#4 - Academics vs extracurricular activities
Does learning happen outside the textbooks? While some schools give a lot of importance to Academics and Academics alone. Other schools go for a better rounded education, besides giving a lot of importance to sports. Find out how much of the learning happens outside textbooks, if children are encouraged to visit the school library, look on the Internet or use the information they find in their learning?
Consider if you would want the school to focus on Academics while you cater to the other interests of the child outside of school. Or would you prefer the kid to be exposed to different activities in school and perhaps have a long working day in school. What your child is inclined towards may not be obvious in the initial years. Keep your options open. Note that the school will only be able to expose the kids to various activities to figure out some innate talents.
If your kid is really talented, the chances are that you will need to find external coaching.
#5 - Feedback from parents
Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few schools, contact a parent directly. Parents of kids who already go there is the best source of information. Have a list of questions ready for them. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about academic issues, for example, “How does the school handle harassment?” or “Which after-school extra-curricular activities are most popular?” Verify that the children learn in a positive atmosphere where no one is humiliated, criticised or belittled?
It could turn out that your best friend’s nephew’s son or your daughter’s keyboard teacher’s daughter study in the same school, and can give you honest information about the school and the results it has been achieving in the past years. If you don’t have friends / neighbours whose kids go to the school, it is okay to ask the school for some references. The parents will know the ground reality and will be upfront about the advantages and disadvantages of the school. Enquire about what percentage of the school week is usually spent in the classroom and what percentage in labs and sports?
Don’t forget to ask – Are your kids happy in the school? Do they like going to school?