Choosing a School: 10 Things That Matter to Parents
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Choosing a School: 10 Things That Matter to Parents

Today, there is pressure of finding the best of everything, and finding the best private for your child is no exception. Most parents take up the task of doing research to at least get information of the best schools. Finding the perfect school for your child can be stressful. You want an environment that is nurturing, educative, supportive and all round developing.

So what exactly should you be on the lookout for?

Mission statement.

A school communicates a lot in its mission statement. Actually, every institution does. When on the hunt for the perfect school, look at the mission statement carefully. What message does it convey? What is the wording like? Are there words like "nurture" or "support," or is it "discipline" or "organize"? Listen to the message being communicated by the school and do not ignore it. Take it to heart.

Numbers Don’t Lie

You might want to look at the numbers. All of them! What is the student to teacher ratio? What is the schools performance record over the years in standardized tests? How many children have previously been enrolled to College? What are their statistics on bullying, discipline, truancy? You want an environment where your child feels comfortable and secure. It may seem trivial but these are issues that will affect their performance, esteem, creativity and mood in the long run. Do your research and get the numbers. They don’t lie.

Curriculum

What will your child be learning? Ask about whether they have gifted programs that meet your child’s needs. Every child is different. Put into consideration whether or not each school's individual instructional philosophies and methods are suitable for your child's learning style and temperament.

Special Needs

Especially for younger children, it is important to know if the school has skilled enough staff to diagnose conditions such as dyslexia or any other learning ability. The reason is that you may not yet know if any such condition exists in your child. The school should be able to have mechanisms in place to teach such children or if they have to send them to a different school.

Choosing a School: 10 Things That Matter to Parents

Co-Curricular Activities

Are there after school activities for the children? Critical thinking is the purposeful, active, cognitive and organized process that can be taught. Art can develop this type of critical thinking. Skills children require for critical thinking support learning, necessitating the ability to identify the connections between different concepts, topics and disciplines.

Different forms of art can be applied to the process critical thinking. Presenting students with a task and allowing them to describe their interpretation is one way. Asking students to make a collage from items of their choice to further represent their interpretation of a piece of art or any choice of subject will definitely provide a basis that will elicit creative and critical thinking in them.

Scholarships

Ask about where students with exceptional grades or skills get scholarships. Are there scouts who come searching for raw talent at the school? This is also a key consideration. You don’t want the next Michael Jordan to fade away in the crowd without getting an opportunity to flourish

Ask about parent involvement.

A school should be a great fit for not only your child, but the family as a whole. Ask about the level of involvement required of parents. Is there a way in which parents should volunteer their time each week? Having no PTA topped up with a history of underfunded school trips and activities is a bad sign? If possible, engage families who have or have had children in the school. Get information directly from them about the school you are considering. They can tell you about both their good and bad experiences there and help you decide if you want to be part of such an institution.

Choosing a School: 10 Things That Matter to Parents

Walk the walls.

If the school you are considering have walk-throughs, it would be a good way to know more about the school. Get some insight into the classroom your child would be spending their day in. Look at what is displayed and see what the children are working on. Look at the materials they are covering and discover how they engage with it.

Environment.

It is said that you can tell a lot about the satisfaction of employees by simply observing them. Pay a visit to the schools on your list. Teaching is a calling, yes, but at the same time, a job. What do you see? Does the staff look happy and content? Or do they look miserable and like that is the last place they want to be? A happy teacher means a happy student. Do no ignore what you see. Are the class sizes sufficient? Is there individualized attention to the students? These are indicators of how your child will benefit in that school and if they will thrive

Financial Stability

Financial stability is very important especially in private schools that have no government funding. Ensure that you are sending your child to an institution that can afford to pay its teachers’ salaries and keep the school running with all the amenities in top shape. A well run private school that is financially stable and a perfect fit for your child.

No school can be perfect, even with all the above points checked out. And that is fine. All you need to do is make sure that you do due diligence and find what works best for you, your child and your family. Pursue a school that offers more successes than it does struggles.