Making decisions as a parent is hard. Very hard.
Have you ever tried naming something/someone you have never seen, never met and this is the name they will have forever?! That is a huge decision.
And one of the next biggest decisions – is deciding which school values and who is going to teach and shape your child, for more hours in a day than you will, for sixteen years of their lives. That’s quite a biggie too…
Well, we found ourselves at this cross roads this past year. And it’s been a tough one but now that the decision is made and we have an incredible peace about it – now I can share my logical and un-emotional thoughts with you.
How do you choose the right school for your child/children?
Some of the questions we asked ourselves:
Private or government? We chose private as we feel that the IEB way of teaching and assessments allow for very open minded and open ended way of learning. The students seem to be assessed more on thinking and explaining rather than learning parrot fashion. And overall, we have encountered incredible teachers in a private school environment.
Co-educational or single sex? We chose single sex as our eldest daughter was showing signs of preferring only girls at school. She is very similar to me in personality and I thrived in an all girls environment.She enjoys interacting with boys on a social level but not in a school and learning environment. We have also found more of an emphasis on girls way of teaching/learning and girls sports and strengths in an all girls environment.
Religious and Christian views and values? We chose a Christian based school that includes religious assembly, Religious Education lessons and celebrations of Christian holidays as we are a serving family with strong Christian beliefs.
Academics and teachers? We chose a school that impressed us with their welcoming teachers across the grades, a very high academic standard in our country and a way of teaching that includes books and worksheets, latest technology and an always-changing way of educating. We still believe in the traditional way of teaching with books and chalkboards but also want a space for our children to be exposed to smart boards, educational apps and forward-thinking technology in the classroom.
Cultural dynamic? We chose a school that includes all cultures and races. Our world is so culturally diverse and we want our girls to interact with all races and cultures at school, on the sports field, and then eventually in the work place and all walks of life.
Sports facilities and coaches? We chose a school that has a high standard of sport but also offers a range of sports – individual sports and team sports. We think that a high level of competition is healthy but also the values of learning to be a part of a team and supporting our team mates, as well as understanding the value of being winners and trying hard if you don’t succeed. A range of sports is so important for us and it allows for each of our girls to find something they might enjoy.
Cultural offerings and facilities? We chose a school that not only offers a variety of cultural actives but also encourages it, and from very young. Our girls love to sing and perform already and to know that they can learn different instruments, be involved on the stage as well as be creative with art utensils and even in the kitchen, and all included during school hours is very important to us.
Classroom size, number of pupils and environment? We chose a small school. As with any environment, this comes with its pros and cons but as a teacher myself, and with a little girl who needs some extra attention regarding her sensory functions, it is important for us to know that in a smaller class, our girls are getting the one on one attention and care that they need.
Financial? We chose a school that has high school fees. Schools are extremely expensive, and when you have three children – it is too easy to fall into the pit of financial doom. As a family, education is on the top of our list of essential items to spend on. MC and I have tried our best to make provision for education funds since our girls were born, and will continue to do our best to be able to maintain this high level of education for our girls – and sometimes that may mean missing out on other things. Bursaries or scholarships (and the sibling discount) is always welcomed too.
Proximity and area? We chose a school that isn’t in our area but because we feel it is the best school for our daughters. In our day and age this is a major factor for families as we struggle day to day to embrace the working parent guilt, the juggling of busy schedules and the dreaded traffic. We are blessed that I am a stay-at-home mama and I therefore have the time to be available to fetch and carry my girls and be able to do the extra drive without having time constraints.
These are questions that many of us would ask when choosing schools – most of us are dictated by cultural or religious backgrounds, financial availability, past experiences and family backgrounds and ultimately the best fit for our child.
A few “setbacks” we have encountered along the way:
The school is too far and not convenient, especially with a family of three kids.
All girls is a mistake when they have no brothers.
Being perceived as snobby or pretentious choosing a private school over government.
I hated going to that school (for various different reasons – not fitting in, being bullied, too strict, too competitive, bad relationship with peers or teachers).
It is too culturally diverse or not culturally diverse enough.
Each and every person that chatted to us and gave their advice and comments is entitled to their opinion but after extensive research, many school visits and comparisons, seeking advice from educational professionals and analyzing the personality and strengths and weaknesses of our little girl – we know we have made the right decision and we have faith that she is going to thrive and succeed in her schooling career.
How did you choose a school for your child?
*Please always know that in my personal blogging space, these are all my opinions and feelings – not the right opinions. We are all different and all want for different things in life. It is never my intention to offend anyone but rather to share my views on a certain subject*