There are few more important decisions for parents than choosing the right school for your children. Get your choice right and they could be on the path to success, but get it wrong and the consequences could be serious. That’s why parents take this decision so seriously.
Many parents go to the extent of sending their children abroad, perhaps to one of the local international schools in Singapore or Hong Kong. For those who prefer to school their children at home, there is a lot to consider. Here are the key factors that you should weigh up before you make the final choice on where to send your children.
The teacher-student relationship is a crucial aspect of education, and is particularly vital in the early years. At the age of three or four, your child is used to being around supportive, loving people, and school is the first time that they will spend a significant length of time away from home. When considering a preschool, it is important to look out for engaged teachers who can talk with enthusiasm about the achievements and strengths of the children under their care. Avoid schools staffed by authoritarian or unengaged teachers.
Words are crucial
Particularly in the early years, children should be surrounded by words. Make sure that you choose a school with plenty of books in the classroom, and ask teachers how much time they set aside for reading and for trips to the library. In the crucial preschool and kindergarten years, it is important that the school is giving the children the building blocks that they need to develop reading and writing skills, so look for schools that teach syllabication.
Math is important
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of math. From the beginning of their time at school, your child should be introduced to math ideas. It is not necessary to wait until they are older before exposing them to abstract ideas, such as greater than, less than and so on.
It is also easy for children to pick up an anti-math attitude, so look for a school with math teachers who are enthusiastic about their subject.
Don’t worry about standardized test scores
It is true that good test scores may be an indication that the school is succeeding in the education it offers to its students, but often it is simply an illustration that the school is teaching to the test. It is important to remember that standardized tests will only measure roughly a third of the curriculum that is necessary for a rounded education, so schools that teach for the test will not be giving their students the best education. Ask questions about a school’s test results and be wary of schools that focus too much on tests.
There is no way of guaranteeing that your child will end up in the best school, but by bearing in mind some of the points above, you can help to give them a good chance of deriving the maximum benefit from their schooling.