One of the questions I get asked often is how to choose the best school for your child. This was a mistake I made once also. I now realize that there is a ‘right’ school for every child not the best one.
I have partnered with Our Kids, Canada’s trusted source for families who are looking for the best learning experiences for their children, to share tips with you to find the right school for your child.
I would also love to answer any questions you have!
1. Don’t look for the best school
Not all schools are the same and thank God for that! Some are huge, while others are small. There are some that are world-famous, while others have a more local appeal. What’s more, no school can be all things to all people. Each has specific objectives, goals, and values, and aims to meet the needs of specific kinds of learners.
There are public school, alternate programs, independent schools and private ones. One of the things private schools excel at is catering to specific types of children (and families).
There’s no such thing as the “best school,” one that works for all students and families. Different schools serve different types of families and children, and you’ll need to find one that works best for you—one that meets your most important needs.
I also want to stress that every child in a family might have different learning needs. Both my children are unique and I strive to evaluate their needs independently.
2. Look for the right fit
Finding the right school means finding the right fit for you, your family, and your child. Start with your child. How does she learn, and what are her learning strengths and weaknesses? Is she an auditory or visual learner? What is she like socially and emotionally? Is she energetic, outgoing, introverted, shy, anxious, rule-oriented, rebellious, creative, quirky? And what other traits might she have?
These are questions that only a parent can answer best. So take the time to sit down and answer these questions in all honestly on paper.
3. Visit schools
One of the best ways to learn about schools is to visit them. Plan to visit each school you’re considering. Don’t just go to open houses, though: go to school events, tour the campus, and have your child attend a class or two. Ask school officials plenty of questions, but also speak to students and other parents in the school community, especially those who aren’t officially representing the school.
4. Look beyond private rankings
I get it. As a parent it’s tempting to rely on school rankings, however ranking lists, such as the Frasier rankings, are limited. While they reveal a school’s basic academic standings (based on EQAO results), they leave out its academic approach, including its curriculum and pedagogies. They also don’t tell you anything about a school’s culture, community, support systems, resources, facilities, extra-curriculars, and more.
You can check school profiles on OurKids.net . The social culture can be gauged through on-campus visits, not just during open houses, but at other times as well. Make sure to ask the school lots of questions, talk to people in the school community, and involve your child in this whole process.
5. Attend a Private School Expo
Every year, the Our Kids Calgary Private School Expos welcomes over 600 parents and students from all over Alberta. One day. One location. Get all your questions answered.
These Expos happen all over Canada and will be in Toronto Sept 28, Calgary Sept 29, Ottawa Oct 6 and Halton-PEEL Oct 20, 2019.
These Expos provide you the following opportunities:
Meet with school heads and admissions team
Speak one-on-one with school representatives to learn about their unique programs, culture, and education philosophies.
Discover and leverage tax credits and financial aid
Learn about what financial aid options are available and how to apply for them.
Prepare for your school applications
Get insider tips on the application process directly from education experts. Learn how to prepare for your interview, and how to make the most out of your open house visits.
Explore new school types
The private school expo attracts not only large, traditional schools but small, contemporary ones as well. Learn about schools with unique teaching approaches, alternative curricula, and special needs support.
Calgary Private School Expo
September 29th at Hyatt Regency Calgary
Register now at ourkids.net/p/calgaryexpo
Use coupon code “urdumom” to receive 75% off admission ticket
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by Our Kids. All opinions are my own.