Five academic years ago, to choose the school where our daughter would go, my wife and I visited a lot of centers with open doors, we asked experts and friends, we calculated distances from our house to each school, and we ended up doing the classic Excel of pros and cons of each of them. Five years of schooling father later, of taking and picking up the girl, of interacting with many people and of having suffered a global pandemic that forced us to adapt education to what was possible, now allow me to remaster the 10 points to pay attention to from a parental and practical perspective.
Before examining them, my current self tells you that it is not necessary to consider this decision as something irrevocable and permanent for the entire school life of your little one. In this five-year period, I have seen many families get separated, move to a neighborhood, city or country, lose jobs, suffer the illness or death of grandparents who helped a lot on a day-to-day basis… and have had to recalculate their entire lives from unexpected way.
Thinking that your child will continue going to the same place for at least nine courses, no matter what, is a commitment that now oppresses you in a suffocating way. Therefore, decide the center that you like and can afford right now, and then we will see if you get the place and how it goes. Because if the case comes, you will not be the first to have to change the school child.
In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to remember that with the passage of time in each school, some elements that you are passionate about or uncomfortable with may also change: the teachers that you have found so nice can take a leave, they can change schools, retire… The barracks can become some day in decent classes, outdated classrooms can be reformed or a pandemic can lead you to follow classes from home… What will not change is its location, the structure of its building and the spirit of its teaching.
And now, let’s go with the 10 points to analyze to choose the ideal school or, at least, one where you think your child can enter according to the draw for places and the birth rate in your area.
- Do you like it? Never forget your first feeling when visiting a center. Do you get excited and imagine every day here with your child? Well, bet on your heartbeat. Does it give you anguish and you want to convince yourself that it is not so bad? Put him down on your list of candidates, if the rest passes the pass.
- educational model. There are more modern, more classical schools, with a digital whiteboard, with textbooks, with homework and memorization or with playful experiences with knowledge, religious, humanistic, secular… What kind of education would you feel better about?
- The distance from home. The ideal would be to choose a school that can be reached on foot in an acceptable time, because you will have to repeat the path many times, when you are sleepy, rainy, hot and in a hurry, and because that way your child’s classmates/friends will be in the neighborhood.
- The installations. Modern or historical, the facilities define a lot the day to day of students and teachers. If they lack maintenance, if the patios are pitiful, if the cold in the classrooms is horrible in winter and the heat is too much in summer… this will have a negative influence on your child.
- The price. Public, concerted and private vary greatly, especially if you add dining room, transportation, extracurricular, material…
- Schedule. Depending on your schedules and work commitments, the hours in which you can drop off and pick up your child will somewhat condition the choice.
- educational stages. Can they all study them at the same school or will they have to change centers for ESO and Baccalaureate?
- Lines and ratios (number of classes per course and number of students per class). How many children yours will grow with can also mark the choice. There are centers with 2-3 classes per course and that can reach 75 children, and others with only one class that do not fill…
- Notable extras. Bilingual or trilingual education, musical specialty, gym and/or swimming pool, recognized sports teams…
- People. Both your son and you will spend countless hours in that center, studying, having meetings, having talks at the entrance, making murals and going to festivals to look good. Make sure that the people around you like you and fit with your way of being and thinking.
My advice is to share your impressions with other families you know with children enrolled in the schools that interest you. And if you don’t know anyone, go directly to the centers and ask nicely and without seeming like a stalker. Anyone will be happy to throw you the shit out of it. Of course, contrast by asking several. It wouldn’t be the first time that a movie or a restaurant has been recommended to us and then we don’t like it at all…
And to close, an optimistic thought. College places are like couples. Some are for life, others looked very good and end up disappointing, and others would be ideal but are already caught. But whoever wants to find a partner more or less finds it and for as long as they last they end up living good times. In the end, wherever your offspring go to study, there you will put your heart. Whatever happens, you will be choosing between schools worthy of a developed country. The difference between your dream option and the worst site where you end up entering will not be so beast either. Your child will find knowledge, friends, support and routines anywhere. And if a few of you get into the family association you can change a lot from within.
Cheer up with the decision and good luck with the places!
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