Parents want their children to live a happy life and enjoy their childhood. They want their children to have a nice place to live, have good food to eat and get a great education. In order for children to get a good education, they need to be in an environment that caters to their needs. It is critical that parents consider the following factors to ensure that a specific school is a good fit for their children.
Do not focus on standardized test scores
Standardized test scores do not always mean something. There are some schools that get their students to perform at a higher level. Likewise, some schools teach to the test. As a matter of fact, only one third of the curriculum is usually covered on standardized tests. When choosing a school, focus on the curriculum and how it can best suit the child's needs. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions about the test scores and why they have risen or fallen from one year to another. Standardized tests only give a small picture of achievement. Do not obsess about the scores and make them the selling point for the school.
Avoid the schools that do not have recess
Not having recess is a bad idea, especially for elementary school students. There are studies that have shown that recess gives children the opportunity for aerobic exercise. These types of breaks also help improve the children's cognitive functioning, which leads to better attention span in class. There are many schools that have stopped having recess because the government requires them to get in so many hours of instruction each school year. Kids need to be kids, and a part of that includes allowing them to take breaks, release their energy and have time to play outside. In turn, they will return to their classroom ready to learn with a better attention span.
Make a physical visit the school(s) before making a final decision
While many schools have a website and/or give other information about themselves, there is no substitute for experiencing a school's environment firsthand. Observe different teachers and watch how they teach and how engaged the students are with the instruction. Also, pay close attention to how they treat students, guests and their fellow staff members. This can speak for itself in terms of the quality of the school. If the environment does not feel comfortable, it probably is not. Trust your gut instinct before making a final decision. Also, do not be shy about asking for more information about the school, such as curriculum, rules, expectations and extracurricular programs.
Do not write off schools that are governed a certain way
Do not rule out a school just because it is public, private or chartered. There are good and bad schools in each category. If a certain school is written off, parents may be keeping their children from certain educational opportunities. In other words, do not assume a school is bad because it's public or chartered, or good because it is private. The visit to the school and the prospective parents' observations is what will determine what kind of a school it is.
Picking a school for one's child is a huge decision. Parents have many factors to consider before picking the right school for their child. Although it may seem overwhelming, it does not have to be. Following the above tips will help take the stress out of school searching and will ensure that parents find the right fit for their children.