Looking for the best schools in Nigeria? Only a few decisions are as important as choosing a suitable school for your children apart from that of having them in the first place. But at any point in time that you may be thinking of finding a school for your child, there are hundreds of schools jostling for your attention.
Apart from the school down your street winking at you daily, dozens of schools send you their unsolicited promotional emails. Your colleague at work wouldn’t stop narrating how amazing her children’s school is even though you know your annual salary can’t even pay the school fees. And to worsen the situation, you have to make your decision as fast as possible.
For one thing, there are no generally accepted definitions or standards of a ‘good school’. The onus lies on individual parent and guardian to ensure that their child’s school is one that will help him maximize his potential to the best of his ability – a suitable school.
Whether you are picking a school at the beginning of a session for your pre-KG child or you are changing your child’s school, we have helped you put together some of the most important factors you need to look out for in a school before making it your choice.
Things to Look for When Choosing Your Child’s New School
First things first, you need to research a school online. If the school does not have an online presence, it’s a big minus already. A school that you would want to consider for your child should at least have a website where you can find information about them. If what you see on their website interests, you may want to schedule a school tour or attend the school’s open house day to find out more.
9 Things to Look for When Choosing Your Child’s New School
1. Teachers Teachers!
What crop of teachers does the school employ? Are they trained teachers? Are they qualified to teach their classes? Apart from having the professional qualifications to teach, teachers should also be very passionate about their job. So ask yourself, are the teachers passionate? Do they love their work? Do they love the children?
You should also find out how the school treats its teachers. How often are teachers trained and re-trained? Are there mentorship opportunities for teachers? Do they have opportunities for career progression? Are they well-paid? Are they paid on time? What welfare packages are there for the teachers?
Teachers have a direct influence on students’ lives. So make sure to find answers to these important questions before you make your decision.
2. Books and words for the early years
In their early years, children need to be surrounded by words. You should look for books in the classroom and ask how often the class visits the school library. You should also ask if the teachers set aside time for reading and storytelling which is very essential for children at this stage.
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What is the school’s curriculum like? Does it reflect the realities of the modern job place? Does it make provisions for learning 21st-century skills and technologies? How all-encompassing it is?
These are some of the questions you want to ask concerning a school curriculum before considering them.
4. Extracurricular activities
A child’s participation in activities outside the confines of the curriculum is also very vital to his overall, physical, mental and emotional growths. Before choosing your child’s new school, ask the school under review about their extracurricular activities.
What sports do the students participate in? What sporting facilities do they have? What social, arts and science clubs do they have? Are students opportune to expand their world view through frequent travels and excursions? Etc.
Does parents-teachers-association (PTA) exist at all? If so, how strong and effective is it? Are parents allowed to freely air their honest opinions during PTA discussions? Do the school value the contributions and support of parents? Does the school involve parents in important decisions partnering to the welfare of their children?
6. School library
You may want to find answers to these questions partnering to the school library: Do they have a school library? How well-stocked is the library?
Some schools randomly apportion a very small room as their school library and you can hardly find any standard useful books. Make sure you don’t make the mistake of these types of school. You would see from a school library that the school is intentional about educating their students.
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There is a saying that ‘man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild.’ Children need discipline even more; they could turn out good or bad depending on how we discipline them.
For this reason, you should take the discipline of your child seriously. When choosing your child’s new school, there are some vital questions you should ask the management about discipline:
Are there clearly stated rules, regulations and laws for students? Are parents aware of these school rules and regulations and the students as well? Does the school enforce the punishment or sanctions for offences as stated in the rules and regulations? How does the school punish erring students? Do they place financial gains or student population over character building? Can teachers discipline students or are they restricted? Do parents have the right to prevent discipline from being meted out?
If you are satisfied with the answers you get from these questions, you continue making other findings about a school. But the issue of discipline is very crucial.
You may want to make enquiries about the school transportation system. May be your busy schedule would not permit you to take your children to school and back. If you don’t have a driver, that becomes an issue. So you want to find out if the school has a transportation system in place that is affordable. Don’t forget to ask of the take-off and drop-back time to see if it suits your schedule too.
Many schools have arrangements in place to serve kids at lunch. You may want to know if the school you are considering also has this package. If they do, request for their lunch menu and see if the meals contain appropriate nutrients in appropriate proportion for your kids. And of course, you want to weigh the cost and compare with your home-made food and the time it takes to prepare it.
In conclusion, when you are choosing a school for your child, you don’t want to make any mistakes as it can be very costly. So you can never ask too many questions. Make sure to do your homework. Ask for past results and achievements, make investigations about the school owner, security measures and take these steps we have discussed, and then you should be ready to make a good decision.