A DROP OF INK MAKES MILLIONS THINK-How about a bounty of commitment, heart full of love and mind full of inspiring thoughts and ideas? No wonder these words describe the committed Management and the staff of DSE who left no stone unturned in pioneering the virtual era.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Decisions about where your child goes to school are very personal and can be difficult. It’s common and normal for parents to feel anxious about getting this decision right.
For some parents, the decision is simple. Their children go to the local public school – the school in the same government zone as their house. Other parents might want to look further afield at other government schools (‘out of area’ schools) or private schools. And others consider home-schooling.
Things to consider when choosing a school for your child
If you’re looking beyond the local public school, think about what will work best for your child’s personality, strengths, needs and interests. You might also consider how different schools’ cultures and values fit with your family values and family life.
Here are some other things you could think about.
Personal values and preferences
- Do you prefer public or private education? Are the facilities or subject choices a consideration?
- Do you want your child to attend the same school that you attended or have a different experience?
- Do you want your child to have a religious education?
- Do you need to send your child to boarding school, or are you interested in distance education or educating your child at home?
- Are you interested in a particular teaching philosophy – for example, Steiner or Montessori?
- How do things like the location of the school, cost or difficulty of travelling to and from the school, and public transport options affect you?
- If you have other children, is it important that all your children go to the same school?
- Where are your child’s friends going to school?
- Where do most of the children from your child’s preschool go to school?
- Do you need before-school and after-school care for your child?
- Is the school small or large? What size is likely to suit your child best?
- What facilities does the school have to support your child’s learning – playgrounds, library, music programs, clubs and sporting teams?
- Has the school improved its academic results over the past few years? What about its performance in other areas like the arts, sport or community engagement?
- How well does the school support children with additional needs, if your child has a disability, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder or other need?
School communication and connections
- What opportunities are there for parent and family involvement with the school, and how is communication between home and the school managed?
- How is the school connected with the local community?
Every school has strengths that will enhance your child’s experience. Getting to know what those strengths are and how you can support them will benefit your child’s education.
Choosing a Primary school
The following questions might be useful if you’re thinking about primary schools:
- Will you and your child feel welcome at the school?
- Does the school offer a ‘transition into school’ program?
- What are your options for before-school and after-school care and vacation care?
- What approach does the school take to behaviour management?
- What do other parents you know think about the different schools in your area? What are their experiences?
- Does your child’s preschool teacher have an opinion on which school might be the best fit for your child?
Choosing a Secondary school
These questions might help you decide which secondary school is best for your child.
Financial and practical considerations
- Are the school fees and other costs affordable?
- Are there any scholarship programs, and is your child eligible?
- What are the options for transport to and from school? Do they work for your family?
- Does the school require students to have specific technologies like iPads or laptops?
Academic and extracurricular considerations
- What are the school’s admission procedures and entrance requirements?
- What study paths are available at different schools – Higher School Certificate, Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, International Baccalaureate (IB), Vocational and Educational Training (VET) and so on?
- What languages and elective subjects does the school offer? How many subjects are available in the senior years?
- What extracurricular activities – sport, art, music, drama and so on – are available to suit your child’s interests? What are the time and costs associated with these?
- Does the school offer extension or accelerated learning programs? If so, what are the selection criteria?
- Does the school offer extra support if it’s needed – for example, English as a second language (ESL) classes, literacy and numeracy support programs, and support for children with health conditions, special needs and so on?
- Is a selective entry school a good option for your child?
Feelings and values
- How does the culture of the school match your family’s values – for example, uniform policy, attendance, emphasis on academic achievement, compulsory weekend sport and so on?
- What school does your child want to go to, based on primary school friends, opportunities provided by the school, career aspirations, motivations and so on?
Choosing schools: Important facts and factors
Many parents worry about things like class size or whether a single-sex or co-educational school is best. They also want to know how to find out about a school’s philosophy. Here are some answers that might guide your thinking.
Small class sizes can have a positive effect on children’s learning but teacher quality and working conditions for teachers are likely to be more important. This includes teachers being well supported by other staff and having access to resources.
It’s up to you to choose whether single-sex education or co-education is best for your child, because there’s no conclusive evidence to say that one is better than the other.
Generally, whether a school is co-educational or single sex isn’t as important as the school’s quality of leadership, teaching quality and approach to teaching. Most families will have a personal view about this issue, which is linked to the personality of their child, the parents’ own schooling experience and their family values.
School culture or
Schools have individual and distinct cultures and teaching philosophies. For example, some have a strong sports ethic, some follow a religious affiliation, and others promote individuality, artistic pursuits, creative thinking or problem-solving.
It all depends on what’s important to you and your child. Are you looking for a school with a balanced sporting and academic approach, or one with strengths in artistic and musical areas, or in science and math? An environment with a strong academic focus might be important to you, or perhaps one that teaches your child more about your religious views.
Most schools talk about their philosophies and approach in a document like a prospectus, handbook or charter. You might also find this information on the school website.
Parents themselves can be a little nervous about the first day of school, especially if they're seeing their little one off for the first time or if their child is going to a new school.
To help make going to school a little easier on everyone, here's a handy checklist:
What to wear, bring, and eat:
· Does the school have a dress code? Are there certain things students can't wear?
· Will kids need a change of clothes for PE or art class?
· Do your kids have a safe backpack that's lightweight, with two wide, padded shoulder straps, a waist belt, a padded back, and multiple compartments?
· Do kids know not to overload their backpacks and to stow them safely at home and school?
· Will your kids buy lunch at school or bring it from home? If they buy a school lunch, how much will it cost per day or per week? Do you have a weekly or monthly menu of what will be served? Is there an account number that they need to remember?
· Have you stocked up on all of the necessary school supplies? (Letting kids pick out a new lunchbox and a set of pens, pencils, binders, etc., helps get them geared up for going back to school.)
· Have your kids had all necessary immunizations?
· Have you filled out any forms that the school has sent home, such as emergency contact and health information forms?
· Do the school nurse and teachers know about any medical conditions your child has, such as food allergies, asthma, diabetes, or other conditions that may need to be managed during the school day?
· Have you made arrangements with the school nurse to give any medicines your child might need?
· Do the teachers know about any conditions that may affect how your child learns? For example, kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be seated in the front of the room, and a child with vision problems should sit near the board.
Transportation and safety:
· Do you know what time school starts and how your kids will get there?
· If they're riding the bus, do you know where the bus stop is and what time they'll be picked up and dropped off?
· Do you know where the school's designated drop-off and pick-up area is?
· Are there any regulations on bicycles or other vehicles, such as scooters?
· Have you gone over traffic safety information, stressing the importance of crossing at the crosswalk (never between parked cars or in front of the school bus), waiting for the bus to stop before approaching it, and understanding traffic signals and signs?
· If your child walks or bikes to school, have you mapped out a safe route? Does your child understand that it's never OK to accept rides, candy, or any other type of invitation from strangers?
WHAT ABOUT AFTER SCHOOL?
Figuring out where kids will go after school can be a challenge, especially if both parents work. Depending on a child's age and maturity, you may need to arrange for after-school transportation and care.
It's important for younger kids and preteens to have some sort of supervision from a responsible adult. If you can't be there as soon as school's out, ask a reliable, responsible relative, friend, or neighbor to help out. If they're to be picked up after school, make sure your kids know where to meet you or another caregiver.
Although it might seem like kids who are approaching adolescence are becoming mature enough to start watching themselves after school, even kids as old as 11 or 12 may not be ready to be left alone.
If your kids or teens are home alone in the afternoons, it's important to establish clear rules:
· Set a time when they're expected to arrive home from school.
· Have them check in with you or a neighbor as soon as they get home?
· Specify who, if anyone at all, is allowed in your home when you're not there.
· Make sure they know to never open the door for strangers.
· Make sure they know what to do in an emergency.
· To ensure that kids are safe and entertained after school, look into after-school programs. Some are run by private businesses, others are organized by the schools themselves, places of worship, police athletic leagues, YMCAs, community and youth centers, and parks and recreation departments.
Getting involved in after-school activities:
· offers kids a productive alternative to watching TV or playing video games
· provides some adult supervision when parents can't be around after school
· helps develop kids' interests and talents
· introduces kids to new people and helps them develop their social skills
· gives kids a feeling of involvement
· keeps kids out of trouble
Be sure to look into the child-staff ratio at any after-school program (in other words, make sure that there are enough adults per child) and that the facilities are safe, indoors and out. And kids should know when and who will pick them up when school lets out and when the after-school program ends.
Also, make sure after-school commitments allow kids enough time to complete school assignments. Keep an eye on their schedules to make sure there's enough time for both schoolwork and home life.
Love it or hate it, homework is a very important part of school. To help kids get back into the scholastic swing of things:
Make sure there's a quiet place that's free of distractions to do homework.
Don't let kids watch TV when doing homework or studying. Set rules for when homework and studying need to be done, and when the TV can be turned on and should be turned off. The less TV, the better, especially on school nights.
If your kids are involved in social media, be sure to limit the time spent on these activities during homework time.
Keep text messaging to a minimum to avoid frequent interruptions.
Never do their homework or projects yourself. Instead, make it clear that you're always available to help or answer any questions, as needed.
Review homework assignments nightly, not necessarily to check up, but to make sure they understand everything.
Encourage kids to:
· develop good work habits from the get-go, like taking notes, writing down assignments, and turning in homework on time
· take their time with schoolwork
· ask the teacher if they don't understand something
· To ensure kids get the most out of school, maintain an open channel of communication with the teachers by e-mailing or talking with them throughout the school year to discuss your kids' academic strengths as well as weaknesses.
Most of all, whether it's the first day of school or the last, make sure your kids know you're there to listen to their feelings and concerns, and that you don't expect perfection — only that they try their best.
Parents are always on the lookout for the “perfect” school for their children. When it comes to schools for children with special needs, parents are even more anxious and have many questions!! What kind of a school? What should the curriculum consist of if it has to cater to your child’s needs?
Here is a Parent Checklist one can look up for children below 8 years of age who are beginning school life:
Teacher – Student Ratio: A good Teacher-Student ratio is very important. Ideally, a classroom where 1:4 is maintained is an excellent ratio. It should not exceed 12 ideally. Looking into practical scenarios of schools around, more than 12 children for a teacher means that the child will need some additional support from an adult apart from the teacher. There may be exceptions to this rule, but it’s good to ask the question.
Relaxed Learning Environment: Though academic skills are something that a school primarily teaches, it is important to note that the school should also give freedom to the child in terms of his pace of learning the curriculum. E.g. A child who is lagging in fine motor skills (decided by the Occupational Therapist) should not be forced to write since it will lead to the child fearing or being aversive to it and not learn the skill even when he is actually ready for it.
Play Based Approach: Children below 5 years of age learn best through play. This play can be unstructured where the child is empowered to explore and learn his way. E.g. using clay, sand, running etc. wherein the expectations are minimal. Later it can be structured (only if the child is ready) where there are some rules and the child needs to follow certain directions from the teacher.
Teacher Education/Awareness: The teacher should ideally have knowledge or training in the area of special needs and aware of different disorders and their needs. E.g. children’s learning styles, Visual learners vs. Auditory learners. Sensory processing where the same child might be under sensitive or oversensitive to objects and activities. A child might respond better to sight word vocabulary approach than a phonics approach. A trained teacher can observe the child accurately. Its great if teachers in the school have undergone formal training for children with special needs, Consider it a bonus!
School Space: The school should have adequate space for a child to engage in outdoor play. It should have a free play zone or room with sand/paint/water play to give the child necessary sensory breaks and encourage exploration. A classroom, which supplements its verbal instructions with pictures, is the ideal environment. E.g. when the beginning or end of a particular learning time like circle time, lunch, rhymes etc. is marked by a picture or poster which the teacher holds up, it is easier for the child to understand the change in schedule.
“Functional” Curriculum: If Schools organize field trips that expose a child to regular activities like visit to a supermarket, restaurant, park etc. it can prepare the child for expected behaviours in a social situation. An introduction to household chores like filling water in a bucket, folding clothes, cleaning up or arranging utensils etc. can be very good functional skills included in the curriculum which will equip him/her for independence.
Buddy System: If it’s an integrated school then it becomes important to sensitize the typically developing children in the school about how they can be a buddy or mentor for the child with special needs in their classroom. They can be the bridge for your child’s emotional growth and building friendships.
Individualized Educational Plan (IEP): IEP at the beginning of the year needs to be made in consultation with the respective Class teacher, Special educator and parents so that realistic and functional goals can be targeted. Note: This plan will vary from child to child.
Having mentioned the above its important to note, if it is difficult to find a school that meets all the above criteria, you should ensure that it meets at least “half” the criteria. After all, it’s in the best interest of your child. Providing quality education in today’s times is expensive and very important that your child gets the best possible opportunities from his school.
A DROP OF INK MAKES MILLIONS THINK-How about a bounty of commitment, heart full of love and mind full of inspiring thoughts and ideas? N...
A DROP OF INK MAKES MILLIONS THINK-How about a bounty of commitment, heart full of love and mind full of inspiring thoughts and ideas? N...
Parents themselves can be a little nervous about the first day of school, especially if they're seeing their little one off for the firs...
Decisions about where your child goes to school are very personal and can be difficult. It’s common and normal for parents to feel anxious...