Are your friends and colleagues constantly besieging you with requests for information on how you went about picking a school for your child?
The right school for your child can make all the difference in his or her successful academic career. The good news is that there are many options in education beyond the school down the street today. The bad news is that the abundance of options often leaves parents in a quandary over how to choose the best environment for their children.
It is therefore important to know what to look for in a school to ensure your child receives the best possible education for his specific needs.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
- KNOW THE SCHOOLS within and outside your area. Get information about these schools by visiting their websites and asking friends, neighbors and family members.
- TEST DRIVE THE SCHOOL by visiting the ones you’re interested in during a regular school day. Ask to observe teachers in class so you get a feel for how they treat the kids and one another. You don’t have to be an expert to get a good sense of what is — or isn’t — happening. Are the teachers engaging the students? Does the teacher check for understanding as he or she teaches? If the students are working in small groups? Can the teachers talk with you after class about the curriculum and how they make decisions and set expectations?
- CHECK OUT TEST SCORES – Test scores may not tell everything about the effectiveness of a school, but they are an important component in determining how well the students at that school are performing academically.
- ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS– Before your school visit; prepare some questions to ask the principal/Head Teacher and teachers you meet. A one-on-one meeting with the Principal/Head Teacher during your school visit is great opportunities to ask question such as:
How are teachers trained, supported and monitored by the school?
What methods does the school use to handle behavior problems?
What amount of homework does the school give its students?
- ATTEND A PROGRAM TAKING PLACE IN THE SCHOOL– Most schools welcome prospective parents to their upcoming events such as plays, graduation This can also be a good time to ask questions and take a school tour.
- LOOK FOR A SCHOOL THAT ENCOURAGES YOUR CHILD TO ACHIEVE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL– Whether your child has a penchant for music or math, athletics or languages, make sure the school is prepared to support it. There should be robust educational and growth opportunities beyond the basic curriculum offered.
- SELECT A SCHOOL THAT GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY– Be sure the community sees the school as “part” of them. The school should expose your child to opportunities to “give back” in his/her neighborhood and beyond.