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By Karli Steenkamp 

It can be overwhelming to search for a school for your child. Whether it is pre-school, Primary or Secondary school, it is a difficult decision. Firstly, as a parent you need to decide if you want to do private schooling or your local public school. Home Schooling is another option you can look into. Every school has their own ethos and focus. You have to find the best fit for your child. Choosing a school can be easy, given that you know what you are looking for. Here are tips on how to choose the right school for your child. 

Public VS Private 

There are many pre-schools. So do your research and visit the ones that stand out to you. Every child is different and you will know what school feels right for your family. Most parents choose the budget-friendly option of their local public school. Private schools are more expensive, but have their own focus. Know what you want and what to look for. There can be a long waiting list for private schools, so the sooner you apply the better. Homeschooling is great for children who work better with one-on-one interaction. Ensure that you do your research surrounding the program. 

Meet, greet and do your research 

It is important to do your research about the schools you might consider. Make appointments with the schools so that you can meet the principal, teachers and also get a feel of the school. Classrooms can give you a good vibe on how the classrooms are run. Doing a tour during school hours can give you a good idea on what every day would look like for your child. Is the school calm and quiet? This can give you an indication on what the discipline is like in the school. Have a look at the school’s official social media platforms. Regular post shows that the school is active, technology savvy, wants the community involved and takes pride in their school. Read the comments on the posts as well as the reviews. The same goes for their website. An updated website with current news is great.  

Look at the following things when doing your research: 

  • Look at the school policies and behavior management. [Text Wrapping Break]Is it something you as a parent agrees with? 
  • Classroom sizes. There are teacher versus student ratios and the smaller the classroom, the more attention your child may get. 
  • School focus. Schools have different focuses. Some are strong academic schools, others might try and balance culture or sport with academics.  
  • Transport surrounding the school. If you do not have a car, is it easy to catch a bus or a train? 

What is right for your child? 

The right school should tick most of your boxes. It is a personal choice and depends on the child. Every child is different. Some children might thrive in a certain school where others may not. If your child has special needs or needs more one-on-one interaction, speak to the schools you are considering and see what they will do to support your child. Find out what extracurricular activities the school offers. These can save you money from going to a club or an outside program. Primary schools offer out-of-school hour services. If you have to drop off your child early or pick them up late, it does cost extra, but it is worth finding out. 

More information is always the best. The more knowledge you have, the better educated decision you will make for your child. Speak to people in your community and get some recommendations. It can be nerve-wrecking, but remember you know what is best for your child. You will know the right school when you see it. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to raise your concerns with the school. If they can put your mind at rest and answer your questions, then you know your child will be in good hands. 


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