What does the “right school” mean? When parents ask about the “right school” for their child, it can mean many things. What are the parents’ values? Do they want a religious education for their child? Is the child headed toward college? Are the parents looking for enriched programs, regular programs, or programs geared toward the slower student? Would parents prefer an old-fashioned, rigid, and structured school, or an easy-going, creative school that allows children more freedom? Parents must answer these and the following questions, and think about their values and goals for their children. In large communities where there are many public and private schools, the selection can be confusing.
More questions to answer about schools.
- What do we expect and plan for our child? Is this what our child plans and wants, or are we imposing our hopes on our child?
- What aspect of our child’s education is most important? Religious education? Academic excellence? Sports, or some other factor?
- Does the school have to be near our home? Will my child drive or take a bus? How long will my child be on the bus and with whom will he or she travel to school?
- What is our socioeconomic level? Is that important?
- Do we believe in public or private education; does it make a difference?
- What is the quality of the neighborhood public school?
- Will we be happy with the friends my child makes at a particular school?
- Can our family really afford the cost of an expensive private school for the next few years, or should we save the money for college?
Parents must also consider the emotional, behavioral, and maturational level of their child and ask themselves the following questions:
- How bright is my child? How do we know? Has our child had an independent evaluation
- Is our child happy in his or her present school? Should we change schools?
- How easily does my child make friends? If we change schools will he or she be able to make new friends easily?
- Does my child have any academic weaknesses? Would he or she fit into a school that is geared to advanced, regular, or slower students?
- Does my child need a school that has special classes for children who are behind in one or more areas?
When in doubt. If a school choice is still not clear to you, consult your child’s teacher first and then another professional, such as a child psychologist and/or educator. They may help resolve your confusion and help you make the correct choice.
- An excellent way to check out schools is to talk to parents whose children are enrolled in the school you are interested in. Ask them about the prospective teacher.
- Some publications in your area rate schools. Check with your local librarian.
- Researching schools takes time. If you have the choice, start a year ahead of time to look for the appropriate school.