Bilingual? Dining room? Extracurricular Languages? Projects? Religion? Public or state-subsidised School? Huff! There are so many factors to consider when choosing the best school for our childrens, and it is such an important decision! It seems to us that taking the right decision is more difficult than getting a master in quantum physics (and I belong to the letters branch…)
Finally, the moment arrives and our adorable little baby must leave the nursery and begins a new stage at school (Seriously?… It seems to me that he was born only three days ago, where these years have gone?!) I remember when I first was in that situation with my big child, and the doubts constantly assaulted me: isn’t he too small to go to school? Gosh, he didn’t do the potty training yet, how will he learn it in such a short time? Will he adapt well to the big boys’ school? There were so many fears and uncertainties, thanks God that I had a friend with older children who helped me to put everything in its place!
In few months, the little ones are going to the school and they have plenty time to better mature and adapt easily to the changes… We should deal with the fact that they are growing up and our mission is to company and help them to become independents.
These are the points that I look at for choosing my children’s school:
Tips to look at
Public, private or semi-private school: The main difference is the economic aspect, at the private’s ones the families must afford full payments, enrolment fee, monthly payment, medical insurance, uniform, dining room, extracurricular activities, material…
At the grant-aided, the public money subsidizes education, and books in Andalusia are free, thanks to the existence of a check-book; Other services as dining room, the extracurricular activities and the uniform are not included.
The educational project: What kind of learning method they have, traditional or by projects, the importance of the homework, school orientation for children, whether they are bilingual or not, the use of technology in the classroom, musical training, sports, etc.
Practical issues: Distance from school to home or work is basic for the family time organization.
It is more comfortable to walk to the school than to take a transport. Or having the possibility of grandparents near to pick up the children if necessary.
How many Educational stages are covered, Enfant, Primary, Secondary…, or the possibility of having an agreement with a High school in the same area where the student get a position after Secondary.
Dining room and morning class, at the beginning, we might think are not very important, but we could need these services in the future to facilitate conciliation.
Ideary: Is it a religious or a secular school? This point should adapt to our beliefs and the type of education we want to give to our children to do not make contradictions between what they see at home and what they learn at school and thus also avoid future frictions with the school.
Extra-curricular activities: see the offer of extra-schools’ activities to check if they fit the tastes of our children. Currently on the websites of schools is widely reported.
Facilities: Playground, sports halls, a library, if they have computers or electronic boards.
Once defined our interests and priorities I accessed the centers’ list offered by the Junta de Andalucía (http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/educacion/vscripts/centros/index.asp) to make a pre-selection of the schools that could be interesting for us, and I look for information about them on the Internet (official websites, Facebook, blogs, forums) in order to get a clearer idea of the day to day, and on top of that I listen to the other parents’ opinions that I met at the Open day.
Normally these days begin with a visit to the school premises, and then a headmaster or headmistress gives us a talk explaining the educational proposal of the school. It is a good opportunity to breathe the atmosphere and find out if it fits our family style.
Open days are being held now in many schools, this is an increasing habit due to the parents demanding of information.
Colleges like La Presentación, Platero Green School, García Lorca, Victoria Kent o Maristas are some of those who have already held their days of open doors and others like El Limonar will have it in a few days, so if you have not yet chosen a school, what are you waiting for? The pre-registration period for the second cycle of Early Childhood Education is soon open and the decision should be made.
Last tip: don’t try to choose the ideal school, just the perfect school for your little one.
Ah! Do not forget to share it!
Written by María Jesús Pérez Vera
Translated by Susana Álvarez Sánchez
Photo by Pixabay