You have heard people say that the key to a successful life is a good foundation. Today children begin going to school from when they are toddlers. We have to remember that a big part of their foundation is built in school. Therefore, as a parent, you have to be mindful of the school you choose for your kids, no matter their level of education. For preschoolers, their learning is more to enhance their brain development, and for older kids, it is to prepare them for the real world.
So, keeping that in mind, here are some essential questions you should ask when choosing a school.
Most Ahmedabad International Schools will have their mission statement displayed somewhere in the compound. Usually, the mission statement is tied to the school's values and philosophy. The answer to the question above should align with your personal beliefs about education. It is equally important to know how they incorporate and implement their education philosophy in their curriculum and studies.
Is there space for your child to attend the school, or do you have to be on a waitlist? The best private and international schools have a waitlist because so many parents want their children to go there. Some schools will also need your child to take an admissions test or an interview. It will be best if you find out this information early in your search to prepare your child for the assessment. If you want all your kids to attend the same school, find out if the school has a policy in place to admit siblings. Find out also whether the school is inclusive, meaning their student and staff population is diverse.
As much as schools focus on developing the whole child, some schools prefer specializing in providing top students in a particular area such as sciences, sports, or arts. For example, if a school's academic focus is on the sciences, they will only admit your child if they are proficient. However, all schools in Ahmedabad accept different social, emotional, and academic backgrounds. You can still ask the school to describe their model student to you and decide whether your child fits their profile. If they don't fit, don't force it, it might not be a good match.
Depending on your child's age, you must ensure that a school has the right curriculum for your child. Each school has a different curriculum and academic program. It would help if you found out whether it is student or teacher-centered. Be aware of the various educational curriculums used in different schools and their teaching methods and if they are age-appropriate to your child. Some of the most common curriculums used in schools include Montessori, CBSE, International baccalaureate, Waldorf Steiner, STEM education, etc.
The student to teacher ratio should be a critical factor in choosing the right school for your child. The main reason why parents prefer private or international schools to public schools in class sizes. Private schools have smaller classes, which means that students get individual attention, and there is a better student to teacher engagement. Find out also if the school prioritizes differentiated learning. Students absorb information in different ways, and you have to be sure that your child will not be left behind if he learns slower than the others. Get to know also if there is specialized learning for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia.
If you like to plan your finances early, you must know the exact amount you will be spending per year on school fees. Many schools' tuition costs are not inclusive of uniforms, textbooks, sports, or extracurricular activities. Ask the school to give you a breakdown of all the costs to budget your finances in advance. If you require financial aid, find out if the school offers academic scholarships or bursaries for needy students. Some schools are considerate of families going through a tough economic time and offer parents a payment plan. Get to know all the options available and make an informed decision.
Co-curricular activities are a welcome break from the classroom for all students. First, know which activities your child is interested in. For example, if your child is into theater arts, you want to choose a school that has a theater club. Many private and international schools have a variety of programs for children. Public schools have a limited number because they are underfunded, but you can still get one that has what your child likes. Ask the school to outline all the co-curricular activities they have and at what age students can participate in specific activities.
Technology is changing the education system today. Many schools give their students laptops, interactive whiteboards, e-readers, and much more to enhance their learning experience. The school labs and computer labs are equipped with modern machines and the latest software, respectively. As you decide whether a school is suitable for your child or not, you must understand how the technology available in a school is being used to benefit the students.
Some schools have gone further and offer technology-based courses such as programming, robotics, and many others, which can help students advance to the workplace. You should also ask if the school incorporates technology in the classroom for students of all ages and ask specific questions about how they use it in the younger classes.
Student life is the daily life of a student in the school environment. The school environment is a crucial factor in enhancing the learning experience of students. It is best to go to school physically so you can see what student life is like. Ensure that the school environment is clean and safe. Visit the various amenities within the school and make sure they are high-quality facilities.
How is the school community in general? Does it promote cohesiveness among students and the various staff within the school? Do students take part in friendly school competitions during sports day or other school activities? If you happen to come across some students on your tour, stop and ask them about their school experience. If possible, get the opinion of other parents. Ask about their disciplinary actions for students with bad behavior. It might be uncomfortable, but it is essential to know what the school will tolerate and what it will not.
Children learn better when parents are involved in their academics. It is essential to choose a school that offers parents opportunities to be involved in the students' lives. Common opportunities for parents include participating in volunteer programs for school events, school board memberships, and other parent committees. Does the school hold parent-teacher conferences where parents can talk to teachers about their children's progress? How often do they happen? What are the role of the parents' board and the committee, and how can you contribute? Getting involved in school activities keeps you up to date on the school's daily operations.
A good school is committed to supporting the success and growth of its staff through professional advancement opportunities. Knowing this information is relevant because teaching directly affects your child's learning experience. A school with an unmotivated teaching staff will not produce high-performance students. Kids learn best from a teacher who is enthusiastic and loves what they do. Ask about the teachers' credentials to determine if they are qualified to be teaching the school curriculum, depending on your child's age. For example, a preschool teacher should have a background in early childhood development and education. Find out also if the school has a guidance counselor to offer advice for teens. If you have the time, don't be afraid to sit in a class or two and see how teachers run their classes.
Another thing to consider when choosing a school for your child is the location. Choosing a school near your area is practical because of the logistics, but what if it's not the best for your child. Fortunately, there is always more than one option to choose from. A school has to fit within your basic needs, especially if you are a working parent. The school schedule has to agree on some level with your work schedule. For example, if classes start at 9 am, you have to report to work at 8 am, that can be a problem, especially if you don't have a nanny. As much you put the child's interests first when looking for a school, it's only fair that it works for you as well