Know about your child's need:Before you apply for any school, the first thing first you must know about your child's personality, interest and needs, as well as the family needs. Would you prefer a school, which provides the childcare service also after school hours. Every child in this world is different, and until he doesn't find a ground which can groom up his talent you should continue your search. He's the best and he needs nothings less than the best. Only the reputation of the school as well as the facilities provided may not be sufficient for choosing a school, but most important thing is what kind of facilities are being provided there. The school may have a huge campus, football ground, riding club but the students may be poor in the IQ (Intelligent Quotient), will you still go for this school.
You should also know, as what your child prefers. If he's to an age where he understands things you should take him to the schools and ask if he/she really likes it. This is more relevant, when you're searching for junior school or high school. Also ask him, as where his/her friends are going, as the early days in the school are really very tough and having few close friends is very-very important rather than asking him to make new friends. Don't make the world more complex.
As described earlier, don't choose a school based on facilities offered, but make a choice based on what your kid wants. Try to understand, if he's bright in a very particular area e.g. arts, music or a particular sport. If yes, it really makes sense to find a school which can support him. You would like to understand, how a school will help him develop more on that and provide a platform and provide him a boost to excel. Most of the school simply follow the standard curriculum but some are specialist in a particular subject. Visit the school and research on their teaching philosophy.
Along with it's good if you can find a school which offers extended services e.g. after school activities, place visits. Nowadays more and more schools are tending in this direction.
Gather information about schools:It's always advisable to start searching and gathering information as soon as possible to avoid the last minutes hiccups which may force you to take the decision not suiting your child's need. You can ask your close friends, relatives on the first hand information on the good schools, as they're very reliable source of information, also there're very useful website which will provide all the basic information on the schools, start searching and prepare your list. Some things to remember...
- Start searching for the schools which are nearby your locality, go far only when you can't find anything near your area.
- Ask yourself and your kid, as what kind of school and what type of facilities you want in the school.
- Gather as much information on the school. Good if you can find out teacher to student ratio, performance of the school, IQ, age of the school, teachers minimum qualification, performance tables
- Most important is to visit the short-listed schools.
Online Information: Search online for the first hand information on what you need to know before approaching the school. You can find the school contact information, facilities, parents reviews and ratings. You can even compare the schools, which helps you narrow down your search.
School Visit: If you're now at a level where you think that you have some schools which fit to child's need, it's time to visit the schools. Most of the schools are open till evening. Take sometime off and visit the school, feel the ambiance, meet the staff not just the management and study the children. Ask yourself,
- if this is a school you want for your child.
- if this is the schools welcoming enough to absorb your child and make his/her dreams come true.
- if the schools offers all the necessary equipments, facilities your child will need to pamper his/her talent.
- if the staff-parent interaction is good.
- if the schools offers transport facility and roads are safe. Length of the journey is an important factor, don't overlook it. The children may get tired in the summer and in winter it may be too early for them.