With so many pre-school and primary schools out there to choose from it is important to ask the right questions before deciding where to send your little one. Our children are the most important thing in most of our lives. As parents we must make sure that we make the right decisions when it comes to our child’s education. Especially when our children are still young and need a lot of guidance.
Here are some questions that you should ask during an interview/tour of the school. Even though many of the questions listed below may be answered on the school’s website or fancy brochure, it is still important to hear the answer first hand. Sometimes things that are written down are outdated and not necessarily followed . The last thing you want is to pay all your non-refundable fees to find out that the school is not what you expected.
(1) General School Questions
- What schedule does the school follow (is it term based or year round)?
- What are the hidden fees/costs per term? Per year?
- What is included in the price of tuition?
- What is not included in the price of tuition (uniform, books, field trips, ect.)?
- What was the teacher turnover/retention rate over the last 5 years?
- How does the school deal with behavioral issues?
- Do you do background checks on your teachers?
- Do you do background checks on your staff, including the maintenance and security crew?
- Is there a trained nurse on staff?
- How often is the school cleaned?
- How often do they sanitize the classroom?
- Do they have child size toilets and sinks?
- How often does the school update their technology for the students?
(2) Class Composition
- What is the student to teacher ratio?
- What is the maximum amount of students per class?
- What are the qualifications of the teachers that will be teaching the class?
- How many main teachers and how many assistant teachers will each class have?
- Besides the teachers, who else do the children get to interact with on a daily basis?
- How does the school deal with children that have learning disabilities?
- What type of program is offered for kid’s that excel (“gifted & talented”)? Is there a special program?
- Can you request which class/teacher your student gets each year?
- Do the students stay with the same kids each year or do the classes get shuffled?
- What will the kids learn over the course of the year(s)?
- Is the school structured or more enquiry based?
- What style of teaching does the school follow?
- What are some examples of the learning activities you do in class?
- What type of technology do the kids have access to? How frequent is their access?
- Does the school offer a second language program?
- How much time is spent on the second language?
- What types of “creative arts” activities do you offer?
(4) Outdoor Activity
- How much time is spent outdoors vs. indoors each day.
- Are the outdoor activities structured or free-play?
- What are some of the types of structured outdoor play?
- What variety of equipment does the school have?
- Do you have more than one playground?
- How old is the play equipment?
- How often do they get new equipment for the school?
- What do you do on rainy days?
- Is there a set schedule for outdoor play?
(5) Extra-Curricular Activities
- Do you offer any afterschool activities?
- Are outside groups or speakers brought in to speak to the students?
- Do you have field trips? How often?
- Are the field trips included in the cost of the tutition?
(6) Parent Involvement
- What types of parent involvement is there in the classroom?
- How many times per month/term are parents required to come to class activities?
- Is there a parent forum where parents can address their concerns? How often does it meet?
- Do you have parent teacher conferences? How often?
- What method of communication does the school use to inform parents of classroom updates?
- What meals are served at school?
- How often are menu items changed? Are parents informed of a change in menu?
- Is there more than one menu item offered per day for picky eaters?
- Can you pack your own lunch from home?
- Do they have a nutritionist that does their meal planning?
- What do you do if your kid has allergies?
- Do you keep track of how much food each child eats?
- Do you offer extra food if a child is hungry?
(8) Questions for Younger Kids
- How do you deal with unsettled children?
- Are parent’s allowed to sit in during the first few weeks of school to assist in the transition?
- Do you assist in potty training?
- How often do you change diapers?
- Are the kid’s accompanied to the restroom?
- Do you take the kid’s to the restroom on a schedule?
These are just a few questions to ask. If you have anymore questions that you think would help out other moms, please leave it in the comments section and I will be sure to add it to this list.