How do you know which school is right for your child?

Girl child at school
Picking the right school is a big decision. Photo: Pan Xiaozhen, Unsplash

Searching for the perfect school for your child is a tough job, especially if you’re doing it the first time around.

Sometimes first-time parents ask their peers and neighbours regarding the fact, but fail to realise that what works for their neighbours’ children may not work for their own.

That renowned international school may not be the right school for your child. Maybe a small, inexpensive public school around your area is more fitting. At times like this, you need to ask yourself a million questions and inspect a few dozen schools.

Don’t worry. We’ll try to guide you through this gruelling process. Listed below are a few things you have to consider to help you decide where to enrol your child!

Family expenses and budget

Every parent wants to enrol their child at the best school in the country, but the reality is not everyone has the means to do so. Sending a child to school costs a lot and that’s on top of several bills you have to pay.

So before you go on school tours, consider your financial capabilities. Can you really afford to send your child to a fancy school? Are you in the position to take a loan? Will you have sufficient money to pay school fees and house bills?

If it’s beyond your means, find out if the school has scholarship programs. Ask how to apply for them and determine whether or not you are eligible.

School curriculum

At the basic education level, schools adhere to certain laws and regulations when creating their own curriculum. This ensures that all necessary subjects are being taught to children.

The difference lies in how much emphasis each school gives to each subject. Do they hold science in high regard and put more budget and effort into it? Do they value arts and creativity more than the scientific method? Or do they try to keep a perfect balance?

Additionally, ask yourself what your child wants and needs. Where does he/she excel at? You now have to decide whether you want to keep him in his comfort zone or challenge him/her further.

Teaching approach

Aside from the curriculum, you also have to know the school’s approach to teaching and learning.

It is important that you get acquainted with the staff of your desired school. Find out what methods they use to teach and discipline students. It is also important that they are able to communicate well with children.

Teachers should not be seen solely as authority figures. Children should be able to go up to school staff without fear and anxiety. This is especially important if you have a child with special needs. The school should know how to handle tantrums and sudden outbursts.

School community and culture

As much as education is important to a child’s growth, the environment around the child and the culture he/she is in is important in personal development.

Children spend most of their days in school with different people. While the school is responsible for how students behave, you cannot still be sure if your child is exposed to incidents like bullying and profanity.

It is important to look for a school that teaches its student values, discourage and sanction bad behaviours, promotes equality and compassion to others.

School security and safety

Schools aren’t just buildings where children go and study. They’re meant to be a second home.

Your child will spend more than half of his/her day roaming corridors, eating at cafeterias, chatting in classrooms, and hanging out at gyms or quadrangles, so you need to ensure his/her safety.

Ask the school how they prevent and handle various emergencies. How do they view and address abusive behaviours such as bullying, violence, and harassment? What security measures are in place to prevent serious crimes?

Key takeaway

There are lots of questions to ask when looking for the perfect school for your child. You will have to set aside time to inspect and study these schools and it will definitely tire you out.

You can enrol him/her in the best international school or opt for a small public school by your town. Whatever school you choose, ensure that it is within your budget and that your child can learn well in a safe and secure environment!