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Seven Tips To Choosing The Right School For Your Child

Seven Tips To Choosing The Right School For Your Child

One of the most important decisions  you will make as a parent is deciding which school is the best fit to enroll them. Make the right decision and you could put them on a path toward lifelong learning, a prestigious college education and a successful career. Choose wrong, and the path can be challenging. Talk about pressure. If you are facing this decision or know of someone who is – here are some questions that you should ask  when you’re evaluating a school — whether your child is entering a learning center at a very early age or starting pre-K and up.

  1. The Relationship Between The Child and The Teacher Is Key.  The connection between child and teacher is more important than any curriculum.  A child that is preschool aged – (3 or 4 year old) – is used to being surrounded by loving people constantly.  When you enroll them in a school  program, this may be the rist time that they are spending a large portion of their day away from those loving individuals.
  2. Seek out a learning center that has a teaching staff that is engaged with their students and communicates with the parents.  It’s best to speak with a prospective teacher about their classroom – listen to their expectations from a student. In addition, ask them about how they deal with a student’s strengths and weaknesses. You want a teacher who can communicate with you, is willing to share insight even before they have your child as a student, and takes great pride in his or her students’ progress and is consistently open to their improvement
  3. Surroundings Should Be Filled With WORDS!  Your child should be surrounded with words, especially in the early years. You want to look for books in the classroom and be sure the teachers use books on a regular basis with the students. You also want to ensure the teacher sets aside lots of time for reading, reading instruction and storytelling. In the preschool and kindergarten years, be sure the teacher is providing the building blocks for learning to read.
  4. Math Cannot Be an Afterthought. No matter the age,  your child should be exposed to math concepts.  A certain kind of math ability seems to be innate in all of us and has been measured days after birth.  Which means, in your child’s preschool class you should hear teachers discussing basic math concepts with students. Things like greater than, less than, bigger, smaller and reinforcing the number concept (“How much is three?”). As a parent you can follow up on these things at home by doing something as simple as counting the number of Cheerios in the morning. Don’t like math or convinced you are bad at it? Don’t tell your kids. Be on the lookout for a teacher who expresses a great deal of enthusiasm about math,  because the last thing you want is a teacher who is scare of math!
  5. Ring The Bell For Recess.  We all understand the importance of exercise and the need for movement in a child’s school day.  Studies have shown recess also increases cognitive functioning.  Every child needs downtime — a break from the rigor. Twenty minutes a day, at least. This holds true for the teacher as well –  they need breaks too.
  6. Teachers Matter — Even More than You Think.   While not even a superteacher can entirely alleviate the effects of poverty on students, excellent teachers not only teach more, but they can even accelerate the rate of learning among their students. And great schools grow great teachers. Look for schools that provide teachers with mentors, instruction and discussion of best practices.
  7. Don’t Choose A School Based On The Name.  A well-known name of a school does not  guarantee quality. Just the word charter or private does not mean the school is a success. Do your homework. Pick the school that fits your child the best!

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