Happy new week darlings. Its Motherhood Monday and today i want to address a very crucial topic that most parents have a hard time with. After i enrolled my daughter Naya to a kindergarten in November 2015 i had many people ask me what criteria i used to choose the best school for her. Choosing a kindergarten is not an easy task as this is the first introduction your child will have to the academic environment. If you choose the wrong one, you may scar your kid for life and if you choose the best then you set a good foundation for his/her academic future. It is one of the most crucial milestones for both you and your child.
Please note that every family is different, so before you embark on a kindergarten search think about your circumstances and needs. Consider your financial situation first and foremost as some kindergartens can be too expensive. Incase you have children with special needs its important to find a school that caters for children with special needs. Here are some of the things to consider when picking the right kindergarten for your child;
1. SCHOOL PROXIMITY
At this age you don’t want to subject your child to long hours on the road to and from school everyday. Naya’s school is about 5 minutes drive from our house so it’s so easy for me to drop and pick her each day. A parent may also opt to find a school that is close to their place of work so its easier to drop and pick them as you go to and leave the office. Whatever works for you, go for it.
2. SCHOOL FEES
This is the first thing every parent wants to know before choosing a school for their child. Are the fees affordable? Can you afford it? Are the services offered worth the fees charged? Are there any fees to be placed on the waiting list? Luckily for us, we didn’t have to pay anything while waiting to be approved to join the school. And thankfully, the waiting list was not as long as we anticipated.
3. SCHOOL CURRICULUM STRUCTURE
A good kindergarten curriculum will do more than teach your child the basics of reading, writing and arithmetics. The curriculum should enhance your child’s self-confidence, self-reliance and sense of independence.
Does the school have a good and functional playground as well as enough physical activity time allocated. Remember that school i told you in a previous blogpost where i almost enrolled Naya that gave kids Ipads and Iphones? I advocate for a school that will nurture your child’s social and physical strengths, not turn them into gadget zombies. Afterall they only have one childhood to live and enjoy.
5. CHILD-TO-TEACHER RATIO
A perfect scenario would be where the child-to-teacher ratio is very low allowing the teachers to give attention to individual children several times each day. A more hands-on time and approach will help nurture the child’s strengths and make them feel special while at school. If a kid feels neglected he/she might not enjoy going to school.
6. PRIVATE OR PUBLIC?
Some parents will prefer to take their children to private schools and vice-versa depending on their financial situation. Both have their pros and cons and it is really not in my place to say which option is the best and why every parent should take their child to a private school or public school.
7. FULL-DAY OR HALF-DAY
Most kindergartens will offer you the choice of either full-day or half-day. You can opt for either depending on your schedule, the fees charged on either options and how ready your child is for school. Young children are not comfortable with change of routine so you can start off with half-day then as she progresses into the school year you can upgrade to full-day program.
8. SPECIAL INTERESTS
Does the school offer foreign languages lessons for the children? Are there any special arts sessions, music lessons and other alternative programs? We all know the importance of nurturing our children’s innate gifts and talents so a school that has programs to help do just that are the best option for you.
9. SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
Some parents have a busy and hectic schedule therefore have no time to pick and drop their kids from school each day. Most schools have a transportation system at an extra fee which is quite convenient.
10. FOOD AND DRINKS
Most schools will give you the option of paying for provision of meals at school or packing food for your child to bring from home. When i enrolled Naya to school, the principal gave me the meals menu before hand to go through before making a decision on whether i want to pay for school meals or not. Make sure you request for a meals menu while searching for a kindergarten for your child and feel free to let them know if your child has any special diet requirements.
11. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
The kindergarten you enroll your child in today will set the foundation and pace for their academic future. Do you want your child to do the 8-4-4 system or G.C.S.E system? Is the kindergarten you are enrolling them in the best foundation for the education system you intend for them to advance to?
12. DISCIPLINE POLICIES
Find out what the school rules and regulations are and how they are enforced. Also find out what the penalties are if the children violate them. As a parent you can try to implement some of the rules at home for consistency. Find out how the school addresses issues such as discrimination and bullying. An absolute zero-tolerance policy is ideal.
If possible, talk to the parents whose children are in the same school or attended the same school in the past. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like about the school. This will help you know what positive and negative aspects to pay particular attention to.
NB; No school is perfect so don’t be too frustrated if you can’t find everything you want for your child in one school. Also note that most of those prestigious kindergartens you have been eying and can’t wait to take your children to have a waiting list so book as early as possible to make sure your child doesn’t miss a spot.
We had a lot of fun searching for the right kindergarten for Naya and glad the waiting list at that time was short so within just 2 months we had been approved to start school. It has been a wonderful and pleasant experience so far and can’t wait to see her start grade school when the time is right (we are still shopping for the best options).
Happy ‘shopping’ to all the lovely mums still on that kindergarten hunt and those who are yet to embark on the journey. All the best and I sincerely hope the tips above will help in one way or another.
Thanks so much for stopping by
Have a lovely week ahead