Choosing a place of education for your child is an important decision and one that should be given time and thought. You need to find somewhere that is the right fit for your child and your family. You want your child to thrive and flourish and want to go back day after day. Check out our article How to Pick the Right School also.
To help find a ‘good’ fit school for your child and family, consider these things:
1. The philosophy of the school – what is important to them and why?
2. The curriculum offered – UAE has a vast range of curriculums offered, make sure you know which curriculum you want and why.
3. The teacher to student ratio (how many qualified teachers are there for a set group of children?) look for higher teacher ratios with fewer students.
4. Ask how they support children as individuals? Do they have programs in place to support, extend and challenge children?
5. Ask about how they support culture and the diversity of the student body. Do you want a school that has a multicultural feel that encourages children to share about their backgrounds or do you want a streamlined stock standard school?
6. Find out what level of parent involvement is expected by the school
7. Find out how you will be informed of your child’s progress and learning. Lots of schools use online portfolios, others a simple report twice a year while some have open door policies letting you get feedback at any time. There is no correct answer; just make sure that you are comfortable with it.
8. What extra-curricular activities are available? Is there an option to drop children off early or pick them up late? Can they do extra classes after school like swimming, music or sport?
9. Does the school offer incursions or excursions?
10. Does the school have a set behaviour management plan or program (in other words, what does discipline look like at school) and does it match with your philosophy in the home?
11. Have a look at the facilities offered. What does the classroom look like? What playground options will your child have? Is there a specialist art, music or messy play area?
12. If your child is younger, ask how much child-led play they will be offered during the day. Young children need to play. Play is how they learn, and they need to take the lead in making these choices the majority of the time. Check out our article Preschool at Nursery vs School, which is better?
13. Check the basic things such as if there is a qualified nurse on staff, who to contact for different queries, school fees, uniforms and other policies.
14. You might also want to know how class groups are formed; the common answers are: by student’s ability level (each grade is streamed from high to low), by friendship groups, or a mixture of both. Again, make sure that this fits well for your child and that the environment will empower their learning.
15. Understand what other parents who are enrolled think before making your final decision. Hear about the school from their perspective (or the perspective of their children).
Most importantly don’t feel bad for asking too many questions or visiting a few times before making up your mind, your child’s education is, and you want them to settle and feel happy.
Check out our article is Homeschooling Really an Option? also