As the days turn into months and the months turn into years, I have realised that I need to decide which school I will send my precious (now not so small) baby to. I think it is a hard decision for most parents. All any parent wants is the best for their child.
Through my research, I have come to the conclusion that there are 8 areas I need to look at. I have listed them below(They might help you in making your own decision):
- Academic Value
- Curriculum Choices
- School Leadership
- Student Discipline Procedures
- Dress Code
- Extracurricular Activities
- Personal Value (Last but Most important)
Take into consideration what is the Academic reputation of the school, what is the current pass rate and what kinds of programmes they offer to children with special needs. Try to understand what is the schools main focus. Some schools focus on academics, some more on sports while others more on emotional and interpersonal aspects of education. You need to decide what is right for your child. Each child is different.
I know of a woman that has her children at 3 different schools because each of her children are different and have different needs. You know your children and what they need.
Each school offers a different curriculum depending on various reasons. It is important to know what they offer and the reason(s) behind their choice
Good Schools have Good Leadership. Carefully evaluate the leadership skills of those in charge. Lack of leadership can cause a multitude of problems. Ask about the teacher and administrator qualifications and make sure they are acceptable.
Student Discipline Procedures
Find out how the school handles discipline? Do they have a general discipline policy or does each teacher have his/her own way of doing things? How do they keep the parents informed of disciplinary issues? How do they deal with bullying? These are all important questions!
Find out exactly what is expected of your child when it comes to dress code. Apart from the uniform itself, what are the limitations when it comes to hair, shoes, scarfs, etc. Find these things out at the beginning and make sure that you are happy with the uniform your child will be wearing. Some schools no longer let girls where skirts or if they do they ensure that they wear shorts underneath.
Unfortunately, we live in a country where crime does exist and we need to be extra careful. How is the school security maintained? What is the nature of the community surrounding the school? Are their gangs or bullies? Are people required to report to the office before they enter the property? Who enforces this?
Most students enjoy being involved in extracurricular activities so find out what the school offers. Who oversees the activities? How often are they offered? Is the school open to starting a new activity that is of interest to children? How are the activities funded? Are some activities enforced, i.e. are children required to participate even if they do not want to?
Lastly and most importantly, does the school fit your family’s personal values? What kinds of things are very important to you and do they correspond with the school’s values? Are there areas of the school that run directly opposite those highest values? Or are they smaller issues where compromise is acceptable? Do you trust the people at the school to take care of your child and nurture him/her?
Choosing a school is an important decision. Remember, if you or your child are not happy it is not a life sentence. If you think your child would be happier somewhere else – change. A child’s school experience is very important.