SINGAPORE - When it comes to choosing a school for one's child, what are the factors that parents should consider before making a decision?
Mrs Sheba Khan, a mother of two, once asked the same question when she was searching for a school for her daughter, in 2012. Unsure of the schools in her neighbourhood, Mrs Khan embarked on an intensive online search to find out more about the various schools for her daughter during the Primary One registration exercise.
She was disappointed when a popular school in her neighbourhood was not able to accommodate her daughter, so she enrolled her daughter in East Coast Primary School (ECPS) - which was a mere five minutes' walk away.
After speaking to other parents and visiting the school, Mrs Khan realised that this move turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as she also found out during her daughter's time with ECPS.
With this experience, she now shares four useful tips on choosing a school that best fits your child's needs:
1. Do your own research! Do not only rely on views posted on the Internet
'Initially, my heart was set on enrolling my child in one of the popular schools based on views posted on the Internet. I also did not find out sufficient information about the other schools in my residential area,' said Mrs Khan.
To make an informed decision about the most appropriate school for your child, Mrs Khan suggests talking to parents with children in the desired schools, visiting the schools to find out about their environment and understanding the programmes offered because every child has different needs and it is more important for the child to enjoy his or her learning process.
2. Understand the school
Schools have different niches and strengths, and it is important to find out more about the school environment and programmes before deciding if the school suits your child.
3. Get involved in your child's education journey
Mrs Khan recently joined the school's Parent Support Group and is currently helping out as a teacher assistant in its Life Skills Programme, which is a part of ECPS' values education initiative. In the programme, students are taught basic life skills such as ironing, baking and cooking.
'Being part of the Life Skills Programme made me realise the importance of allowing my daughter to help out at home. After the programme, my daughter is more confident and independent. She even made a pizza, which I would not have imagined her to be able to do at such a young age,' said Mrs Khan.
Mrs Khan recommends establishing a close relationship with teachers as a partner in education, seen here with her daughter's teacher, Miss Verina Margaretha.
Mrs Khan also feels that it is important for parents not to underestimate the value of playing a part in their child's development as these opportunities to share life lessons with them deserve to be cherished.
4. Establish a close relationship with teachers
Mrs Khan shared that enrolling her daughter in ECPS was a remarkable experience. The dedication and care from the teachers enabled her to be comfortable with approaching them whenever she had questions. She recounted her personal experience of how her daughter's form teacher, Miss Verina Margaretha, once went the extra mile.
'My daughter was waiting for me in school after one of her after-school programmes, but there was some miscommunication and I did not make it to the school on time to pick her up. I was so grateful that Miss Verina made efforts to contact both my husband and myself. However, we did not manage to answer her calls and Miss Verina sent my daughter right to our door step,' said Mrs Khan.
Miss Verina shared that 'Sending Mrs Khan's daughter home was the right thing to do as I was unable to contact her parents at that time. It is definitely gratifying that Mrs Khan recognised and appreciated what I did,' said Miss Verina.
'My daughter's transformation from a shy girl to a confident and independent individual has to be the best testimony about the school's initiatives. She has taken more interest in reading and always looks forward to going to school,' said Mrs Khan.
This article is reproduced with permission from Ministry of Education, Singapore. Go to Schoolbag.sg for more education news and features.