By Karishmma V Mangal
Picking your child’s school is essentially choosing the path he or she will tread through their most crucial developmental years. Every parent desires and endeavours to provide holistic nurturing to their children and a good school is an indispensible part of this process. Choosing the right institute for your child can be an intimidating task particularly because you need to consider a number of factors. However, what are these factors?
To begin with, think about what will work best for your child’s personality, strengths, needs and interests. You might also consider how different schools’ cultures and values fit with your family values and family life.
Here are some other important things you may want to consider:
- Do you prefer public or private education? Are the facilities or subject choices a consideration?
- Do you want your child to attend the same school that you attended or have a different experience?
- Do you want your child to have a religious education?
- Do you need to send your child to boarding school, or are you interested in distance education or educating your child at home?
- If you have other children, is it important that all your children go to the same school?
Based on your answers to these questions, you can create a list of schools that you would like your child to be admitted to. Now, to narrow down that list further, reflect on the following elements:
1. Proximity to your house
You don’t want your child to travel 15 km every day on their way to school. That is not only time consuming but also tiring for the child. Look for a school that is not too far and takes maximum 30 minutes to reach from your residence.
2. Competence of faculty
This is probably one of the most important points. Check the reviews of the school and its teachers. The learning methodology they follow at school, what is the educational background of the teachers and the quality of learning, etc. Talk to parents of students already studying in the school to gather this information.
3. Extracurricular activities
Understand the kind of extracurricular activities the school has in store for students and whether they are in line with your child’s interests. Many schools provide yoga, martial arts, music, dancing, cooking, coding, to name a few. Select a school based on its potential to nurture your child and his/her dreams.
4. Growth graph
Do your research to understand how the school has fared over the past few years. Has the school improved its academic results over time? What about its performance in other areas like the arts, sport or community engagement?
As much as we want our children to study in best of the schools, the budget is also imperative to which school we choose. Choose a school where you can sustain to pay fees regularly without it turning into an affliction for you.
6. Education board
Choose as per your preference between CBSE, ICSE, SSC, IB or Cambridge. Evaluate the pros and cons of each board and then pick the one you believe provides the most well-balanced education.
7. Hygiene/clean environment
When it comes to kids, a clean and hygienic school environment is priority. As a parent, you need to ensure that the school takes appropriate safety measures for outdoor games and activities. Check if the playground is kept clean and tidy, and whether the nannies and teachers follow a hygiene routine. These factors may seem trivial but are of massive importance as your child’s health and well-being depends on them.
8. School facilities
What facilities does the school have to support your child’s learning – playgrounds, library, music programmes, clubs and sporting teams? Availability of these facilities helps your child receive a holistic learning experience and develop a well-rounded personality. Children today don’t just need bookish knowledge; they require exposure to various situations that enhance their understanding of the life that awaits them outside the school premises.
Choosing the right school for your child can be a tough, nerve-wracking decision. While the quality of education remains the most important criteria, the opportunity to develop your child’s creative, physical and social skills is also a key attribute that needs to be given equal importance. It entirely depends on what’s important to you and your child. Whether you are looking for a school with a balanced sporting and academic approach, one with strengths in artistic and musical areas, or perhaps one with a strong academic focus, picking a suitable school certainly is a complex process. However, by following these tips and guidelines, it can be made simpler and enable you to make the right choice.
(The writer is Director and Trustee Thakur International School – Cambridge)