OT-Schools

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2008
OT-Schools
46
Sun, 11-23-2008 - 2:06pm

I am wondering if you look for anything in particular when you first choose what school your child will go to. Aside from the typical good teachers and good rep for being a good school, what other kinds of things might you consider? Like music programs, religious aspects, sports, I don't know, just whatever you might have looked into in addition to the obvious wants.

My dd will be 4 in August, and I was starting to look into preschools/future schools. We live on the border of 2 counties, so we have the option of schools in either county. We live in between a more country setting and a more suburban setting. A couple of things that came to me is I would like the class sizes to be smaller than average. While one school has this, bc it's a small country school, it's not very diverse. It's no big secret that WV isn't the most diverse of states, but I would like her to be in a classroom with different backgrounds. It's just something that I think is important, and maybe most don't consider this when they enroll their kid in school, but my area is probably not as diverse as theirs either.

Another thing is how much recess there is. This might sound silly, but I read/hear/discuss in some of my classes about how some schools keep cutting back the recess or free time in exchange for more structured time. I think this is a bad idea and truly feel play/recess is important for many reasons. I don't really want to put her in a school that doesn't value recess. Probably not the most important issue in the grand scheme of life and all, but just some things that I was thinking about the other day and a few things I am keeping in mind when I look into schools.

This isn't a debate so much, although I guess if people want to they can. I was just wondering what types of things you may have considered.

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
In reply to: jesserose822
Sun, 11-23-2008 - 4:16pm

I would ask to visit the school, more than once if necessary, and look not just at the grade your son will be entering, but some of the older grades as well. Something that was really important to us was the overall culture of the school. It's hard to define, but some questions to consider are:


Do the administrators, not just the teachers, know many or most of the children by name?


Is the principal, rather than just the vice principal, actively involved in disciplining and mentoring the children?


Are children being rewarded for things they should be expected to do anyway? (this is one of my pet peeves)


Does this seem like an emotionally safe place to be? (Quiet, orderly hallways are a big clue that this is a respectful place)


Are the adults who monitor recess really involved in making sure that play is fair and that no bullying is going on?


Do the teachers feel supported by the principal?


Do the parents seem to be too involved, to the point of doing actual teaching/grading? (This happened at my daughter's first school, and it was awful, a real invasion of privacy, and you got the sense that the school was run more by the parents than the administrators.)


Is discipline based on the expectation that a child will misbehave rather than behave? Lots of schools have these systems where kids start out on "green" or a "happy face" then slowly progress downward to red or a sad face when they misbehave. This actually sets a lower standard for a child than not having a system at all and simply dealing with misbehavior on an individual basis.


Of course, you should be looking at test scores and other objective measures, too, all the way up through high school. Some schools teach to the test pretty well, but when the kids get to middle and high school, they don't have the basics down well enough to keep it up. So look at the district as a whole, even if you don't plan to be there all the way through high school. And yes, you do want a school where art and music are highly valued. Those are vital to a child's development, and they are signs of a healthy school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 1:48am

Actually, I do think recess is an important issue in the grand scheme of life. It was important to me that my kid have ample, outdoor, free play recess in elementary school. This time is when kids learn social rules, how to deal with a group, how to get along, how to organize a game of dodge ball or girls vs boys.

Apart from recess, I looked for specific curriculum. My kid is 16 already, so when I was looking at schools Whole Language was "in" and in many schools kids were made to write journals in K, for example, without even having learned the alphabet. In math fuzzy math was the hot new thing. So, I went searching for a school that would not use either of those approaches, and that would teach a foreign language properly. I also wanted the school to teach history, geography and science in proper lessons and have a decent music and art program.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 7:33am

two of my three kids have been in three different school district/city schools.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 8:50am

"those fundamental diferences in religion,morals,even class size are superior to public schools.

Avatar for mkatherine
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 9:05am
and not all catholic schools have small classes LOL -- Liza's been in catholic school for 5 years and has never had LESS than 27 kids in her class -- usually she has 30!
Yes. We. Can.

 

Yes. We. Did.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-07-2003
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 9:55am
I think the Catholic school here has fairly small classes-- especially for the middle school students. But that's because the public schools are much better in terms of academics than the Catholic school.
baby in clothes basket
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 11:19am
And large classes aren't always bad. I can certainly see why having small classes might be better for each student, but when I was growing up, I went to several schools where they tried to limit class size to 35! And somehow my 4th grade teacher managed to teach all 34 of us to diagram sentences.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 11:56am

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Only if you consider the "morals" taught by the Catholic church to be appropriate for your children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 2:49pm

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2010 Siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-1998
In reply to: jesserose822
Mon, 11-24-2008 - 3:01pm

I would check all the basic things:

PumpkinAngel

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