Factors to consider when choosing a school that is great for your child
If you’ve begun the search for a great school for your child, then the chances are that you’re feeling overwhelmed because this decision has consequences that impact the life of your child as a successful adult. Yet, if you look at this decision in a pragmatic way, it will not seem so daunting.
Firstly, let’s try to understand what a great school is and what it does, so you know what to look for. Academicians and parent bodies have worked extensively on identifying the components & processes that are benchmarks of a great school. While its important to identify these key features in a school, it is equally necessary to create a custom checklist that includes the factors that are relevant to you and your child. Let’s see how we can do this-
Step 1- Make a list of common and need specific criteria and categorize into
· Non-negotiable – which are an absolute must for the school to have/do.
· Indifferent to – the presence/absence of these, does not impact your choice.
· Desirable – which can tilt the balance in favor of a particular school.
Step 2-Collect all relevant information about these schools
Step 3-Evaluate the schools against your criteria of a great school and make an informed decision!
All schools teach but great schools learn.
Extensive In-Service Teacher Training programme
Great schools believe in creating a community of learners- not just for students, but for the teachers too. Pre- service teacher qualifications like B.Ed. do not adequately prepare teachers to create the conditions for engagement and learning amongst different types of students in the classroom. Regular, in- service professional development of teachers is necessary to ensure that they are equipped with all necessary knowledge and skills to help their students learn better.
The school which invests time and effort continually in its teachers, to ensure that they are capable, updated, and reflective practitioners may be the school you are looking for!
All schools teach, but students at great schools learn
Individual Attention, small group tutorials
Every child learns differently. Whole class instructions in large groups may not reach out to every student. The school which empowers its teachers to give individual attention to its students through smaller class sizes and innovative teaching practices may be the school you are looking for!
All schools teach, but students at great schools learn how to read, so they can read to keep learning
Robust Reading/Literacy Programme
Reading and listening are key skills to succeed in life. The school which actively promotes reading and literacy through classroom reading practices, classroom libraries, reading time [ as opposed to study time] and reading goals may be the school you are looking for!
All schools teach, but students at a great school excel academically
Provision for Competitive Exam Preparation
A great school has an atmosphere of high expectations. It empowers it students to learn, inspires them to set high goals for themselves and gives them tools to achieve those goals. Students at good schools can do better at competitive exams such as NTSE and JEE. The school which has innovative teaching learning practices and in- house preparation support for competitive exams may be the school you are looking for!
All schools teach, but students at great schools get opportunities to develop 21st century skills
Focus on developing 21st Century Skills
The new world requires new skills. Children need skills like adaptability, learnability, effective communication, problem solving, critical thinking to flourish in the future.
The school which actively and consciously works, beyond core academics and sports, to develop its students holistically for the 21st century, may be the school you are looking for!
All schools teach, but parents are actual partners at great schools
Transparent and Approachable School Management
Schools and parents have a common interest – the child. A great school involves parents in the learning journey of the child. A great school aims to enrich the teaching learning process, by involving parents in ideation and decision-making. Great schools create a community of learners by involving parents, teachers, school management and children.
A school which encourages parents to visit, is open to parents’ ideas and feedback may be the school you are looking for!
A sample checklist to find a good school
[for a middle school child]
Go ahead. Change the parameters to make it your own checklist!