4 Steps to Choose The Best School for Your Child
4 Steps to Choose The Best School for Your Child
For many parents, giving the child a good education is definitely one of the most important things in life. However, this is always a challenge for many parents especially when it comes to the choice of the right schools for their kids. There is no doubt that the rising number of schools does not help in complicating matters for parents especially knowing that all these have different environments that need to be considered.
As a parent, you will have to think about the philosophies and teaching, something that can be overwhelming in the long run. You want to enrol your child in a school where they do not have to transfer unnecessarily due to being unable to fit in. You do not want to take your child or even yourself through some emotional stress in future and that is why the school selection process must be done thoughtfully without being rushed. You can make it easy by doing some careful research and right help thus finding the right school where your child will fit perfectly not only on their education needs but also emotional and social needs. Below are some helpful steps that will help you in finding the right school for your child: –
#1 Understand Your Child
The first thing in finding the right school for your child is the child him/herself. You will need to first of all know your child and understand what kind of a student he/she is. This way, you will have made the first step towards finding the right environment where he/she can rightly fit and enjoy success.
Before considering the different schooling environments and features, look at your child’s strengths, needs and overall personality and this will help you in making the next step. Children are very different from each other and this means that they have different needs and strengths which should be put into consideration if you have to choose the right environment to help them. A school is like a pond, you put the fish in the wrong pond and it will not survive for long.
A psychological assessment could help establish your child’s strengths, abilities and weaknesses as well. Could your child be having any hidden learning disabilities that might be deterring him or her from performing well in different areas of life? At times, many parents are ignorant of this very important step and children end up paying a high cost for this.
It is good as a parent to note that simply because you attended a certain type of school or have a liking for a particular school doesn’t necessarily make it ideal for your child. Always have your child’s needs as the first guiding factor when choosing the school.
#2 Come Up With A Clear List
Once you understand your child better, the process always become easier and manageable. From there, the next step should be to list down your needs (or those of your family in general) and those of your child. You should start by looking at what is really important to you as a family and put them down in a list. This list will help you remain focused when searching the school without overlooking anything.
For example, you could be looking for a school with a small population and class sizes to help your child get the best attention possible from the teachers. If this is an important feature, note it down. There are other factors you might want to consider such as your child’s talents and interests and the available co-curricular activities that are meant to hone these. Additionally, you could consider things such as values – discipline and religious among others. These should be looked in the light of your family values and see how well they mesh with each other. You should also consider the available educational tools including technology and other amenities used in the classes. Always go beyond academics and concentrate on your child’s talents as well. It is clear that many children who might not be very good in academics do excel in other areas and therefore you should not ignore this.
NOTE: – As a parent, you are a guide to your child and your needs should play a major role when it comes to the selection process.
#3 Begin The School Evaluation Process
It is time to go outside the family and start looking at the available options. Begin by looking at what different schools have to offer and this can be done by looking at the schools’ websites or school guides. You can also attend school fairs to help you get an overview of what is offered and is accessible to the children.
You can also use different research methods such as speaking to fellow parents whose children are attending different schools around your area. However, don’t use what the parents tell you as the deciding factor since what they think is only necessary as far as their children are concerned. One child’s experience might not necessarily translate to another one’s experience.
As a concerned parent, there is always the temptation to take your child to a school based on its ranking. However, the school ranking should not deceive you as there are other important factors to consider. Many potential schools will have comprehensive websites and you can get enough information from there and use it to assess individual schools directly.
#4 Pay A Visit to The Potential Schools
As you research, you will narrow down on some potential schools and these should be in a short list. Start visiting the schools in the list and if possible, take a tour to familiarize yourself with their learning environment and programs. You will need to speak to the staff in the admission office to hear what their expectations are and also know whether the school meets your expectations based on your list in Number 2 above. Consider whether the school’s expectations and those that you have are matching.
In addition, you should be keen to observe the teachers, students and the parents you come across in the school while visiting. As you walk around, you should do it with your eye open, look to see whether the children are engaged while in the classrooms. Is there any form of interaction between the teachers and the students? Are the students alone during class time or is the teacher there with them? Mostly, this will tell you a lot about the school and their teaching system. A teacher does not have to be always shouting while in class but his/her presence is very important as it helps keep the children focused.
It is also important to consider the teachers’ qualifications. Look at how they are dressed or are conducting themselves. Would you be comfortable to have them spend most hours of the day with your children? Do they look motivated? All these questions are important when choosing the right school for your kids. You should ask questions and see whether the staff members are willing to answer them freely. Always make sure you understand the school’s policies and philosophy before you settle for a particular school.
It is important to enrol your child in a school that has an atmosphere where he or she will be happy. This will mean looking for a school that is welcoming and this boils down to the attitude of the teachers and the students there. If the teachers do not seem open and welcoming, do not be deceived to think they will do so to your child. As you visit the schools, take some notes alongside each one of them to help you in your consideration.
NOTE: – Carry your child along when visiting these schools and listen to their comments and views during these visits. These might be of great helpful in your decision-making process.
Choosing a school for children who are already in other schools might be a bit easier or if you have other children who are already attending school. However, if you are a new parent and this is your first time, then you might find the going a bit tough and stressful to begin with. This should not discourage you or push you into making a rush decision which you might regret or seek to change after a few months or weeks. It is always good to take your time and think your decision through.
In addition, it is always important to start your homework early enough rather than wait for the last few months. Many parents normally make this mistake and the result is that most of them end up taking their children in schools that would have otherwise been the last option for them if only they had done their homework. Avoid the rush hour mentality and instead prepare early considering that the decision you make will have an impact on your child today and in the future as well. It is also good to consider the cost of the school and see which one is affordable for you.
NOTE: – Do not be too keen on the budget so as to deny your child the best. Remember that this is your child’s future that is at stake and therefore you should give it the best you can. Always keep your mind open and looking for a school and bear in mind that there are many options out there.