and filled with toys as well as iPad stations and places to watch movies. All of their chairs are equipped with TV’s and headsets with the newest selection of movies so that children can relax during their treatment. They welcome you and your chil- dren for a free-of-charge, non-dental office tour in order to familiarize you with their office. Needleless Injection As an option for young, apprehensive children, they have the latest technology and tools to offer needleless injections to deliver local anesthesia that is painless for your child. Their office is proud to be selected as the recipient of the “2016 Best of Mountain View Award” in Pediatric Dentistry. They are very honored to be the only Pediatric Dental Practice selected by City in Mountain View. They constantly strive to provide the best possible services to their patients, parents and the community, and they sin- cerely appreciate all of the support they have received. Dr. Yang is passionate about providing the best quality dental care to children of all ages while creating a reward- ing and stress-free experience for the parents and their chil- dren. Dr Yang completed her Pediatric Dentistry Specialty training from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry, and her doctoral degree from University of Southern California (USC) School of Dentistry. Dr Yang has extensive years of experiences not only in pediatric dentistry and hospital dentistry, but also in the dental research and academic communities. She stays at the forefront of pediatric dentistry by being an active contributor in dental research publications, book chapters, journal reviews, as well as learning the innovative clinical approaches. Dr. Yang is the recipient of the prestigious UCSF Pediatric Dentistry Excellence in Dental Care of Pediatric Disabled Patient Award, awarded to only one recipient each year. Additionally, she is awarded numerous research awards from UCSF, USC, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She holds the UCSF Medical Center Hospital Privileges and is a Health Science Clinical Assistant Professor at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and UCSF School of Dentistry. 2016 BEST OF MOUNTAIN VIEW PEDIATRIC DENTIST THE DOCTORS’ TEAM Rungnapa Yang, DDS, PhD, Pediatric Dentist

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IPM’s Indepth Report! When You Can’t wait for Kindergarten Why Asian-Indians prefer private pre-schooling

By Jo Ann Daugherty From IPMs previous issues

as telivision and peer pressure, enforc- ing good study habits can be difficult. But Indian parents have always had very strong feeligns about passing on cultural heritage, and an important as- pect of this heritage is academic excel- lence. Not all Indian parents are as intent on a strong academic emphasis during the preschool years. Dr Sudha Kahl professor of Childhood Education at San Jose State University, sent her 4- year-old son to a preschool that has very relaxed academic standards, though she admits that the rigorous standards in other preschools can be a big draw to Indians. “The parents themselves were in a system where there was competition and achievement was emphasized,” she says. “It’s bound to have an effect on their expec- tations for their own children.” Many parents claim that at three years of age their child is already out- growing the education he/she may be receiving at home, and enjoys the en- richment that a preschool can bring to him. Tanya Lai, whose five-year old son attended Milpitas Montessori, says, “He learned his alphabet all by himself at two. He kept asking, “What does this mean?’” Tamara Nagley, Director of Little Scholars Elementary school in San Jose, says, “It’s important to present the academics and motivate the children, because some are ready. It would be a shame no to give them the opportu- nity.” For a parent who considers their child ready, the choices available can be disorienting. The Bay Area offers a

speaker. Kim Vu of San Jose compared the experiences of her two children, on of whom attended preschool while the other did not; the difference in compre- hension once the children started kindergarten was enormous. Also parents seek reinforcement in lessons of decorum. Most preschools teach basic manners such as saying “please” and “thank you”, picking up your toys, and getting along with oth- ers. Dr. Robert Schiirrmacher, a Pro- gram Director of Early Childhood Education at University of California, Santa Cruz, observes about Indian par- enting that in general “being well-man- nered is part of their value system.” Carinda Henares agrees that in her ex- periences as a preschool teacher at Little Scholars, “Good behavior is very im- portant to Indian parents.” By and large the motivation for pre- schooling a child seems to be academic. There is a widespread perception of American schools as being too lenient. Manjit Mahendran, teacher and mother of 5-year old Anureet, remembers hav- ing to get up in front of her first grade class in Punjab to recite multiplication tables up to 20 X 20, a feat that is nor re- quired of American students until 3rd grade. Apreschool that reminds Indian parents of their own shcooling can be highly attractive. And in a culture where marriage prospecs ats well as fu- ture career depends on academic suc- cess, the threat of an inadequate education can be a strong motivator to start young. In America, where children have so many distractionsto contend with, such

Formal schooling in the United States begins at the age of five. But maybe you have a bright, inquisitive child who seems ready for schooling well before kindergarten. Or maybe you’re concerned about the level of ac- ademics your child will be receiving in this country. For a variety of reasons, immigrant parents such as Indians and Asians are increasingly interested in starting their children’s education in preschool. Starting your child early on his road to academic success does not have universal support, and can engender mixed feelings in parents. Viswanth Rao of Auburn, California says he was undecided about the benefits of send- ing his daughter to preschool. On the one hand, “You can get a jump on edu- cation, since they’re young, and being young it’s easier to learn,” he says. “But then, they’re going to get it all eventually anyway, so why not start at five?” Other parents may worry, if their child is extremely shy, that the group activity could be overwhelming to them. On the other hand, many times a child’s shyness is exactly the motiva- tion for preschool. If the child is cared for in a family setting, there is limited acces to other children, and the lack of socialization can be a concern. In a pre- school, a child will learn how to take turns, share toys, eat, and perhaps nap in a group setting. If a family has re- cently immigrated to the United States and is still learning the language, pre- school can be an excellent way for a child to become a proficient English

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child’s Montessori education all the way through high school. The Asian population in this partic- ular school is around 90%. The director, Lois Evans, guess that it may have to do with the high concentration of Asians in the immediate area; Also Montessori is a very popular learning system in the Asian countries. Abeela Kaukab, one of the teachers at the center, says the Asians have a very easy time learning English because “Learning is fun here.” Out of 36 children, 4 were Indian. Dr. Robert Schirrmacher, who teaches Montessori education, has noticed an

The Challenger chool system has a rep- utation for being rigorously academic. Anyone who might think the school is dry and stuffy, however, should check out the center in Newark. Director Sherry Adams has been at the center for thirteen years and she obviously lovers her job. She is warm and personable to parents and students alike. The cur- riculum is designed to be stimulating and fun. Music and catchy rhymes are used extensively to teac, and they have drama and art as well as the traditional sciences of phonics, math, language, and logic.

multitude of alternatives, only a few which are listed below.


Milpitas Montessori School is part of a system that is available all over the world. Its founder, Dr. Maria Montes- sori, was born in Italy in 1870, educated as a pediatrician, and developed a sys- tem of education based on cultivating the child’s natural curiosity about the world around him. She developed the educational system out of a concern about the rigid teaching techniques that were common at the time. Though there are many “flavors” of Montessori philosophy available, cer- tain tenets are common to the school system. The most unusual one is that there is no age segregation. One big room holds the entire preschool range of children 2 ½ to 6 years old. There is very little structure to the curriculum; indeed, when one first steps inside the classroom the first im- pression can be one of barely restrained chaos. There are little knots of activity all over the area. Some bend over worksheets at a table. Some play on lit- tle mats on the floor. Others are helping themselves to juice and pretzels. The basic philosophy behind the Montessori method is to let the child feel free to choose what they want to do; the structure is imposed on the en- vironment more than on the child. Theteachers are trained to be guides and facilitators rather than instructors, to demonstrate the correct usage of ma- terials that a child has expressed inter- est in. the ratio of teachers to students is 1:9. Milpitas Montessori emphasizes that their school is not a preparation for kindergarten; however, the level of ac- ademic learning is very high. It is com- mon for three and four year olds to spell out and read three letter words. In addition, the school teaches grammar, geography, and logic, all with the use of concrete, visual methods. And if par- ents wish, they can continue their

increase in the number of East Indian women who want to specialize in teach- ing in the Montessori man- ner. “Montessori appeals to people who want their children to behave in a courteous, well-mannered way,” he says, as a way of expalining an appeal to In- dian women. “There is emphasis on discipline, ac- ademics, subtle structure, and decorumwhich is part of the Indian value sys- tem.” There is a long- standing interest in India for the Montessori system; Dr. Montessori did exten- sive work in India, and it is still an active Montessori site.

Asians and Indians make up well over 50% of the student population. When asked what the draw was for im- migrant parents, Sherry said “We make them feel good about themselves.” Everyone’s cultural heritage is re- spected. They celebrate the Chinese New Year, Diwali, and Kwanza, as well as the traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving. As far as academics go, she said she has had several immigrant parents tell her that the Challenger sys- tem resembles their own education in their native country.


The Challenger school was founded in San Jose in 1966 by Barbara Baker, a first grade teacher who was frustrated by the large number of aca- demically unprepared children in her class. The Challenger sstem expanded into elementary and middle schools due to popular demand and now has 14 centers and over 5000 students. Still primarily a Bay Area school, it recently opened campuses in Utah as well.

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Anima says, “the program is geared to individuals rather than academics.” Moreover, she tries to balance the curricu- lumwith other activities such as music and art; she notes that Indian parents are typically interested in their children ex- celling in the arts as well as academics. Little Scholars is open from 6AM to 6PM five days a wee, and unlike many preschools, the schedule is flexible;parents can dro off and pick up their children anytime they choose. Since it provides daycare as ell as the preschool, the schedule includes lunchtime, snacks, and a two-hour nap. The school is aimed at being culturally sensitive. There is a mix of Asians, Indians, and Blacks, as well as Caucasians in the school, reflecting the demographics of the Evergreen area. Manjit Mahendran, a teacher at Little Scholars, says, “The different cultures learn from one another.” Anima has plans to start language progras in Indian, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, and to start an after-school club called “Paigam” (“a message”) which would be open to all cultures. Anima has noticed that Indian parents are more conrned with academics than the daycare aspect; they are very in- volved in their children’s education. “They always check their children’s cubbies, to make sure they’re learning,” she says. She doesn’t find the Indian emphasis on academics sur- prising. She says it is simply assumed in many middle-class and upper-class households that the children will go to be- come professionals. She herself is an active member and past president of the Indian Business and Professional Women; the club membership includes many prominent Indian women who are doctors, CEO’s, and lawyers.

The teacher to student ratio is 1:12 in the preschool sec- tion. Every teacher is expected to have the usual early child- hood education requirements, as well as in-house training in the Challenger methodology. There is rigorous quality con- trol, as regional managers tour the school on a rotating basis to ensure that the school is adhering to Challenger standards. Poornima Kaneka sends both her sons, one 5 years old, one three, to Challenger. She investigated other schools but se- lected Challenger because “the curiculumwas the best – both the phonics and the playtime.” When asked what the attrac- tion of Challenger schools is for Indians, she said, “Indians give more importance to education. What our parents ex- pected from us is the same thing we expect from our chil- dren.” Parental involvement is heavily encouraged at Chal- lenger, another attraction to Indian parents who tend to keep close tabs on their children’s education. The school sponsors a “Small World” day where a parent is invited to come talk about a native holiday or tradition. LITTLE SCHOLARS Challenger and Montessori have many sites the Bay Area. Little scholars, on the other hand, is a privately owned preschool. It was opened in 1983 by Anima Desei in the Ever- green area of San Jose. In 1994, responding to parental re- quests, she opened a second branch which teaches kindergarten through third grade. The preschool’s primary mission is school readiness, such as writing and phonics, but it seeks to keep its emphasis on academics low-keyed.


Inside the campbell Kumon Center, there is a sign that out- lines Kumon Features: “Strong Fundamental Skills – Im- proved Study Habits and Self- learning skills Increased Self Confidence – Enhanced Con- centration and Increased At- tention span.” It is a very impressive set of claims. The center opens at 3:00, but five minutes til three students al- ready hover outside the door, clutching their papers, eager to come inside and start. Ruby Vaswani, who runs the Campbell Center, says it is not unusual; the kids often show up early and all but press their noses against the glass until the doors are unlocked and they are allowed in. there was

Parental involvement is heavily encouraged at Challenger, another attraction to Indian parents who tend to keep close tabs on their children’s education. The school sponsors a “Small World” day where a parent is invited to come talk about a native holiday or tradition.

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a brief flurry of activity when the doors opened and the first students plucked their folders from the standing rack and seated themselves in rows of tables. Within twenty minutes, the room became a quiet bee- hive of activity, with some twenty children, aged 5 to 12 years old, bent over their work- sheets. You would think with so many children so close together there would be an abundance of socializing, and there was some, but the chil- dren were primarily in- tent on their work. They didn’t need to be re- minded that they were there to learn.

The system of overlearning – a complete mastery of one task before going on to the next level – is common to Indian education. The fact that many Indian children are taught certain ma- terial in school and then taught it again by a tutor is similar to the Kumon method of repetition. Kumon also de- mands a high level of parental involve- ment for the home study, again which is commonly found in the Indian cul- ture. The Kumon center takes all kids, all IQ levels, all learning types, all children, including those who are neurodiver- gent. Dherin Yagnik, father of a 12- year-old son and 16-year old daughter, has found the memory drills have not only helped his children’s mathematical abilities, which are at least a year ahead of their peers, but has also enhanced their abilities in other areas, such as spelling. Ruby’s class in Camp- bell was comprised of roughly 20% Indians, and 5% Asians. She surmised that Kumon is popular with indians because “Indians have high educational goals, and Kumon stresses individual potential.”

The Kumon system was developed in 1954 by Toru Kumon, who devel- oped it in order to teach his son mathe- matics. It was so successful that he opened the Kumon Institute of Educa- tion in 1958. Kumon is dedicated to the process of “self-learning” – that is, every student works independently, with minimum instruction from the teacher. The students do not compete against each other, as in traditional schools; they only try to best their pre- vious scores and move up the levels. Mastery comes from repeated applica- tion of the problems, a repetition that cements the information into their brain, and says Adarm Dorsay, Re- gional Manager, “They retain the infor- mation forever.” Kumon instructors hold ses- sions twice a week where the in- structor convenes with the students, and the students are expected to do homework five days a week for twenty minutes on their own time. Parents are

required to be involved in the ticking and the checking. Kumon is not a preschool. In fact, it is not technically a school at all. Rather, it’s a supplemental course of in- struction, but it does take preschool age children. There is no minimum age limit; the average preschooler starts at age three. When asked if repetition was a problem for very young children, Ruby said absolutely not, and in fact when the preschooler realizes the objec- tives, their attention span increases dra- matically. She cited the example of one preschooler who was so excitable that he could barely sit still in his chair, and by two weeks, was working by himself very quietly for a half hour at a time. Once he became aware of what was ex- pected of him, it made a big difference in his attitude. Ruby’s class in Campbell was com- prised of roughly 20% Indians, and 5% Asians. She surmised that Kumon is popular with indians because “Indians have high educational goals, and Kumon stresses individual potential.”

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HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD IS READY FOR PRESCHOOL? Most schools start taking children at two-and-a-half years of age, or when potty training has been complete, but a more appropriate gauge may be when you, the parents, are ready to send your child off into the big world of edu- cation. If you are ready, it’s easier to weather the transi- tional period. Some tears and reluctance at drop-off are normal. Agood rule of thumb is after two weeks, the child is still fretful when you leave, or if it tugs on your heart- strings too much, maybe it’s better to try again later. Sara meets Kumon (And Kumon Won) My 4 year-old daughter Sara is a fireball of activity. She is charming, bright, and a lot of fun, but her frenetic energy is sometimes taxing. So when I heard that the Kumon sys- tem is excellent for getting kids to sit quietly and concen- trate, I decided to put it to the test, just for the rare pleasure of watching Sara sit in one place. Kumon teaches reading as well as math, but the Evergreen Center, headed by Nancy Nelson, does math only. When we arrived, Sara ran up and down the room, trying to help set up tables and chairs, peering into the candy jar, and investigating every little nook and cranny of the room. Nancy Nelson was par- ticularly busy that day, since it was the last day before Christmas vacation, and every student, it seemed, had a brightly wrapped present for her, which they presented to her with shy and eager smiles. There was almost 35 chil- dren present at the height of the Thursday’s session, many of them vying for Nancy’s attention, in spite of the fact that she had 6 aides helping her. When Nancy had a spare nanosecond, she sat Sara down at a table with number buttons to match up with a numbered grid. “This warms them up,” Nancy explained to me. Within seconds, Sara was engrossed in setting up the buttons in neat rows, her tongue clenched between her teeth. Nancy then asked her to count them, and Sara did so. There were three sets: 1 through 10, 11 through 20, and 21 through 30. Sara faltered when the numbers got into the 20’s, but Nancy worked with her patiently, letting her mull htrough her mistakes, or gently moving her onward, com- plimenting her on her efforts. Then came the workbook. There was tracing, number recognition, counting, and number writing. Nancy said in Level 5A, there was a lot of emphasis placed on counting and tracing, in preparation for writing numbers. Sara was most happy doing the workbook; in fact, she tried to race ahead of Nancy’s patient questions. She squirmed a little, but Nancy gently reminded her how to sit properly in her chair. Sara placed in Level 6A1, which

T To

When Nancy had a spare nanosecond, she sat Sara down at a table with number buttons to match up with a numbered grid. “This warms them up,” Nancy explained to me. Within seconds, Sara was engrossed in setting up the buttons in neat rows, her tongue clenched between her teeth.

is not genius as I expected, but not bad either. And she sat still. I have the pictures to prove it.

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