Saturday, October 31, 2015

Letters: How to choose a school for your child

NEIFPE member Susan Berry sent this letter to the editor. In it she gives a teachers point of view on choosing a school.

How to choose a school for your child

Published: October 30, 2015 8:01 AM

Choosing a school for your young child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. This is a responsibility not to be taken lightly, and it’s best to not make a decision until you have visited at least one school in your area. Thanks to my experience as a retired teacher, a mom and a grandma, here are some questions to ask yourself during these school visits:
  • Is the office staff friendly and welcoming? Is there a full-time school nurse?
  • Is the library “kid-friendly” with lots of books, tables, small chairs and a computer?
  • Do you see caring teachers who are attentive to all children?
  • Are the children engaged — maybe at a desk or table or maybe working in a group on the floor? The classroom does not have to be quiet, but children should be on task.
  • Is children’s work displayed?
  • Are there computers in each classroom or in a computer lab?
  • Are there music, art, and gym teachers? These classes are important (and may be eliminated during budget cuts), but be alarmed if the school doesn’t value these subjects.
  • Do you see a play area with both playground equipment and grassy areas for outside play?
  • Are the hallways and classrooms clean? Is the area outside the school clean, and is there space for drop-off and pickup?
  • Can you picture your child — or even yourself — in this school setting? Does the environment feel secure yet stimulating?
No one can tell you the right school for your child. But as a parent you know the best fit for your young person and your family. Do not dismiss the idea of a public school until you have visited one. My bet is that your public school experience will be a welcome, pleasant surprise!

Susan Berry


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