Picking a school for your child is a huge undertaking. School is going to be a pivotal part of their growth and life. This is not only a place to learn but also to create social relationships with peers and teachers. The right school guarantees a child’s successful future.
It is understandable to be worried about the choice you are making for your child, here is advice to help you decide.
Do Your Research
The best place to start is on the internet. Search and you will learn a lot about a school on their websites. Take in mind their history, vision, mission, and recent news that they posted. You can gather info and contacts from here if you decide to inquire about it later on.
Also, remember that a school’s website will ONLY show you their strong points.
Visit the School
Once you have a good idea of the school, it is time to visit. Explore the campus, check the amenities, classrooms, playgrounds, cafeteria, comfort rooms, and buildings they have. This is preferably done with your child, so you can see how she/he reacts to it.
It is clean? Is it spacious? Is it secure? This will be your child’s second home, guarantee that it will keep him/her safe, clean, healthy, and happy.
You should also visit the faculty room and meet with instructors or school staff. Socialize and observe how they treat students. You can also check the staff credentials and how long they’ve worked there. Schools that don’t have a high turnover rate will have staff that are well compensated.
Focus on your child’s needs (and wants)
This might be a great school but does it have what my child needs? Some schools have specializations, it may be sports, science, arts, or others. Know what your child needs to improve and if this is what they’d want. Align your child’s need to what the school is known for.
Inquire about the programs, organizations, and clubs that the school has. Checking the curriculum can also help you understand what they offer and if this is suitable for your child.
Here are some things to consider if this school is a good fit for your child:
- What you want your child to learn (specific subject matter, level of academic difficulty)
- How your child learns best (particular learning style, challenges)
- Social needs (level of contact with peers)
- Practical matters (scheduling, extracurricular activities, etc.)
Check the school’s Academic Performance
How well do they do on national tests? What are their rankings? A school’s academic reputation is a great gauge on how well their students perform. It may not reflect their methods or teaching environment but it shows that they can produce students that succeed and compete.
Join in on a PTA meeting
PTA meetings are usually open to parents and the public. Here, you will see how staff tackles problems that parents point out. You can also get a feel of how the parents are towards the teachers. Are they comfortable? Is the meeting full of good or bad marks?
This is a good opportunity to see if the school is open to suggestions and complaints from parents and if they work towards fixing it.
Talk to Parents and Students
The school staff will most likely vouch for the school’s credibility, the last place to ask is the parents and students. You can ask students how their day usually goes, what activities do they do, and how teachers discipline them. You can ask parents what they have trouble with, how their child acts when it gets home, and if they’re satisfied with the progress their child makes.
Of course, there are a dozen more questions you can and should ask! Tailor it to what else you should know to relieve the doubts you are having.
You should have enough knowledge by now to make a well-informed decision. This is the most that can help you decide. Ultimately, it is your gut as a parent that will make the final choice. Know your child and you’ll know what’s best for him/her.