Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Choose the Best (Private) School for your Child

By Cherry Moriones Doromal

           Due to curriculum changes locally (K-12), as well as in the international school where my children are studying (from IB to IGCSE concentration for secondary), I am looking at the possibility of transferring my kids to a local school next school year. Other than that, we might move to a new home in the near future, Lord willing. 

         As educator-mom, this is a serious matter that I have to give attention to. And I am planning  proactively a year ahead.

            To tell you, I  have read  all the websites and reviews of as many good schools as I can. They're really very helpful. Thank you everyone for blogging and reviewing!  I also emailed and visited some of my choices, and this is  the  season where I realized that choosing the best school for your child is such a tactful process; hence, I wrote this Mommy's guide for parents like me:

     1.   Make a thorough research. List down your top 5, and then trim down your list to top 3.  In doing so, consider your priorities. Your standards all depend on your preference.

          Ask yourself which aspects you give more weight into Eg. (1) Academics (2) Reputation and/ or Standing of the school— Do you prefer one that is among the top schools? Or does it really matter to you whether it is an old school or a pioneering school? (2) Religious or Non-Sectarian (3) Exclusive or Co-Ed (4) Curriculum—international, local or both  or whether traditional or progressive (5) Crowd and Environment— At the moment, I'm having a hard time to decide on this. Should I go for a big school with many students or one with less number of students per class?  Is the environment safe and peaceful? Are you happy to send your child to a school in a more crowded area such as those in the University Belt area? (6) Facilities--Basic or one with  huge classrooms, with gymnasium, swimming pool, etc. (7) Discipline -- I have read interesting reviews about good Catholic schools training their well-to-do students to be simple, where even  branded socks, shoes etc. are not allowed. They're also very particular about the values of the students. No cheating, no bullying,etc.  (8) Culture. Where do you think  your child will be most welcomed?  Is your child a SPED student needing special attention? Foreign? Shy? (9) Sports (10) Leadership (11) Extra Curricular Activities and Social Development.

2.    Location/ Time.
(1)    As much as possible, choose one that is close to your residence, or where you intend to establish a temporary residence.  (2) Choose one that won't eat much of your daily time traveling. Anticipate the traffic situation, too. It is kind of stressful for you and your child to travel long hours; otherwise, choose one offering school transport service. (3) If you would ask me, I am not amenable to sending the minor to a dormitory/ boarding house, unless for compelling reasons. There is no safer way to closely monitor your growing children (even those in college) than having them stay with you in the same home.

3.    Budget. Choose one that you can afford based on how much you allocate for your child’s education.

4.    Read reviews. Observe.  Interview parents or ask for feedback from the students of the school where you intend to enroll your child.

     5.  Ocular Inspection. Inquire for admission requirements and set an appointment for a visit on a regular school day and see for yourself  how the school operates.

6.    Decide. 

      Important notes: (1) What is best for one may not be the best for another. (2) Do not rely solely on the school when it comes to your child's learning. Parents/Guardians play a greater role in teaching the child. (3) Train up the child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will  not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)

 Other Posts by the Author:
5 Stars for MGIS Manila
Back to Basics 
Through the Strong Winds Part 1 
Through the Strong Winds Part 2 (Learning from an Eagle in Pain)
Basic Tips to Betrayed Wives
What and Where We Eat in the Philippines
10 Secrets to a Peaceful Family Home
Classroom Anecdotes by Cherry D. 

 About the Author:
 Published : International School Educator Cherry Doromal