You have to leave your precious child with someone for more than 5 hours every day. Deciding who that person/institution is, is a big decision. What should you consider when you look for schools for your children?
Here are two questions you need to ask: 1. Will my children form good relationships with good people?
2. Will my children be taught well?
Relationships: Usually friendship with peers comes at the top of the list. You want your child to have friends who are friendly, accepting and with good values. Friends who take part in sports, academics, language arts, be aware of social causes and inspire your child to do the same. All this in a safe learning environment, where there is no bullying and an atmosphere where individuality is encouraged.
You want the teachers to be good people. They should genuinely care for their students and love their subject. They should love teaching, be ready to try new teaching methods while they focus on overall learning.
Good learning: We send our children to school to learn but what are they learning?
Bloom’s taxonomy explains that there are six levels of learning for students such as remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create. Most schools in India focus on the remembering and understanding aspects of learning. As parents, choose a school that will challenge your child to a higher level of thinking so they not only remember and understand their subjects but also learn concepts that they can apply, analyse, evaluate and create. They should not just write exams but learn through projects, discussions, debates and presentations that develop more skills than just depend on rote memorisation. Above all, the students should enjoy the learning process.
Some schools may only be concerned on academic results. Other schools may have teachers without a passion to teach. Choose a school that offers holistic care and academic excellence, a school that will shape the character of your child.
Bonus feature Steps to understand the values of the school
1. Check out the web-page - Does the school have principles you agree with, or you think will create an environment of forming meaningful relationships and good learning? 2. Pay the school a visit - See the students at play and look inside the classrooms. What interactions do you see? You need to assess if the learning environment that you observe is one you would like your child to be in and one that agrees with your desires for your child. 3. Curriculum - What curriculum does the school follow? What universities will be open to your children once they graduate 4. Sport, drama, language art, service opportunities, clubs - What does the school provide in these areas? 5. Communication between home and the school - Are the teachers approachable? Are they ready to talk to you about your child? Will they tell you when your child has done well in something, or is struggling in some area? 6. Student support - Will the school put measures in place if your child is beginning to struggle in some area? Will they encourage your child in his/her strengths? What happens if your child is reluctant to do the homework? What are the processes in place to keep them on track academically? 7. Safety - Does the school have good processes to deal with issues that concern you: fire, earthquake, intruders, etc.? Do they have satisfactory child-protection policies?
There are many good schools. You must decide on the school where you will be most comfortable to leave your child, knowing that you agree with the goals of the school and knowing that you can trust that those given the charge of educating your child will do so with genuine interest, care and professionalism.