Are you approaching the time to choose a school and don't know where to start? There is no such thing as the perfect school, only the right one and, for this reason, it is not a good idea to get anxious about this decision. Remember that this choice is not irreversible, but here are some tips to help you choose the option that best suits your needs!
What a difficult decision! The truth is that choosing a good school can be a real dilemma for most parents. If you think you are a bit lost in this process and don't know where to start, we suggest a series of questions you should ask yourself. This way, if your decision is not clear, you will at least be able to discard those options that do not fit your interests. School is the place where your children will be formed on a personal level, as well as where they will acquire their code of ethics and values. The school is also the place where they will make friends and is, without a doubt, one of the main factors that will determine what their professional future will be like. Consequently, when choosing a school, we will have to take into account many variables: not only the pedagogical project is the most important thing to take into account when deciding on one school or another, but also many other practical and ideological aspects.
Remember that it is very advisable to attend the open days of all the options that stand out in your scheme, because sometimes all that glitters is not gold. You might be surprised to hear of cases of families who discover at open days how some of the schools they didn't really like at the beginning ended up attracting their attention in a very positive way.
1. Public, private or concerted school?
This is one of the questions that will sift through all the options you may have in mind! This filter also implies a variation of admission criteria, as well as a key factor: the price you are willing to pay.
Of course, it is not only a question of families' financial capacity. Some people, because of their values and ethics, consider education to be a fundamental right and are unwilling to pay for it, even if they can afford it. Other families prefer, even if they have a tighter income, to buckle down and invest in a private school. Both options are respectable, the only thing you need to be clear about is which one is yours!
There is also a middle ground between private and public schools: concerted schools. These involve lower tuition fees than private schools, since in the case of charter schools, they are partially financed by public funds.
Remember that you should also keep in mind the fact that there are many other extra expenses such as the purchase of books or computers, pens and notebooks, transport costs, canteen, extracurricular activities, uniforms... This can also be a question you can ask at the open days! What is the average monthly cost of education in each school, based on families' expenses in previous years?
At buscarcole.com we have a form that helps you to find your ideal school more easily and, in fact, one of the first questions asked in this questionnaire is to find out the type of school chosen: private or concerted. Public schools are not included in our search engine.
2. Would you correctly combine your lifestyle with the school's moral and ideological guidelines?
There are secular, denominational, more or less demanding, more or less progressive, conservative or traditional schools... There are a thousand types!
It is the responsibility of parents to consider what kind of person they want their child to be in the future and to adapt his or her education to their ethical or moral ideas. However, the education of our children is not rigid, but a shared project between school and home. You can always have discussions with your children, for example at dinner time, to discuss what they have learned that day and reflect on these values and lessons. In this way, you will stimulate their critical spirit and promote something as simple as asking themselves what is right and what is wrong.
3. What type of education is promoted?
Buscarcole.com offers a wide range of possibilities in terms of educational projects. The methodology used by the centre to transmit knowledge to their students is a differentiating element between a school and the rest.
Broadly speaking (we are simplifying a lot, yes), we differentiate between traditional schools, which are based on method and order, and alternative schools. However, we have seen how many traditional schools have been adapting to increasingly innovative methodologies and have caught up with digitalisation, given the context of Covid-19. In the first example, that of traditional schools, the teacher is the guide whom the pupil has to obey, learning values such as respect, responsibility and commitment.
In the case of schools with alternative pedagogical systems, the protagonist is not the teacher, but the child, who is considered a curious being capable of learning by discovering on his or her own. In this way, the teacher does not impose knowledge, but guides the pupil and provides him/her with the tools to learn. We propose a new question for the day you attend the open day of the chosen schools: ask about the evaluation system, about homework and whether the school stands out in specific fields such as science, arts, sports, etc.
4. Proximity to school
It may seem silly, but numerous studies show how the proximity of the school can be a determining factor in pupils' performance. Not only because of the time it takes to get to school or, depending on the combination of transfers, the stress that can be caused if there are delays on the metro lines or if the bus is very full...
The truth is that besides a question of time wasted, it is also a social factor. Most pupils are likely to be more or less close to the school premises. If our child lives too far away, he or she may be unintentionally excluded by not being able to participate in some activities as easily as others, or by not being able to stay late because he or she has to go home earlier. These difficulties in combining social life with school may be reflected in motivation towards studies.
As well as saving time if you choose a school close to home, you will also save money: if you were driving your child, you will save petrol, and it should be noted that there is a clear difference in the fare system on metro cards depending on whether you group one or two mobility zones together. However, it is important to remember that we cannot sacrifice the quality of a school just because of distance. It is then time to assess whether there is a good balance between these two variables. In our portal we take this into account and therefore we ask you for your postcode and your town so that we can show you those institutions that are close to your area.
5. What services does the school offer for my child's education?
This is probably one of the most complex points, as it is the one that gives rise to the most questions. Some of the questions you should ask yourself about the services offered by the school are:
- What is the school's use of new technologies? Does it have computer classrooms or hardware integrated into the classrooms?
- Does it offer a portal or virtual classroom so that monitoring can be done in parallel and thus streamline and make communication between parents-parents-teachers more fluid?
- Are you prepared to give distance classes?
- Does it have its own kitchen in its dining room?
- Does it have a nursing service?
- If we are looking for a school for the youngest members of the family: How do they take their naps? Where do the children play?
- Are foreign languages important and are the language teachers native speakers?
- How are difficulties in learning or social inclusion dealt with? Are there speech therapists, psychological counselling or counselling services for children?
- What kind of extracurricular activities do you organise and what are their prices and timetables?
- During school holidays, do you organise extracurricular activities or camps?
- Are the facilities well maintained?
6. What is the training of teachers?
It is interesting to know whether teachers have specific training in the subjects they teach. Information such as whether they update their knowledge may seem superfluous, but it says a lot about their professionalism.
We hope this post has helped you to ask yourself new questions to discern which schools are going to be the right ones for your children and which ones you should discard for not adapting to your needs and interests.
Thank you very much for trusting in buscarcole.com.