Schools are often called a child’s second home. This is where they will spend their formative years. In those halls, they will learn lessons about academics and decency. So, to say that choosing the right elementary school is important is an understatement.
Whether it’s your first or fifth child entering elementary school, you’ll want to approach each situation with an open mind and clear goals. Here are some key indicators of a promising school:
1. They are recognized by the state
Many states compile a regularly updated list of the best ranking schools. But aside from this, they also list schools that serve special needs or that excel in a particular area. For example, the schools that offer elementary education programs in Gilbert, Arizona can be easily viewed online.
Mind you, these schools exist in both the public and private sector. While some schools aren’t at the top of whichever list you’re using as a reference, this can give you an idea of what to expect.
Local school districts will often post their standings and programs online. You can even schedule a visit with your child, so you can see it and maybe even experience it first.
2. See how relationships flourish
This is a place where your child will be dedicating hours and years. The way they are taught by example to interact is crucial. A good indicator of how well-tuned a school’s staff is with the student-body is to see how they talk to the kids. Do they greet them by name each morning? Are the staff members friendly or all business?
The way teachers seem to be thriving is also an indication of a good system. If you have a staff that is well taken care of and that is taught how to value human relationships, they will share this with the children.
3. Diversity is a must but not a selling-point
The way that diversity is advertised by a school is also telling. If they frontload it too much, it comes off as a hard sell. Check how genuine this is through a visit with your child. Along with seeing various races and ideologies among the students, you should see this in the staff as well.
The staff both among the teachers to the other departments should exhibit old and young employees, too. This shows that they are open to new perspectives while also giving equal value to older generations.
4. All work and no play makes for a dull experience
The K-12 program does include a track made for the arts. But you’ll want to find a school that encourages artistic input from all their students.
A well-balanced portfolio for your child makes for a better record and helps them become well-rounded teenagers. The extra-curricular activities that the school offers are also big indicators of how they shape their kids.
See if some extra-curricular activities lead to scholarships. If you aren’t in need of financial aid, it will still give you an idea of what the school values in its students. You can also ask the school if they have dedicated brain breaks, playtime, or the chance for kids to personalize their programs. At the least, many schools are embracing the newer and more effective teaching method that bases its teaching on how well the students have absorbed a topic rather than just focusing on the grades per test.
In all your decisions, be sure to make your child an active participant. And make sure they know this: The more they feel confident in school, the brighter they’ll shine.