One of the most important parental decisions that you will ever take is choosing the right school for your child. Moms, often spend sleepless nights over this decision. Given the myriad options of schools around, it often gets difficult to select the right one for your kiddo.
Here are some tips to follow and questions to ask that would help you in making an informed decision:
There is no 'The Best' school out there:
So stop looking for one! Instead shortlist a few good schools in your city.
Don't go overboard with Research:
Once you have shortlisted the schools, it's ok to take feedback from moms who send their kids to those schools. But if you go on asking, you will only get further confused with the varied opinions and feedback.
Check the Reputation of the School:
• Are there any controversy associated with the school?
• Does it have good quality teaching staff?
• How do they handle bad behavior , bullying or indiscipline in kids?
I would definitely stay away from a school that has any record of corporal punishment.
Visit the School:
Whether the school you choose is old or new, you must visit the school first. Many schools arrange school tours for the interested parents and explain their views and objectives elaborately. As a parent, it's important that you do this, so that you know why did you choose the school for your child.
How Safe is the School?
This is one of the key points that you need to consider. Even though the infrastructure looks solid and classrooms have AC and are made child-friendly, don't forget to ask if the CCTVs in the schools are in working condition, if the staff like drivers, ayahs are groomed and periodically screened, if the toilets are clean and there is treated water supply for the students or not.
Are you in Sync with the School's policies?
If you believe and understand the school's policies like their teaching methodologies, leave policies,point of focus etc. , then go ahead. Don't enrol your child to a particular school just because your friend's kids go there. What may work for your friend, may not work for you.
What Curriculum does the School Follow?
Often parents are clueless over which board to choose. Take it easy and don't wrack your brains over this. You have to choose among the following :
• State board
Each board has its own pros and cons, strengths and weakness. Like there's no such thing as the BEST school, similarly there's no such thing as the 'BEST' board either. Each differ in their approaches and ways. The board and the school ideologies go hand in hand towards a child's holistic development, ofcourse alongwith the home environment as well.
You can find details about each of the above board here
Student - Teacher Ratio:
When assessing a school, you must check the student - teacher ratio. If you think your child may not be able to cope in a big classroom, it's better that you choose a school that gives more one to one attention. Especially, till the 2nd grade, a child might need that one to one handling to get more clarity on various new concepts, develop confidence etc.
Is there a good, well stocked library in the school?
Remember, a school can contribute largely towards developing your child's reading habit. So, do check how good is the library of the school.
Extra Curricular Activities:
Although your child can always join sports or arts outside of school too, but it's a good thing if the school goes beyond academics and lays emphasis on the extracurricular activities too like sports, yoga, dance etc. For me, the check points were if the students have PE ( physical education) and computer classes regularly.
Channels of Communication
Are the school authorities like teachers, principal etc. open to feedback from the parents or hearing their concern?
Does the school support or identify kids with emotional or academic difficulties?
Counseling is no more a taboo. If your child is facing any issue, the school should be equipped to support and assist the kids.
There's no dearth of school these days. So, it's better if you choose a school that's closer to your home, so that unnecessary time is not wasted in the commute. Also, if you need to avail the school bus service, it's an added benefit if the school provides safe transportation system too.
How Progressive is the School?
It's necessary that the school keeps pace with the developments of recent times and implement the same in the their teaching process.
I remember subjects like moral education and value education in my school and certain lessons learnt during that time have stayed with me forever. Check if the school you choose has such classes or conduct impactful workshops and seminars.
Schools play a very important role in shaping up a child's life. So , when you've decided to send your child to a mainstream school, you might as well do the solid ground work upfront. That will save you so from regretting your choice later on. Ofcourse, you can always change your child's school if you are not happy, but since school memories are forkeeps, let your little ones make the best of it.