When most people think about choosing the best schools for their children, they mistakenly believe this task begins with college or high school. From the time you meet your baby, you want the best for them and education is probably top of the list. While a student’s secondary and post high education is of great importance, it is the primary years that literally pave the way for a child’s educational experience. The decisions a parent makes early on have the greatest impact on a child’s educational future.
You Know Your Child Best
It’s not unusual for parents to rely on their local public-school district. This can be counterproductive and unpredictable at best. School districts generally divide students up by neighborhood, assigning children to the school closest to their home. Overcrowded schools can result in children as young as kindergarten age assigned to a school far from their home.
Only you as a parent truly know what’s best for your child. While any prospective student can be tested at reading and math, exam results don’t mean everything. You understand your child and their true emotional level. What’s more, you may wish for a different educational route than that which is offered by the local public-school system.
These decisions should begin as far back as your child’s kindergarten classes. Ask yourself several questions before enrolling your child into any school:
- What will the class size be? Public school class sizes on the whole tend to be larger than that of private schools. This not only has to do with the cost of most private schools, but the manner in which classes are designed to be taught.
- Am I familiar with the teaching syllabus? While this may not be an issue during kindergarten or first grade, this is certainly significant as one makes progress through elementary school. Does the school whether it is a public or private educational institution make this information available?
- If my child excels at a subject or an entire grade, is there a mechanism for advancement? This includes skipping a grade or being able to take on advanced classes where appropriate. Likewise, how does the school handle those students who cannot keep up or need to repeat a grade?
- Are there enrichment programs available at my child’s level which meets his or her needs? For many parents, this is where private schools demonstrate their superiority. These activities can include music, dance, art, language and a wide variety of sports.
Types of Private Schools
When searching for a private school, take a good look at all the ones in your area. You may prefer a school run by a non-profit organization or a parochial school run by your religious affiliation. These schools combine a complete academic course load along with classes based on religion. Again, ask to see a grade or teacher’s syllabus to understand how this school approaches sensitive subjects of faith.
Choosing to place your child in a private educational institution is a choice that the majority of parents would make, if only they could afford this option. Before you rule out sending your child to a private school, inquire at that school about payment plans and sibling discounts. Don’t be afraid to seriously inquire about financial assistance and scholarships.
Whatever type of school you choose for your child’s early years, always know that you should ask questions of both teachers and administrators every step of the way. Should the school you’ve chosen fail to meet your child’s needs, it is your job as a parent to address the situation and makes proper changes as you see fit.