Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Pick the Right School for Your Child

Well, you’ve made it through diapers, potting training and preschool. Now what? The weight of your child’s future lies in your hands. Will he end up the CEO of some big company or living under a bridge? Will he be happy, or will he be thwarted with mid-life crisis because you pushed him in a direction that did not make him happy. How do you pick the right school for this wonderful child you loved and nurtured?

Where do you start? In the obvious place, a place too many often overlook…your child. Who is he? What does he need? And then, how can you get that for him? Every school has an underlying philosophy. Find out what it is. Then go visit the school. See if the school matches its own philosophy. For instance, they say they aim at positive self-esteem, but everyone is yelling at each other. The teacher talks sternly to the children as if the teacher anticipates they are all going to do something terrible at any moment.

Then check out how much personal attention each child gets, particularly in kindergarten for their first experience. It is so important to start off on the right foot with school a place for positive experiences. What is the teacher to student ratio? Are there any aids in the class? If you can’t teach 28 five year-olds at the same time to read, why do you assume a teacher can? We are all still human. Some of those kids will go unnoticed. The ones that require the most attention will probably get more than their share. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. The polite, quiet ones will probably go unnoticed.

Observe your child. Is he physically active? If so, either put him in a school that can accommodate that, or make his early experience Montessori. How does your child learn? If it’s by doing, does your local school have lots of manipulatives or just workbooks? If it’s not experiential, it’s probably not a good match for the active child.

Create your own checklist: physical environment, playtime, supervision on the play yard. You don’t have to be a teacher to have common sense. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid. After all, it’s your baby we are talking about. And above all, try to see the teacher your child will have. If it’s someone you wouldn’t want to spend every day with, why should your child? Don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. You have more power than you think.

1 comment:

wild lalang said...

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