Once we get over the shenanigans of infancy and toddlerhood the biggest question in front of us as parents is schooling. Starting with the first and obvious confusion of which school we choose and the issue is further compounded by the choice of curriculum. With such varied criteria and ever-changing times certain pointers to help keeping it simple and ultimately narrowing it down
What’s in a name? – It is famous and so and so celebrities’ kids go there or it has a documentary to its credit. Yes a school with good reputation matters but it does not mean only highly decorated (with awards and high ratings) schools are good and the others are not so we need to do a reality check here and decide if we want celebrity hood or normalcy.
Rate card – Yes your budget needs to go hand in hand with the school fees and other extra costs. It should not burn a hole in your pocket unless you are ready to fire one up yourself. High fees are not equal to high quality of education so you need to work the math out financially.
Core Values and School culture – You can check their brochures and School websites to see the basic values that the school promotes. Is it multi cultural and diverse and all inclusive? Whether it has the right policies and departments to deal with any expected educational and emotional upheavals of kids OR has the basic needs for example counsellors, special education teacher, rehabilitation centres, strong anti-drug abuse policy, clinic, nurses AND a balanced policy for addressing behavioural issues.
Time and Motion – You need to see the distance and the time taken to reach and return from school, their transport timings and the facilities and transport waiting area, etc. A school should be reasonably close or next to station or bus stop.
Clean and Clear – Check for overall cleanliness; playgrounds, common areas, washrooms if stocked with tissues, sanitary napkins vending machines, clean and healthy canteens, waste bins at crucial points, Separation of adult and children bathrooms etc are a must
Curriculum Vital – The curriculum that you finalise should align with your future goal paths, child’s liking and nature so that you can choose the best curriculum catering to your and the child’s future development needs
Security Check – Cctv cameras in common areas and passages, cleaners and Nanny areas separated, security passes and identity checks at gate, Alertness of staff checking on kids roaming unsupervised in corridors or school premises, safe waiting area for transport, can be the ice breaker while zeroing in on school.
Tour De School – Take a school tour or visit get a feel of the infrastructure, the outdoor and indoor planning and the classes and seating arrangement and the information boards and bulletin boards and class board content, lobby reception staff pleasantness all adds up to a feel good or not about the school in question. Take the kid along too, to get a feel of their aspirations and expectation.
Assessments – Check on their Grading systems and policies. There should be all subjects, humanities, maths, science, and equal importance must be given to all. Along with this a balanced timetable should have physical education (P E ), Music, optional languages and foreign languages.
Extra and Co curricular – It’s not just the books but the outdoors and the exercise and activities that stimulate the child’s development. So check for sports, drama, arts, dance, music, etc all other classes that could help the child develop a healthy hobby and balance out the study with fun factor.
Talk and Find – Talk to parents of existing students get a feedback and a review from maybe any ex staff or other peers who could give you a better picture of the school at large.
Performance – Every country has its educational department which conducts yearly or three yearly inspections of the various schools where they rank them in certain long tested and set criteria and give them an overall score which again can be accessed on the government websites. So you can check for good performance in the last three years.
All in all it is a crucial decision for your and the child’s future. It should not be made in haste. Soul or School searching is now a pivotal link to building a child’s attitude towards the future career or passion that they might foster or emulate from their role model.
All the best for school! May the best school win your beloved child! AMEN!!!
Image courtesy – https://www.dezeen.com (main image), www.gograph.com
- Pooja Guha-Bansode
- September 7, 2017
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