Whether you remember your school days with fondness or an inexplicable gratitude that you escaped, no one can deny how formative those years of our lives are.
When it comes to making this imperative choice for your children, no one can be blamed for feeling a little overwhelmed. What are the most important criteria to take into account to ensure your little ones have the best education possible?
Here are a few things to consider in order to make the right choice for your little one.
Location, location, location
Choosing a top notch school may seem like a wonderful idea at the time, going purely on rankings and teaching standards. However, if it’s on the other side of the city from you, this idea may very quickly become regrettable after a few insanely early morning commutes. More likely than not, there is an extremely competent option in your area.
It’s definitely worth exhausting the list of schooling options in your neighbourhood, before committing to a choice which will be highly inconvenient for you and your child.
For many, it is ideal that their child’s school (especially in the case of primary) be walking distance from home. While they are little, this means a short walk for you in the morning without having to hop in the car. When they are slightly older, they will be able to travel the short journey solo.
If this is out of the question, decide what your deal breakers are – how far are you willing to drive your child to school? Are there schools you could consider that are en route to your workplace, thereby making it more convenient?
How Does Your Child Learn
Next, take into consideration whether your child has a particular style of learning that suits them best, or any other talents that might be worth taking a serious look at developing. Here are some questions to ask yourself to aid the process:
- Is your child a visual, audio or kinesthetic learner?
- How is your child with group work? Do they learn better in a team or with a more one-on-one approach?
- Does your child have a natural aptitude for sports/physical activity?
- Is your child more inclined towards mathematics/sciences or the arts?
- Does your child have a gift for music/playing a specific instrument?
- Are there any learning difficulties or disabilities your child faces that would impact where you send them to school?
- Would you ever consider a non-traditional approach such as homeschooling? This would involve making sure you have the necessary supplies and training yourself.
- The reality is, wherever they are placed, children are likely to adapt. However, if you can tailor the school you choose to your child’s natural inclination, they will reap maximum benefits from their education experience.
Thinking Ahead: Best Chances Of Success
Your child may be just about to enter primary school, but it is never too early to keep one eye on good secondary school prospects for when they graduate. The ideal situation is that the school you choose is in fact a feeder school for a secondary school that will be suitable for your child down the line.
We’ve already gone over a few questions you should ask yourself about your child and their capacity to learn or capabilities within a classroom. Now, it’s also important to make sure you have certain answers about the school you are considering itself – both in terms of what it offers your child now, and in the future.
- If the primary school is a feeder school – what qualification does the secondary school result in? For example, are programmes such as International Baccalaureate (which is becoming increasingly popular) offered as an alternative to traditional state exams?
- Track record: How has the school done in terms of academic results over the past few years? Have alumni gone on to high value further education or professions?
- Music/sport/community outreach programmes. Does the school have much else to offer besides achieving good grades? Are there opportunities for your child to grow their talents beyond academia?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the considerations to take into account when choosing a school for your child as it is a decision that will affect their lives for many years to come.
Just remember that rankings, reputation and results aside, the key thing is to find the right fit for your child’s personality. This is achieved through analyzing your child’s behavioural patterns, and research into the means through which the school delivers its education system. If you match those two findings together, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect school for your little one.