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How to find the right school: five tips

What to consider when looking for the right school

Not all schools are the same. Some are big, others are small. Some are known around the world, while others enjoy a local appeal. Moreover, no school will meet the needs of all students. Each has specific goals, tasks and values, and strives to meet the needs of specific types of students. In fact, this is one of the advantages of private schools—they’re focused on specific types of children (and their families), and often excel at doing this.  continue reading...

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1. Don't look for the best school

There’s no such thing as a "best school" that’s ideal for all students and their families. Different schools serve different types of families, and you’ll need to find the one that’s right for you—one that satisfies your most important needs (although most likely not all your needs).

2. Look for the one that’s right for you

Finding the right school means choosing the one that suits you, your family, and your child. Start with your child. How does she learn, what are her strengths and weaknesses? Is she better at listening or is she a visual person? What’s her personality like? Is she energetic, sociable, introverted, shy, restless, disciplined, rebellious, creative, unconventional? What other characteristics does she have? The more you know about your child, the easier it will be for you to decide which school can best meet her needs—academic, social, and emotional.

3. Visit schools

It’s important to find a school that’s right for your child, one that satisfies her needs, goals and interests.

Of course, you can ask schools about their culture, but it's best to get a first-hand look at this . Plan to visit every school you’re seriously considering. Don’t just go to an open house or open day. Attend school events, walk around the campus, have your child sit in on a class or two. Also, ask school staff lots of questions, but also talk to students and parents at the school, especially those who aren’t officially representing it.

Closely observing a school is another great way to gain valuable knowledge about its environment. How do students and teachers interact in the hallway? How do students treat each other? What’s the behaviour like?

4. Don't limit yourself to school rankings

Private school rankings only give us limited knowledge. They may tell us something about the school’s teaching standards, but they ignore its educational philosophy, including its curriculum and teaching methods, as well as its ways of shaping students' learning skills (such as organization and time management) and so-called soft skills (such as the ability to think critically, solve problems, deal with stress, communication, etc.). They also say nothing about a school’s culture, community, student support systems, school resources, extracurricular activities, and much more.

To learn about these important features of schools, you need to go far beyond superficial rankings. You can start by reading our in-depth school profiles on OurKids.net-Poland.

5. Remember that you are an expert

"I recommend that parents start by making a list," says education consultant Judy Winberg. "Ask yourself: 'What is most important to us?' and make note of this."

Then look at the child. "Think about what works well at your current school and what’s not working," says education consultant Elaine Danson. "Is there something your child would like to do at school, but can’t?" The right environment, Danson suggests, is one that will address your child's weaknesses, while developing her strengths. No one can know this about your child better than you.

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Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of the school information on this site. Please contact schools directly to confirm all details.