Choosing the Right School for Your Child
All parents know this struggle. What school is best for my child? It seems near impossible to know which school is best, and then once you choose one, it can be difficult to secure a spot on the roster. Don’t stress! It’s easier when you make a few lists and take your time throughout the process to narrow down your search. By asking the right questions and knowing where to begin, choosing the right school for your child can be easy as 1-2-3.
- Consider all of the different styles of schools. Of course there’s public and private schools, but have you ever consider non-traditional schools such as Montessori or Magnet programs? Montessori schools believe in letting the child discover their own education. There are classrooms and a schedule, but the students are encouraged to experiment and learn by trial and error. Magnet schools are excellent for students who have a strong passion for a specific subject. You child will still receive a well-rounded education, but there will be more time devoted to one specific area of study. By observing your little one, you might be able to tell that he or she was born to sing and dance. If that’s the case, look for an arts magnet school.
- Broaden your search to include all schools in your area. The non-traditional schools are typically smaller and offer more personalized learning experiences for your student. Write down all of the possible schools, even the ones that you think may be too expensive or out of reach, and start calling them.
- Plan a visit. You don’t have to do all of the school visits at once. It may be best to spread the visits out so you all of the schools don’t blend together. Chip away at it. It’s best to plan a visit while school is in session so you can see what an average day will look like.
- Make notes during the visit. Do you feel comfortable with the teachers and administration? How do they speak to the kids and how to they speak to you?
- Ask to review the education plan or curriculum for the grade that your student is going in to. See what the structure of the day is like. See if there are plenty of extra curricular activities for your student to be involved in.
- See the facilities. Walk through the gym, art rooms, computer labs, and libraries. See everything that they have to offer.
- Consider the meal plans. If the school will feed your student, ask what snacks or meals they offer. Ask to see the cafeteria and the meal plan for that month. Is the food healthy and inline with the diet that you would serve your child?
- Talk about the price. Money can be a big determining factor, but it doesn’t have to hinder you from the perfect school. Most private or non-traditional schools will award scholarships or offer payment plans to make attending more affordable.
Make a pros and cons list for every school. After the visit, you’ll probably knock out a few schools. With the ones left over, review the ones that you liked the most. Decide what’s more important to you. The top factors will most likely be cost, curriculum, teaching styles, and influence of religion.
Lastly, and most importantly—ask your child where they would like to go! Regardless of their age, ask them what their preference is and why. Learning will be fun if your child wants to be there.