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Checklist in Finding the Right School for You and Your Child

By: Rose Gonzaga- Tacang

Enrollment season is fast approaching, and for some educational institutions, has started. If you have already found and decided on a school for your child, then congratulations! But for those parents who are still in the process of selecting a school to enroll your child in, I would like to share some of the considerations we had back when we were searching for the right school for my child.

1. Personal values/preferences and practical considerations

  • Do you want to send your child to a sectarian or non-sectarian school?
  • Do you prefer an all-boys/girls or co-ed set-up?
  • Would you opt for public or private education?
  • Is location a big factor? Will the commute be convenient for your child?
  • What are the transportation options to and from the school?
  • Where do children in your neighborhood attend school?

When you have a definition of what type of school you want for your child, it would be easier to shortlist your options.

2. School Profile

  • Does the school’s culture match your family’s values?
  • Are you leaning towards traditional methods or progressive teaching techniques?
  • What facilities do the school have that will support your child’s learning?
  • What is the teacher to student ratio?
  • Does the school offer extra-curricular activities and programs that will suit your child’s interests?

While you can get most of this information from the school’s website, it is recommended for you to visit the schools you are considering. Some schools allow sit-ins and some also offer summer classes for pre-schoolers which would usually take 1-2 hours. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to “test the waters” and observe the school environment. Curriculum and teaching tools are important, but you should focus on how the teacher connects with the students. Your child will be transitioning from your home environment – where he is accustomed to receiving love and attention, to an environment where he will be prepared to be less dependent and you have to ascertain that this transition will be a positive experience for your child.

3. Feedback and Reviews

  • What do other parents think about the school and the teaching staff?
  • Are the school fees and other costs reasonable?

Keep in mind that the quality of education in a particular school may change over time so the best source of information would be the parents who send their children to that school. Try asking them about their experiences, both good and bad, if any.

By this time, schools should be K-12 ready, but another factor that you should look into is if the school, especially if it is a private institution, is accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd). You can check the DepEd website for the list of accredited schools in your area. If the school is DepEd accredited, its students will be registered in the Learner Information System (LIS) and will be issued a Learner Reference Number (LRN). The 12-digit LRN is a permanent number that the student will use all throughout the basic education program, regardless of transfer to another school, including the student’s transition to the secondary level. The LRN will be indicated in the student’s permanent record, report card, exams, certificate or diploma, and other documents.

Early childhood education is very crucial as it will significantly impact our child’s intellectual, emotional, spiritual and interpersonal development, this is why determining which school to send your child to is one of the most important decisions that we have to make as parents. However, no matter what our decision would be, the most important consideration should be: will my child be happy in this school? Will he flourish and thrive during his stay there? Because there’s no better feeling than seeing our kids all happy and excited every time they prepare and go to school.

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