The right educational choice for your child can make all the difference in her or his successful academic career. The advantage is that there are many options in education beyond the school down the street today. However, the bad news is that such an abundance of options often brings parents in a dilemma over how to choose the right environment for their little ones. It is important to know what to look for in an educational setting to ensure your child receives the best possible education for his individual needs.
Research the Schools
It might sound counterintuitive, but the fastest and even simplest way of reaching an educational institution is online. Using the online space before visiting the institution will help you answer many standard queries. Check out each school website to discern more about individual schools, especially their mission, educational philosophy, and admission information pages. Ask friends, neighbors, and family for recommendations and then ask why they chose that particular school.
Consider your child and family
Start your search for the best school by thinking about what you want a school to do for your child. Perhaps your child has special language or education needs.Does your child need a more structured environment? Does your child need more individual attention? Does your child like to learn in groups? Does your child generally need extra help or more time to complete an assignment? Keep these in mind. After all, you know your son or daughter better than anyone else does.
Visit and observe school
Contact the schools you are interested in and make an appointment for a visit. If possible, tour the schools during regular school hours and visit a few classes. Nothing can replace a face-to-face visit and tour of the school – but with school closures and travel restrictions around the world is difficult. At British International School we are providing Virtual Discovery Meetings. Principal, Head of the School or specialist teachers can join part of the meeting. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the curriculum and the way we teach. Ask about the curriculum, including the arts, world languages, and technology. What areas are important to you? Get details about those.
Teacher-student ratio in a class
The best schools today pay attention to the individual development of each child entrusted in their care. This is only possible when each teacher has a limited number of students under her to care for and educate. Hence, when choosing a school, go for one where are 20-25 students per one class.
A child’s overall personality starts taking shape in his/her formative years and thus, exposing them to a variety of extra-curricular activities early on is imperative. At British International School we place a high value on Extra-curricular activities. When picking a school, you must see the amount of importance they give to this notion and their efforts towards that end. Is there enough facility for outdoor games, sports, team-building exercises, physical education? Do they encourage the arts such as music, drama, painting, dance, etc.
Extracurricular activities are an essential part of a student’s learning experience – especially if the child is less academically oriented. If your child is in need of more pastoral care and support, that also needs to be factored in. Ensuring the well being of students is central at British International School. It´s also important to consider your child special needs. There is Learning support team at school providing additional tailored support for students who, due to a learning difficulty or as a result of neurodiversity, find learning more challenging than their peers. It´s always good if school is providing strong pastoral care and oferring counselling support of social and emotional well being for students.
Trust your gut
Once the information is gathered and assessed, the bottom line is to choose the school that you and your child feel best about him attending. In some cases, this follows directly to the data; in other cases, you might simply get a good feeling about the staff or other features. The school you choose will make a difference in your child’s academic future, so take the time to research your options and then choose the school that feels the best to both of you.
We wish you the very best of luck!
Natalia Hanulíková is School Counsellor at the British International School Bratislava at The British International School Bratislava.