Things to Know Before Choosing a School for your Child

As a parent, you have to take many decisions but one of the most important is to decide the school. While a right decision can lead the path to lifetime learning, a reputed college and a successful career ahead; a wrong decision can turn around everything. So, consider following points before enrolling your child in a school:

Relationship between teacher and student

It is important to have a connection between teacher and student. A student spends a long portion of day at school, hence, student-friendly teaching staff is of utmost importance. Visit the school and have a conversation with the prospective classroom teachers. Check if they can talk about individual student’s strengths and weaknesses and having information about the likes, dislikes, academic and social behaviour. A great teacher will never groan about the weaknesses but will take pride in a student’s progress and improvement. Being disciplined is important but being just strict on everything is not at all considerate.

Teachers- Backbone of the school

Excellent teachers not only teach more but accelerate the learning rate among student helping them to achieve greater heights of success in life. And great schools grow and nurture great teachers. Schools providing teachers with mentors, guides, instruction and implementation of the best practices are the ideal ones. Don’t go for a school where teachers are just interchangeable components. If you happen to see a class 10th teacher taking class 8th, it’s a negative sign. Ask the administration, how this teacher has been prepared for the lower grade to take classes. What kinds of training sessions are provided to the teachers? How do you evaluate teachers? How often do you evaluate classroom teaching?  You may ask the teachers how qualified they are and from which university or college did they pass out. These questions will not only answer your queries but also will show your concern towards the learning of students. It will also clarify whether it’s an ideal school for your child.

It’s not always about the test scores

Good test scores are surely an indication of good reputation of school. However, it can be misleading some times. Tests measure only about one third of curriculum. What if the school is teaching only the test curriculum in the classroom and missing out on the rest. Give it a thought. A school should be enriched with a thorough curriculum and the test answers should be embedded through that curriculum. This way, students are not only prepared for standardized tests but also prepared mentally strong. You may even ask for the report of other students and see the aggregate report, like, how many students have scored high in a particular subject and progress graph of students in each subject. Ask the reason of progress and wait for a thoughtful answer.

The out-of-the-classroom things

Before zeroing in a school, you should make sure that students are involved in extra-curricular activities. The phrase, ‘Study all time makes Jack a dull boy’ holds true. There is a world beyond classroom and students should be well connected to that world. Make sure that there are periodical visits to library and sports ground. Talk to the existing students about their connection outside classroom.

No break time means a big NO

Studies have shown that breaks between the periods and the recess break enhance the cognitive functioning. Besides sharing lunch boxes, students tend to share thoughts with each other, they discuss and interact classroom and beyond classroom things which is quite a necessity. Schools without recess and playgrounds are just camps or factories where the idea is that more instructional time leads to more learning. Avoid these kinds of schools. Even machines need downtime and these are students to have a break from the obstinacy. No matter the students are studying in an elementary school, middle school or high school, they definitely need a break- at least 20 minutes a day.

It’s not all in the name

There is no informal or formal word that assures quality of the school. Affiliated to board or adding international to the name of the school does not imply success. There are no uniformly great private schools, there are no uniformly great international schools and there are no uniformly great public schools. Actually there is no greatness in the name that can gravitate you to do the judgement. So, take your time, observe keenly, have conversations with the management, administration, teachers and existing students and parents. For illustration, if you are looking CBSE schools in Mumbai, download the list of schools and ask for reference to colleagues, relative or neighbours, shortlist few and visit them.

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