Schools are already hanging the posters with the dates of the open days, and that is that during the months of February to April the period of presentation of applications (or pre-inscriptions) for schools opens in Catalonia.
Today Petit Explorador we want to help you with the long and difficult decision that is to choose a school for our children.
Criteria to choose school:
1. Public, private or arranged school?
Deciding between one or the other can be very difficult or very easy, depending on your budget. The prices of a private school can be quite exorbitant if you have to also assume other expenses such as mortgages and others.
2. What is the educational project of the center?
The way in which they transmit knowledge in school: what method of learning they use and if they have any specific pedagogical orientation.
If it is an alternative pedagogical method, parents must first verify that it is certified by the Ministry of Education.
3. What does the school stand for?
It is also good to have references on the strengths of the center: if it stands out for its musical training, new technologies, literature, sports, public speaking …
4. What is the ideology of the school?
What are the moral, religious and ideological lines of the center? These have to adapt in the education we want to give our children and our beliefs, because there are no contradictions.
5. How important are languages to them?
Is it a bilingual center? Do they offer other languages, other than English, Catalan and Spanish? Now, many centers offer this advantage for children, since it is proven that as soon as children begin to learn a second language the easier they will find it to learn it.
6. What academic level does the center have?
It is important to know if the center has a quality certificate. In addition, the school has to make available to parents the results of the students in the Selectivity tests or in the knowledge tests that each Community performs in 6th grade.
7. If the school is foreign …
If the school is foreign (French Lyceum, German School, British Institute …) parents have to be aware that in addition to language diffiiculties, there is a link among children with a different culture and education system, something difficult to follow at home if we have no links with this country.
8. Do they offer good facilities?
You have to take into account the tools available to the center. It is important to know if you have adequate sports facilities, laboratories, language classrooms, libraries, etc. because these facilities enhance the possibilities of training students.
9. What services do you have?
It is convenient to know what dining service it offers (own kitchen, catering) and if it offers special menus in the event that the child has health problems or allergies. It can also be interesting to know in advance if they have their own transport routes and also if they have a permanent doctor at the center or some type of nursing service to attend emergencies.
10. How many students are there per class?
The normal rate is from 20 to 30 students per classroom. Of course, if the school has smaller classes, it is a point in their favor, because the child care will be more personalized.
11. How far is the home school?
It is important to consider this aspect, because it depends if you will have to take transport or not. Also, if you have to go and pick up the child, it will be subject to our work schedule. However, it is not decisive, because sometimes it compensates what the school offers even if it is further away.
12. What time do they enter and leave school?
The hours of the center have to be compatible with the work and activities of the parents, so that the child can be well attended and there are never problems when it comes to taking it or picking it up. Some centers in the mornings offer the reception service before starting school and after-school afternoons so that you can combine working life with school schedules.
13. What extracurricular activities do they offer?
Extracurricular activities are important so that the child can develop other skills and abilities. Pay attention to their tastes and the offer of the center. We have to use extracurricular activities in favor of the child and not to extend school hours.
14. Do the teachers all go as one?
Put your eye on the teaching team of the school as a whole. Observe if teachers work with a shared project that defines the center line. Beyond if there are brilliant teachers, you have to look at the whole and see if the team is consolidated.
15. How do families participate?
You do not need to go any deep to know if a school is favorable to the fact that families participate in their decisions and their dynamics. Schools with participation, families are not conceived as
enemies, but as allies. Therefore, information is not hidden because it is understood that the only way to educate is to share the criteria of how to educate.
16. How is diversity addressed?
Ideally, all decisions should be taken at school from this axis of respect and inclusion in the other. Only then can you make sure that they will give answers if something happens. You can also check how many resources the guidance department has and how they care for students with difficulties or the most advanced ones.
17. Visit the educational center.
An interview with the director and a visit to the facilities to check on the ground everything they offer is the last step to complete our choice. But, remember, a large patio, a large sports center or a digital board they can be attractive elements, but we do not have to be carried away by the “wrapper”. In the visits you are selling the best classes, no matter how beautiful they are, if there is not a consolidated project in place, nothing guarantees an educational response to the needs of your children.
18. Breathe, it is NOT a life or death decision.
It is not worth stressing, it is necessary to relativize. The choice of the school does not have to be definitive and if we are not happy with the election, we are always in time to change. And in addition, it is even likely that the child will learn a little of this experience. It is difficult for a school to have EVERYTHING you are looking for, set priorities on the list based on your child’s needs and trust your intuition.