The importance of choosing the correct school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. School is a place where your child will learn to socialize outside the family unit, learn new skills and grow among their peers into young adults. A positive schooling experience can be vital for your child’s future success.
Picking your child’s future school can be a very difficult decision, particularly when there is choice- private versus public. There is often choice even between private and public schools, which makes the decision even more difficult.
So what do I need to look for in a school? What makes a good school for my child? Where should I send my child to school?
Private versus Public debate
Don’t get into the brainwashing argument that your child will automatically get a better education in a private system than a public system, or that my child will be with a better quality of people at a private system than in the public system. The strong argument going around is that private schools produce better academic outcomes than public schools. All this is not true. Don’t buy into these arguments. Make your decision on real information and facts.
Many public schools in my opinion outperform many private schools, and can offer really terrific programs and academic results.
Have a look at the school
Take a look at the school with your child. Ring the school and ask the principal to give you a tour. Ask for the tour to be in school hours and have a good look around and pay attention. Do the kids in classes look happy, engaged, and showing respect to the teacher and their peers? Can I see engaging learning taking place as I walk around? What does the library look like and how clean and well-maintained does the classrooms and facilities look like? Do the grounds look inviting with plenty of play equipment and sport facilities? These are very important indicators of a good school and are worthy of note.
From the tour, would you go to the school if you were a kid again? What impressions did the school make on your child? Did your child like what they saw?
Often the personalized tour is the best way to see what is really happening behind closed doors so to speak.
Most schools offer an information evening and tours. These can be fantastic, however they can be quite staged and artificial
Where does your child want to go to school?
Often the decision on where to send your child to school has already been made by your child anyway (in their head anyway). How your child feels about the future school is super important. They may have very strong feelings on the school. These feelings may be due to the fact that friends of theirs are already there and enjoying it, it may be due to the fact that their friends are all going to that school next year and they don’t wont to have to make new friends. It may also be due to the fact that they have a great art course and facilities, or woodwork program for example and this really appeals to your child.
As a parent, you have some important decisions to make if your child has already strong feelings about the school they want to go to particularly if it is a private school. Private schools can be extremely expensive and over time costs can really add up for a family, particularly if you have more than one child. As mentioned above, private schools do not necessarily mean a better schooling experience for your child. Please look a little deeper before making a decision on a private school- consider all options.
If your child has strong feelings about a particular school and it is within your budget, then I believe it is seriously worth considering as your child actually wants to go to that school and will be happy attending there- In the end, isn’t this what we want anyway???
What does the school offer your child’s strengths and weaknesses?
Every child is different. Every child has different needs and has had different experiences in life. Every child has aspirations that will be unique to that child based on their unique talents and skills. What can a school offer your child to tap into this reservoir of skills, talents and needs?
Have a look at the schools programs (usually on the school’s website). Do they have a literacy intervention program or advanced academic program for example? What are the school’s extra curricula programs like? For example, do they offer camps at each year level, music or sport programs?
Talk with your child about their interests and ask the principal how they can cater for their needs. If your child has a disability, can the school cater for their disability and make accommodations so they can access the curriculum (this is a necessity and every school by law needs to make these accommodations).
What are some of the policies and philosophies of the school?
What are the schools values? Does this match your values as a parent. Do the school values support your child’s needs? Each school has a unique set of values that make it unique. Some school values focus on academic outcomes, some schools focus on success for everyone, some schools focus on relationships and building global citizens for example. Spend time looking at the values and consider if they match your values.
What values do you consider important? For example, do you believe in healthy relationships? How does the school support bullying? How does the school fit within the community or think about sexual education or healthy eating? Please take time thinking about these things before making a decision.
If you want to know more about picking a school for your children then please leave a comment or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please leave a comment on what you look for in picking a school.