Searching for the school
that is a good “fit” for your child is a challenging task
and an adventure at the same time. It is a challenge because
often parents must wrestle with their own hopes and dreams
which may differ from what is the best “fit” for their
child. It is an adventure because parents will be exploring
options, be involved in lots of discussion and travel
through an involved process of decision making.
Here are some ways to begin the odyssey.
materials such as school literature and independents
Visit a range of
schools—do not look at cost first—visit first.
Consult with your
child’s current teacher.
Talk with admissions
representatives, faculty, and students.
Take a school tour.
Accompany your child
to a school sporting event, school play, or science fair
to experience co-curricular options.
Talk to parents of
children who attend the school
Try out their summer
camp if you have lead time.
For young children, they
will feel comfortable where parents feel comfortable.
Envision your child in the environment. Would they like to
become involved in what you see? Visualize an accurate
picture of your child in the environment. If your child is
an observer, look at the adult(s) to see how they notice and
interact with quieter children, If your child likes to move
around, is there an option to get up and move around the
classroom individually or are the children organized mostly
in group activities and sitting for longer periods of time?
For older children, involve them in the process. Let them
talk about their interests and what’s important to them.
Visits are always part of the application process and get
your child’s feedback. Stay calm when they’re reviewing
their day. Make a grid of the positives and negatives.
Remember this is ultimately a parents’ decision. An
elementary child continues to feel comfortable where you do.
A potential high school student may have some stronger ideas
and feelings to consider and need to be “heard out” through
the process unless there are certain limitations for
matching your child to a school—learning style, special
Ask questions. Here’s a
high-quality and committed teachers?
What is the
student-to-teacher ratio? How does it work?
Do students feel
challenged by their school?
Are there strong
partnerships among parents, teachers, and students?
What is the tuition?
financial aid is available?
How does the school
measure quality and meet high standards? Testing
environment? Non-testing environment?
Use the web to help you to research. Consider the following
web pages: www.PAISPA.org,
Finally, relax. There will be a school for your child and
with all things considered, you will make the best choice.