Last November it hit me that my first-born will be 5 soon and will be starting kindergarten in September ( I know it was almost a year away) but in order to get into some schools around us you had to “school choice your child in” ..I was about 3 months pregnant and definitely did not need the stress, but I had no clue where to start and what to prepare myself for. I did not know what school zone we were in, what school was the closest, or should we go to a private school public? , so on and so forth. As an educator you would think I would know all of this but really I did not. As a parent it is so different, then as an educator. So read on further on what my husband and I looked for before choosing the school that fit right for my daughter….
8 tips to helping you choose the right school for your kindergartener
- Look for a program or school that fits your child the best; look for an environment that you feel your child will feel comfortable in. Many children entering kindergarten are not developmentally at the same place. You know your child the best so keep his/her needs in mind when you look at different schools. Some children need a more structured program than others. Take your child with you when you go on the tour and she/he will tell you how they feel about the school.
- Find your school zone by searching on the internet. Find what school district you fall into, what schools are around you and what reviews everyone is giving on the schools. This will help you decide what schools to visit.
- Visit each school around you, take a look around and see how the classroom walls are, this will tell you what the children are learning or writing about on a weekly basis. You can also ask to see what the lesson plan/curriculum is for the week.
- Look for a school with a low child to teacher ratio, you do not want 40 kids to 1 teacher (I am exaggerating) but honestly you want a low ratio to a teacher so you know the attention is given to the children and the classroom is manageable.
- Ask you neighbors where their children go to school and their opinions about the schools near you. It does not hurt to see what your neighbors think and have to say, I know my daughter is very close in age to my neighbor’s daughter and she loves her school and so do her parents!
- Private school vs. public school. Growing up I went to a private school because where we lived the school district was not good, but where we live now the district is pretty good and I personally want to try out the public school first and if that does not work out for my daughter then we would consider private. Private schools can get costly so have to think about the financial part as well.
- Location, location, and see how convenient it is to drive to the school you visit. See how far away it is for you. Will you hit traffic in the early am going there? Is it on your way to work? Take all of this in consideration because it is a day-to-day thing you will be doing for a while.
- Look for a school that has active learning, what I mean by this is look for a school that incorporates pretend play, hands on, reading, puzzles, and games. You do not want your children stationary, a classroom that has movement and fun is much-needed at this age.