Not long after Curly-locks was born, I enrolled her in the same primary school I went to when I was a kid.
The sentimental side of me was dead excited about the possibility of having her attend the same school my father, aunt, siblings, and I attended.
I have such wonderful memories from that school. I remember digging for gold under the convent, living in fear of the statue of Mary that allegedly moved, and forming the friendships that I still have today. Keeping this family tradition alive would be very special to me.
Since I enrolled Curly-locks in this school though, we have moved. We now live in the next suburb from the school, but in the same street as another.
And so the debate between Dave and I begins – send the girls to the small Catholic school in the next suburb to continue the family tradition, or send them to the large public school down the road, which they can walk to.
Discussing this dilemma with our friends, we’ve been quick to find we’re not the only ones having a tough time choosing a school. We all want to start our kids’ education off on the right foot. It’s a big decision.
We’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to make the right decision is to arm ourselves with as much info about each school as possible.
Here’s what we’re doing:
(I should preface this with saying, if you’re not sure which schools are in your area, the School A to Z guide works as a gateway to each state and territory’s Department of Education school finder or directory. In Australia, we can choose between government or non-government schools.)
Outline what you want from a school and what you want for your child
We’ve put together a checklist of what we want from a school in an ideal world, for example, handy location, good reputation, reasonable fees, good facilities in and out of the classroom, open communication, welcoming of parental involvement, great academic results, after school care etc.
We’re taking into consideration the personality type of our girls and which school we think may allow them to thrive more. We’re also keeping in mind which school our girls’ friends will be attending.
Community opinion / reputation
Every chance I get, I’m chatting to parents who live in the area about which school they send their kids. This is a great way to get the inside goss on what each school is like.
Thanks to the My School website, we now have at our fingertips info for approximately 9,500 schools in Australia. The information includes a profile of the school, enrolment details, financial information and academic results.
Attend open days
We will be going to the fete of one of the schools in the next couple of weeks and I will be checking dates for an open day or fete at the other. At the fete, we plan to scope out the classrooms and playground and attempt to get a gist of the general vibe of the school. Do the kids and families look happy?
Talk to the principal
If at the pointy end of the decision, it’s still looking like a close call, we’ll arrange a chat with the principal of each school.
And, if all else fails, we’ll flip a coin 😉
Are you having a tough time choosing a school for your child? How did you make your decision?