Selecting the best Primary School & playgroup for your child is undoubtedly a vital decision you must make because it is the initial schooling that will decide the future of your child's academic success and what they may become as a person or a professional in life.
When looking for a school, it is crucial to understand what you should expect from it. You should expect little academic learning when talking about a Pre-primary school or a Play School. Instead, you should be expecting a lot of grooming to happen. Play Schools are where your child will be cared for by people exclusively trained for the purpose. Most importantly, a playschool should be able to take care of the anxiety of separation a child is likely to face on being away from home for the first time.
As the first step, list all the nearby schools. You could use the internet's help, your neighbors, relatives, friends, and parents having school-going children. You will get reasonably good information; you can filter for the next step.
As parents, you know your child and their needs better than anyone else. It could be that your child is brilliant and does this and requires very little guidance, or maybe your child is required to be given a structured plan if you expect something to be done by them. Perhaps yours is a unique child and needs special attention.
Despite all information from various sources, a personal visit always gives better information. During your visit, observe everything very diligently. See if the premise is well maintained and clean. The size of the classrooms and the seating arrangements if they are well arranged, comfortable, clean, and have exciting displays. The number of students per class is vital because a crowded class could mean less attention per child. Ideally, the number should be at most 15 to 20. The bathrooms should be well-maintained and hygienic. The play zone, is it good enough to keep your child engaged and happy?
This should be an essential concern. Safety in all respect, is it in the classroom or outdoors? Be it the toys in the classrooms or the arrangements in the Play Zone. They should all be such that the kids don't hurt themselves and should be safe for their health. Do strangers or visitors drop in or are monitored and questioned before being allowed in? When kids leave the premises, are they guided and handed over to the parents, or should they be 'Transported under the supervision of responsible staff'? Do they have enough staff to look after the kids while running around or play in the play area or the ground?
Talking with the right person always gives relevant information. During your visit to the school, talk with the teachers and see if they communicate well and are empathetic with caring behavior. Find out if they are well trained and have good experience. It is vital that they are stable and teachers don't frequently change because kids take time to make emotional connections, which has adverse effects on their behavior. Also, talk to the supporting staff, and see if they are well trained, friendly, and caring towards the kids.
Talk to the parents of the kids studying in the school. While the teachers and school staff might give you a rosy picture of the school, the parents will provide the correct information. Need be visit the school on the day of the PTM.
Remember to talk to the Principal; a good principal significantly impacts the entire functioning and environment of the school. Also, find the experience and qualifications of the Principal.
Find out how much involvement the school expects from the parents. What is the Homework policy of the school? Do they have field trips etc.?
Once you have gathered the requisite information and are satisfied, find out the School fee and other additional expenses involved. It should be affordable and compatible with the value being provided. You can only pay a hefty fee for a massive infrastructure if you get what you are looking for without compromising on the level of care, grooming, and education of your child owing to the quality of teachers and the support staff.
One school I can refer to is Mastermind, the best playschool. A school with Montessori Trained teachers backed up with previous teaching experience from the best of the city's schools. They also have equally qualified, trained & experienced teachers for their Primary school segment. The fact is that infrastructure is essential, but it contributes only 10%, while it is the teachers who contribute 75% to the academics and personality development of the kids.
Lastly, conduct enough research before you call for the most suitable school for your child.