While it may seem like this school year just started, late fall and early winter is the time for parents to start thinking where their children will attend school next year. When it comes to choosing the right school for your children, there are many factors to take into account. From core curriculum to after school activities, here are a few pro-tips for choosing the right elementary school for your children.
1. Start With The Basics
When selecting a school for your children, it’s important to ensure the school of choice will meet your children’s’ needs; even if you think you’ve found the perfect school for your child, if that school is on the other side of town and you have no way of getting your child there, that school may not be the best fit. When starting your school search, a few basic factors to start with include:
- Proximity: Transportation to and from school can be a huge factor in whether or not a school is the right place for your child. Can you easily get your child to their school or is there a school bus they can take to get there? If not, will you be able to workout a carpool or other means of transportation to get the kids to school?
- Start and end times: Start and end times are another crucial consideration to make when looking into school. Most Seattle and Bellevue schools start between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m., but that can be a big window depending on when you have morning engagements. After school care options should also be on your list of considerations if the school day ends before parents and guardians are available to pick up children.
- Amenities specific to your child’s needs: If your child has certain needs ranging from specific curriculums to classroom features and more, asking a school representative or finding out online can help determine if this school will meet your child’s needs.
2. Look Beyond The Grade Level Your Child Is Entering
Switching schools can negatively affect a child socially and academically. When choosing an elementary school for your children, it is important to consider not only the grade level they are entering, but also the programs available for multiple grade levels at the school. This can include asking about core subjects, projects older students work on throughout elementary school, extracurricular classes, camps, field trips and more.
3. Consider School Mission and Philosophy
There are many ways to approach education for children. Some parents prefer a hands-on, structured curriculum, while others opt for a more open ended approach where children have more flexibility. Taking the time to find out the schools in your area’s philosophies as well as their approach to various aspects of the curriculum such as communication, approach to homework, and discipline can help you determine if a school is right for your child. Some schools also have curriculums with emphasis on certain areas such as STEAM Education or performing arts, so finding a program that matches your child’s needs and interests can be a strong deciding factor.
4. Think Outside The Classroom
While reading, writing, math, and science and important aspects of education, looking into a school’s extracurricular activities. Some programs have a strong emphasis on camps, nature, and outdoor education, where others might have a big focus on music or sports. Finding a school that has specific enrichment or after school programs catered to your child’s interests or finding a well rounded program where your child can try a number of activities to cultivate new interests can be integral in your school selection process.
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