Selecting the appropriate elementary school for children is one of the most important decisions to make during his or her growth and development. Whether an individual school is a good fit for each child’s needs, personality, and learning style can have a significant impact on his or her future academic success. In the year before mandatory school enrollment, parents should spend some time visiting and evaluating several schools. This will give a clear picture of which school is the best candidate according to several factors such as teaching approaches, activities, and subject levels.
Individual Learning Styles
Everyone learns somewhat differently, and this is especially true in childhood. Taking the time and effort to know a child’s learning style can be very beneficial as far as choosing a school that fits this learning style. Some children learn best by hands-on projects and can have more difficulty sitting still during lectures or demonstrations. Others learn better with plenty of visual aids. Still others have an easier time recalling spoken material. A good quality elementary school has teachers who are easily able to adapt their material to a variety of learning styles. Their methodology should also include ways to strengthen secondary learning styles that are not as dominant in each individual student. Optional extra tutoring programs are also an indication of a strong, student-centered elementary school.
The material taught in elementary grades should be appropriate for each grade level. Lessons should be challenging enough to foster intellectual growth, yet they should still be achievable with the right effort on the part of the children. Schools that appear to teach material that is not challenging enough can result in bored or inattentive students, so this is one thing to look for when observing classrooms. Another decision as part of this process is whether to send a child to a general public school or to a more specialized magnet school that is still in the same district. One of the primary criteria for choosing an elementary school is the quality of the core curriculum in areas such as English, math, and science.
For children who may learn better with individual attention in a more structured classroom, parents should look for elementary schools that emphasize this kind of teaching environment. Elementary students with any specific learning challenges definitely need to be enrolled in a school with good special education accommodations and well-trained teachers. Children with skills and talents beyond their current grade levels thrive in elementary schools that offer programs of enriched course material.
When comparing different elementary schools, it is a good idea to look for schools that foster social as well as academic skills. Some children are naturally more social while others need a structured environment that will help them learn to work cooperatively with others. Classrooms that incorporate group activities and discussions are good choices for these types of students. Parents should also check each school’s extracurricular activities for sports and clubs that match their children’s individual interests.