Choosing a primary or prep school for your child can be a difficult decision. Every parent wants the best for their child. They want their child to be happy, to have friends, to feel safe and to be known.
Parents play a vital role in the early years and the partnership between parents and the school can have a significant impact on a child’s progress. In subtle ways, a parent’s attitude towards teachers and the school is noticed by even the youngest children. Therefore, it is important when choosing a school for your child that as a parent you feel comfortable and welcome when you visit the school.
- Do the school values align with your personal values? Are the children smiling and happy and engaged in their learning? Are the children polite and well-mannered when you visit?
- Can you see evidence of strong literacy teaching? Are there displays of children’s work celebrating their learning? Can you see models and construction, evidence of innovation and creativity? Is there a maker space area and a tinker corner where children can invent, construct and build?
- Can you see children playing, using their imaginations and learning to navigate and develop friendships?
- Does the school offer a co-curricular program and a range of extra-curricular activities so your child can explore new activities and develop personal interests?
- Is there a strong music program providing an opportunity to develop creativity?
- Is there evidence of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) activities: Science activities promote inquiry, Technology encourages invention, Engineering leads to innovation, Arts develop creativity and Maths promotes problem solving skills. These are all skills we know are important for future learning.
- Does the school feel calm? Children feel more secure and exhibit better behaviour in an organised, calm environment.
- Is there evidence of a personal development program where social skills are explicitly taught and modelled by staff and children are taught to be respectful, to be truthful, to be responsible and hard working?
Every child is unique but all children thrive in an environment where they are known personally, cared for deeply and challenged extensively.
No school is perfect but finding a school where your child will love learning and feel safe to make mistakes and grow is important.
The prep years set the foundation for lifelong learning. Developing strong literacy and numeracy skills, developing resilience, persistence, tolerance and empathy in a nurturing environment can set your child up for success. Give them a strong start!
Mrs Julie Wiseman, Head of Wahroonga Preparatory School