How to Pick the Right Elementary School for your Child

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Picking the right school for your child will ensure that they are in an environment they can thrive in. Making the right choice from the start will ensure that your child gets the best building blocks to their education and that they are in a healthy, happy space and develop positive attitudes to school and learning. Selecting a school should take time, research and carefully weighing the options in your area.

Private or Public?

Don’t discount a school simply because of the way it is governed. There are great, lousy and mediocre schools in both the private and public sector. You should consider all the viable options in your area to find one that best fulfills your wish list and suits your child’s needs and disposition.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Write down all the things you are looking for in a school. Focus on the teachers first because they really are the most important element in a successful academic career. Next focus on the facilities that are available, and whether the school environment is one that suits your child’s learning style. Does your child need a very structured environment, or do they prefer one that is more open and flexible?

You should also focus on what kids of support your child will need, and how the school deals with social and emotional issues. Also worth investigating is the way homework is handled, how behavioral issues are resolved and how the curriculum is structured.

Extra-curricular activities are also important, so ensure that the school offers activities that your child will enjoy.

How are parents expected to get involved in school activities and how far is the commute? Check that the school’s policies and values are aligned with those of your family.

Doing Research

Start by going to school orientations and fairs to get an idea of the kinds of facilities the schools in your area offer. You can get an idea of the demographics and grades of the students by researching your school on the Great Schools website. Here you will find data and reviews from other parents so you can get a better idea of how a school really performs.

Speak with friends and family members who have sent their kids to schools in your area, and speak to their kids too so you can get a better idea of which institutions are best suited to your needs. Schools that look good on paper may not always be great in practice.

Pick the Right School for your Child

Getting your child involved in the decision-making process will help them to feel confident when they start school. Choose the school that best suits their personality and style; it’s best to go with your gut on this. If you are still unsure, there is a great book online for free which helps parents to choose a school that aligns most with their child’s needs. You can find the Picky Parent’s Guide here.

Pic by Phil Roeder
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