How To Choose A School

'How To Choose A School' Seminar & Panel Discussion was held at the JNTU auditorium on sunday, Feb 12. 

Choosing a school is a difficult decision for every parent. The children's life depends on the type of school they go to and the values they inculcate. Whether the children get ready to confidently face life with appropriate skills depend on the school they go to and the teachers and other educators they interact with. 

What each family looks for in a school may be different. But there are a few things that all of us have to keep in mind while searching for the best school for our children. 

Who & What Is Behind The School? 

By getting to know the people behind a school we can understand whether they are interested in imparting excellent education or only interested in running a school as a business venture. 

The philosophy of the school and its mission statement can also give you some idea of the values governing the school programme. If these are not explicitly stated in the school almanac, we should raise these questions and get satisfactory answers before deciding to entrust our children's future with that school. 

Average Class Size & Instructional Approaches 

It is important for parents to find out the class size of the school in which the children are going to study. If the class size is big, the teachers will not be able to pay individual attention to each child and they will most probably adopt traditional methods of teaching. 

If the class size is small, the teacher can plan a variety of activities to introduce a concept and make the children work in small  groups and pairs to apply the concepts.

The instructional strategies cannot be the same for a class of 40 children and another of 20 children. If the teacher is under less stress handling a small class, she can peacefully think and plan activities that benefit the children. 

School Facilities 

The next question the parents may want to consider is the facilities available at the school. Even with small classrooms, the teachers cannot provide a wide variety of experiences if the school does not have the necessary facilities. Apart from other things the facilities may include a well stocked library with age appropriate books,. a computer-cum-language lab and special teachers for sports, dance, art etc. 

School Safety 

We as parents want the school to be a safe place where the children can play freely, enjoy themselves and at the same time learn their life skills. One important question we need to ask the authorities is the emergency plan they have. How will they ensure that the children are safe, how will they monitor the children's and other's activities in school should be checked carefully. The schools should have a CCTV webcam connected to all the classrooms and the surroundings. Children and adults working with them should be constantly monitored and the school must be ready to take immediate action to handle any emergencies. 

Distance From Home 

If the children are young it will be better to put them in a school closer to their home. This way in any emergency the child can be sent home immediately or the parent may be asked to visit the school at once. The school should have transport facilities to drop the children. If the travel time is too much children will be tired by the time they get to school and their studies will be affected. 

Curriculum Design & Implementation 

Parents need to find out if the curriculum of the school and its proper implementation has been designed by an expert in the field. Even if the school says that they follow CBSE or any other syllabus, how that curriculum will be imparted to the children is very important. Parents need to ask the school authorities what their children will be learning in languages, maths and science subjects as well as sports, arts and dance. Will the children be trained to develop the four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing in languages? Will they be tested on their memory or the ability to use the language for communication? Will they be learning maths through memorizing the basic concepts or will they be expected to apply the concepts in specific situations? Will they be learning science through experiments and practical work? These are some of the questions we can find out from the school curriculum, assessment plan, report cards and school website. 

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