As the new year is well underway, you may be starting to consider which school your children will attend in the future.
Mr Dennis Mulherin, Executive Director Lutheran Education Queensland said, “One of the best ways to learn about a new school is to visit and gather important information.”
“Most schools offer Open Days or tours so that you can see the facilities and school in operation for yourself. It is important that not only the parents attend but also the prospective students.”
With many Open Days coming up in the next few months, here are five essential considerations:
1. Get a ‘feel’ for the school
The atmosphere of the school is probably the most important factor when choosing the right school for your children. This usually indicates how comfortable the students are within their learning environment. The warmth and friendliness of the people you meet and the sense of order and calm may all point to a positive emotional and social climate for the school. Students may sense that they could belong here.
In education, it is always the quality of the people involved that is the most important thing – not the buildings or the documents. After you have viewed the school and the website and read the documents, make your decision based on the people.
2. Chat to the students
While visiting the school, if you have the opportunity, speak to some of the students. You can ask them questions about how happy they feel, whether they enjoy learning, which subjects and activities they participate in and if they think the school addresses concerns.
While talking to the students, you will get a good indication of their enthusiasm for the school and whether they are courteous, eager and respectful.
3. Tour the facilities
The buildings and classrooms are not what makes a good education but it is important the spaces align with your expectations of your children’s learning environment.
Many schools now have innovative learning environments which, together with contemporary teaching and learning, enable students to develop 21st century skills. Abilities like collaboration, critical thinking, deep empathy, entrepreneurship, growth mindset, resilience and grit, while also enhancing academic rigour, are what future employers will be searching for.
Additional facilities such as sporting halls and courts, performing arts buildings, robotics and technology spaces may be important to you for your children’s learning needs so look for those resources when touring the campus.
The cleanliness of the school and presentation of the grounds also gives you a good indication of the care and respect that the students and staff have for the school.
4. Speak to the teachers and Principal
In order to find out about school programs and information such as subject offerings, behaviour management, co-curricular programs, outdoor education/camps and additional support/tutoring, the teachers at the school are the best people to speak to.
While you are speaking to the teachers, observe how they are interacting with students and other staff members.
Specialty teachers like learning support and gifted and talented coordinators will help you with additional information about these specific topics.
The Principal and leadership team can provide you with an overview of the values of the school to check whether they align with your own. Ask how you or students would see these values in action.
Make sure you ask who you can contact if you require more information.
5. Look at the student work on display
Open Days usually include a tour of some or all of the classrooms. Student work will most likely be on display.
There should be broad range of abilities shown: not just the brightest or most creative in class. Let’s face it, every child is unique with individual skills and abilities! Are the efforts of every child valued?
The work should show you the depth of learning from every level and an assortment of interesting ways to demonstrate understanding by the student.
In the end, it is important to listen to your instincts. You usually get a gut feel about the right school for your children. After all, you know them and their needs best! For more details about a Queensland Lutheran school Open Day near you, visit here >>