Choosing the correct schoolWhich is the correct school for your child? Which is the best school? These are the two foremost questions when you are selecting a school for your child. The decision to choose a school that is appropriate for your child is one filled with several questions and concerns. The most important part of this selection is knowing and understanding your child and his or her needs. Below we have drawn out a structured process to help you as a parent make the best decision for your child.
Selecting the best school for your child will assist in his or her development, if the school environment caters for his or her personality. If he or she is happy at school the results will always be positive. The important thing to remember when selecting a school is that a school with the highest academic record is not necessarily the best school for your child.
Know your child1. Observe your child, discover his/her likes and dislikes.
2. Ask family members, friends and preschool teachers what they think your child is like and where they think he/she excels.
3. Expose your child to different activities, for example: sports, dancing, art and music, and see how he/she responds and what his/her preferences are.
4. Monitor for any difficulties in case your child needs extra assistance, for example remediation.
5. The guidance given by your Grade R teacher and any recommendation for assessments is usually given with the foresight of the primary school years. It is strongly advised to follow this guidance.
Visit possible schools1. Find out what extramural activities are available at the school, for example: art, sport and cultural activities.
2. Ask about resources available at the school, for example the library or gymnasium.
3. If you suspect your child may need extra assistance ask about remediation facilities.
4. Ask about class sizes and teaching assistants.
5. Ask about the school’s motto.
6. Ask the school what type of child they expect to excel at their school, for example if your child is creative, a school with art, dance and music would be beneficial.
7. Ask about teaching resources available to the teachers: Do they use visual, sound, touch and movement in their lessons?
8. Enquire about aftercare facilities: What activities does the aftercare teacher do with the children?
9. Ask about the availability or access to healthy foods from the tuck shop.
Information to keep in mind1. Personality traits of your child.
2. Be respectful that although a school may not be perfect for your child, it may be for someone else’s child.
3. Always ask questions and indicate your concerns prior to sending your child to the school. The more you know about the school, and the more the school knows about your child prior to accepting them, the healthier your relationship will be throughout his or her learning career.
4. You may wish to have an educational assessment by an educational or child psychologist prior to enrolling your child at the school to better understand his or her academic strengths and weaknesses.
5. Your child’s character and emotions will play an important role in your decision of where to send him or her to school.
6. Consider points such as: transport, fees, access and facilities prior to selecting a school.
7. If your child has an older sibling already attending school, consider whether their personalities are similar as the best school for the eldest sibling is not necessarily the best school for the younger sibling.
8. You may also want to find out which schools your child’s peers are attending as social circles also play a role in your child’s development.