Choosing the Best School for your child

If like me you are in the midst of school applications for your pre-schooler, then this blog might help you choose, or at least set your mind at ease.

I have one boy just about to leave infant school and one just about to join - so not only have I experience of choosing that very first school (and not getting our first choice) but also what it's like to do it all over again. 

I remember trying to choose which school would be best for my child and honestly, loosing sleep over it. On reflection, Reception Year is very very similar to nursery (even if they say it's different) and it doesn't matter too much where they will be colouring in and playing. They won't need pencil cases in most schools, or their own casual rucksacks or lunch boxes.

Looking back 3 years ago, I remember very carefully choosing my top 3 schools, only to be told in April that we got our 3rd choice (which was the furthest away). After we accepted the placement, the school emailed us a sort of 'welcome' pack, with pictures of the school, lists of uniform bits needed and all the admin stuff. It was slightly different as covid had just become quite a big deal so the kids weren't allowed in to see the school or have any sessions like they do now. 

We also opted to sit on waiting lists for our closer school choices. That's a whole thing that no one really talks about a lot - there is A LOT of movement in the first few months of schools while people accept and move placements. In 3 years Jasper's class has maybe lost 7-8 kids and gained equal numbers. This is super common and if you don't get your preferred place - it really doesn't mean you won't ever. 

I could go on and on about this, and the system in general, but instead below I've popped down some key points to help you decide what schools to write down first.

The most important thing to consider when choosing a school is your child's personality. In order to figure out which school is best for your child, you need to know what their personality is like. Some schools are more focused on academics while others are more focused on creativity and self-expression. Private schools cost a lot of money, but they often have better resources than public schools. Montessori schools focus on teaching children how to learn and explore through hands-on experiences. Forest school focuses on outdoor learning experiences that can help children develop skills like teamwork and problem solving skills that will help them later in life.

Choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult task. There are many factors to consider and it is important to research and visit all the schools that might be appropriate for your child. Walking through the process of figuring out which school is best for your child can help you make an informed decision. It is crucial to ask yourself what kind of environment would suit your child best?

Do they need a private or public school?

Would they thrive in a Montessori or forest school?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search and find the right fit.

Most full Montessori schools are hard to find - however many schools and nursery schools adopt elements of Montessori learnings. When you visit take a look at not only what the children are doing, but how they are doing it. Are they playing freely? Do they have access to outside? Do they have lots of natural elements within the classroom to roll play with? Very importantly - are the children happy?

Trust your gut and remember how incredible your children are - it's much harder for you than it is for them!