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Parental Panic? Factors For Parents To Consider When Choosing A School


The moment when your child finally leaves your side and begins their time in formal education is never easy for parents. Before that watershed moment, you had been able to spend the vast majority of your time with your child. You had developed your own games, your own jokes, even your own language to an extent. Accepting that they will be sharing their days with people other than you now is rather tough to take.

Nevertheless, it’s a necessary step. A formal education can prepare your child for the kind of life you have always dreamed for them. While it’s possible to succeed without an education, it’s far easier for our children to make their way in the world if they have the backing of knowledge and experience.

Much of what happens when your child is at school is outside of your control. This fact doesn’t help with how you feel about the advent of their education, either. You’re not going to have control over the friends they make, the things they learn, or the teachers that inspire them. When your child is your world, it can be nigh on impossible to just trust that everything will be alright once they have gone through the school gates.

So what can you do to reassure yourself?

By the time your child is sitting in a classroom, you will have already made a number of key decisions that put them there. The most important of which is the one we’re going to focus on: choosing a school for your children.

So let’s rewind a little to what happens before you make the decision about which school your child will be attending. There are a few tips and tricks you need to make choosing a school as easy as possible, while still being able to learn the facts you need to reassure yourself.

There’s no denying that choosing a first school for your child is a difficult task, that can worry and stress many parents. When you examine what’s actually happening during the evaluation process, it’s easy to see why the process can be so troublesome. After all, It involves having to evaluate a huge number of factors. You also have to be ready to see through the impressive display a school will put on in an attempt to snare students. You have to be a parent, a judge, be skeptical without being dismissive, and try to take in a lot of information in a short time. School rankings and grade histories are only one part of the picture - so how else can you ensure that the school you choose is the right one for your child?

There are four useful factors you should always consider when it comes to selecting a school for your child. By focusing in these areas, you can help your child’s education - and ease your own concerns, too.

#1 - Parent Opinions


Parents are, in general, an opinionated bunch - and that’s something you can use to your advantage.

The easiest way to get feedback on a school is to take advantage of social media. Most schools will have their own pages. From there, you will be able to see feedback posted by parents - but be warned, it might not be the full story. The school might be trimming back the bad stories.

Instead, click through to the names of the people who leave comments or likes on the page. You can then either add them as a friend, or just send them a speculative message. Ask for their opinion on the school, keeping your tone light, friendly, and avoiding being too demanding.

If you do this five times, you should get at least one response. That’s one honest response from a parent who already has a child at the school. This is invaluable, so make sure you pay attention to what they have to say.

#2 - Subjects Covered

While there is a general curriculum that schools have to cover, what your child can learn outside of this is definitely worth considering. For example, you might want to look for language options outside of the usual three (Spanish, German, and French). Some schools offer Japanese or Chinese instruction, which could really stand out on a future college application.

If your child is particularly interested in sports and wishes to play college sports in the future, then this is an area to pay attention to. If possible, go to games for the football or basketball team. How does everyone look? Are they happy? Is the field well-maintained?

Don’t place a particular emphasis on score lines; instead, focus on the facilities. A school with good facilities is going to be able to provide a good sporting background for any stars of the future.

#3 - Health Matters

As The Modern School Nurse makes clear, a good health approach by schools is essential. If you child has any chronic health conditions - such as asthma - then you are going to be relying on the school to keep them safe during school hours. You also need to be reassured that any injuries or sudden health problems are going to be dealt with effectively.

Take the time to speak with the medical staff wherever possible. Sometimes, you’re going to have to rely on your ‘gut instinct’, but there are a few ways to otherwise reassure yourself. For example, you could ask a few basic health questions in a friendly way. For example, ask which color inhaler they believe a child should use to stem an asthma attack. You could frame this by laughing about your own inability to remember which is which. You don’t want to make any of the health care staff feel on edge or defensive, but you still need to ascertain the information that you need.

Of course, asking these questions - even if you make them friendly and jokey - might feel like you’re being invasive. Put simply, that’s because you are.

However, it’s worth remembering that you’re a parent. In fact, you’re a parent who is considering sending their child to school for the first time. The health of your child is going to be in the school’s hands during the day. So be invasive; there’s nothing wrong with being cautious, especially if your child has a chronic condition.

Also, remember that you are not going to be the first protective parent that the school staff have dealt with. So don’t worry about feeling awkward; that’s natural. Just ensure you don’t let your awkwardness stop you from gaining the information you need. Most schools will know how to handle a worried Mom, so don’t stress about the impression you’re making too much.

#4 - Safety Concerns


This is an area that many parents overlook, as they largely just assume it will have been taken care of. However, spending a little time investigating the safety of the school is key to reassuring your anxious mind.

Teachers should be taught in how to handle a variety of different emergencies, from earthquakes to active shooter situations. Any school worth its salt will be happy to confirm their teachers have gone through this training, so there’s no harm in asking.

You can also contact local government for confirmation the school is up to code when it comes to building and fire legislation.

Some parents would argue the above steps are a little over-the-top when in the midst of school considerations; you might even feel the same. However, if you feel the need for that extra level of reassurance, these ideas could be lifelines. By following the ideas above, you might just be able to ease your mind, and get the best for your child too. Then you can both rest easy, and wait for the exciting first day of school to come!


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