When you are the parent of a small child, you want the very best for your child’s life.You want them to have the best health they possibly can. You want them to have the best opportunities they possibly can. You want them to have the best future they possibly can. A big part of that is choosing the best schools for them.
Your child will be spending most of their waking hours at school. The environment they get their education in impacts their character and development, as well as the opportunities they have after graduation. No matter what grade your child is going into, selecting the best schools for them is a critical choice.
Whether you need to identify the best preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools, our list of tips will help you in your search:
- Understand the methodology that the curriculum uses.
Some schools utilize a Montessori approach behind their curriculum, in which children learn organically, as they naturally did when they were learning to walk and talk. Others have a more structured “by the book” approach. Still others utilize an approach called “Unschooling” in which the children follow their own interests and learn through what motivates them.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. What matters is that you find a school that uses an educational methodology that jives with your child’s learning capacity. If you are unsure of the best methodology for your child, you may be able to take your child for a day before enrolling them. After a full school day, you’ll have a gauge of how well your child would do with the approach the school takes. This is particularly common in private preschools.
- Look for a school that is like-minded in your approach to discipline.
This might come as a surprise, but when you gather twenty or more children in the same room, every now and then, disciplinary action is going to be required. Because children are children. However, if the disciplinary methods that are use are adverse to the methods your child is used to at home, it could have a negative impact on your child’s development. If you are a strict disciplinarian and your child’s school takes a less serious approach, it could send the message to your child that the guidelines don’t apply while they’re at school. If you are a mild disciplinarian and your child’s school takes a more aggressive approach, it could be traumatizing for your child.
While scoping out potential schools for your child, ask about their approach to teaching a child to make different choices. The best schools closely align with your own approach to discipline.
- Understand your expectations before you jump in feet first.
It is almost unanimously believed that parental involvement is a critical key for success in school. We already know that you have this on lock because you are taking the time to research how to find the best schools for your child. However, some schools require a lot more involvement than others.
You don’t want to get your child involved in a school that requires more participation from you than you are able to offer. On the other hand, you don’t want to get involved in a school that doesn’t make parental involvement a priority if you want to be knee-deep in your child’s education.
Across the board, you should feel welcome to communicate with your child’s teachers and school administrators. If your child’s teachers send home nightly emails about what they did in school, this is a great sign. You want to see regular parent teacher conferences. You want to be able to ask questions and get answers. If you get a sense that your school is including you in your child’s educational, the most important part of this point is covered.
Beyond that, you should consider the level in which you want to participate in your child’s education and make sure it aligns with the school you choose for your child.
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