A school is a place where your child will spend the next 14 years of his/her life.
Is the school your child is going to, offering the best of resources?
Is it helping your child learn outside of textbooks?
More important, is it equipped to meet the future?
After all, the choices you make early on can have a significant impact later.
For many parents, getting admission in the school with the best facilities and a good transport system is paramount after all, passing out from a good school is a ticket to future success.
Parents may not appreciate the gravity of the decision they’re making – after all, the child will spend the fourteen most formative and crucial growth years in a person’s life in the institute they select.
For most parents, a choice of school for their children is driven by perception, word of mouth (reference from other parents), and infrastructure provided by the school. But, it’s just not enough parents need to discover more and realize how important these coming 14 years would be for their child and make a wise decision.
Here are some points enlisted which parents should keep in mind while searching for an ideal school for their ward:
How future ready is the school?
It is more important to know how the school is prepared for the future than its past pedigree. Your child will be in this school possibly for fourteen years. The world will be a totally different place by the time she/he is ready to go to college. It is important to equip children with skills in this context, skills that can help them navigate the uncertain future and succeed in the jobs and workplaces of that era.
How skilled are the teachers?
Very rarely do parents who go school hunting ask to meet the teachers of the school. This is a mistake because these are the people who will mould your child. Your son or daughter will spend over one-third of his/her life with them for the next decade and a half.
Ask to speak to a teacher or two, a short conversation can give you tremendous information on the teacher community in the school.
In this age and time, good schools focus on having a good program for their teachers and make them learners as well.
Does learning happen outside the classroom?
What percentage of the school week is typically spent in the classroom and what percentage in labs and sports?
Do children go on field trips or visits to local museums?
Do they meet achievers in various fields?
Making real world connections to what children learn inside the classrooms are becoming very important. Classrooms are the most artificial of places in the real world. Many schools have started designing programs to ensure children see the purpose of their learning, by being exposed to the real world.
How is the technology used in the school?
Most schools have a computer lab at the very least. Classrooms fitted with digital and ICT aids (smart classes) are fast becoming the norm. In these classrooms, teachers use a variety of digital aids like images, video, and PPT presentations to augment their teaching. Are children being exposed to the application of technology as opposed to just being taught features and functions? How a school uses technology and involves your child in this realm can be a big differentiator for life and careers in the 21st century.
How are children assessed?
Ask to look through a few textbooks. What will children learn in the different subjects?
How are they assessed for what they are learning?
Do assessments consist of observations, interviews, journals and anecdotes beyond the usual battery of pen and paper tests?
Are guidelines for assessment still mired in marks for different subject silos? Usually learning within schools focuses on subjects (90% or more) and every other element of reporting consists of cursory reporting of several ‘co-scholastic’ parameters.
Are involvements and achievements outside academics encouraged and supported?
Children who participate in tournaments and competitions outside school especially children who are gifted in sports or performing arts often miss classes. While schools are willing to give them ‘attendance’ credit, the children are still expected to play catch-up with their peers upon their return and ace the required tests and exams. Is the school supportive enough to provide some kind of extra class or additional aid for such students to manage their studies well.
What is the value system of the school?
Many schools incorporate orphanage visits or community drives or a weekly ‘Value education’ or ‘Moral science’ class to help children imbibe a good value system. Values must be practiced day in and day out within the school — from the management and principal who address the children at the podium, to the teachers who interact with the children for one-third of the child’s day, to even the support staff. Unless value education is driven in a well-structured program in a consistent manner, values will not become integral to the character of the student.
It’s not enough if the school has a great building, play areas, air conditioned classrooms, activity labs, and computers or tablets. There is more to learning than just an infrastructure, real learning lies in creativity, discoveries, and practical approach.