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criteria for selecting a school

Discussion in 'Schools/Playschools/Daycares' started by sudhara, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. sudhara

    sudhara New IL'ite

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    Hi folks,
    It's that time of year when each parent run around to hunt for best schools for their kids. I happened to visit the Parentree site a while ago. They throw too many useful tips to be followed before you zero in on a particular shcool. Do visit their website Parentree to get more details. The following are some details which I happened to read when I logged in. here it is for the benefit of moms.

    • Figure out what works best for your child and family and what you all value. You might not have all the golden answers from day one but some introspection will help you narrow down on schools and tame this jungle better. Of course do discuss with your spouse. The process is iterative and as you visit schools and talk to parents you will better understand what you want in a school.
      • For example: Does your child work best in a structured or unstructured environment, does your child need a lot of attention? As a family what do you value - academic achievements, allround emphasis on sports, extra curricular activities etc.
    • The schools websites and prospectus will also give you lots of information about the school and what they emphasize.
    • Nothing like talking to other like-minded parents and seeing what works for them and what does not.
    • Do go and see the schools on your short list. Talk to the principals and teachers. Ask them probing questions.
      • For example, what is the main emphasis of the school? You will better understand if it is the merit list type of academic achievement or holistic learning.
    The selection criteria
    (Not in an particular order of importance as different parents view and value different criteria differently)
    These will help you to short-list schools and some common criteria for assessing schools. You can use this as a checklist as you talk to other parents and schools.
    • Kind of school (in general)
      • Is the school a mainstream, alternative, international, blend of mainstream/alternative, particular philosophy, co-ed etc.
      • What are the values and the emphasis of the school?
    • Curriculum
      • The subjects offered and the subject combination and electives offered in higher classes (class 11 and 12)
      • The languages taught.
      • Till what class is the school etc.
    • Teachers and the staff
      • The quality and quantity of the teachers in the school are very important.
    • Teaching and assessment (methods and style).
      • What are the methods of teaching used? Textbooks, workbooks, class discussions, projects etc.?
      • How do they assess students? Is it exams, quizzes, continuous assessment,unit/monthly tests, general assessment.
      • Do they have grades, marks or detailed descriptive assessments?
      • How much homework do they get?
      • What kind of learning does the school espouse and encourage? Rote based, balanced, conceptual, applied, lateral, creative?
      • Are the students encouraged to ask questions and discuss?
      • How do the teachers interact with the students and motivate them? Do they punish? How do they punish?
      • How do the kids move to higher classes?
      • Do you have a stand on what methods work best for your child and your family? Talk to other parents to try and figure this out.
    • The student-teacher ratio.
    • School safety
    • Daily, weekly and yearly routine and schedule
      • It can also help to understand the schedule of different events the school has: Show and Tell, school play, sports day, other events, whether every student gets to participate or only a few?
      • What external competitive tests does the school have? School infrastructure.
      • How are the sports facilities, building, the classrooms etc.
      • School cleanliness - bathrooms etc.
      • The classrooms.
      • Is the classroom space is clean, tidy and inspiring? Does it have work done by students?
      • The computer rooms, the labs and equipment
      • Playgrounds and open areas
    • The activities and sports the school offers.
    • Parent teacher communication
      • Some schools have regular parent teacher meetings. In some schools, parents can walk over to the school any time while in some schools parents can request meeting on certain times.
    • Distance from the school and the commute time
      • Does the school offer a bus or van service ?
    • The fees
    • Your gut-feel
      • Of course do all the research and analysis but do not over analyse. Listen to your gut.
      • Do not get overtly swayed by keeping up with your neighbours or how prestigious a school is but by how your child can benefit.
    HOpe this helps many moms including myself.

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