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What should I look for when choosing my child's school?

School rankings are often based on the standardized test scores of the student body. While this is one good way to compare schools, I don’t believe you should select a school solely by these scores. Some other factors to consider are:

  • What is the total enrollment of the school? What is the teacher to student ratio? Will my child get the special attention he or she needs?
  • What is the tuition? Are there scholarships available?
  • Does the school have the resources to serve my child’s specific academic needs, such as enrichment or special education programs, resources rooms, or after-school tutoring?
  • Does the school implement arts programs? Drawing? Music? Drama?
  • Does the school have a physical education program?
  • How healthy and well-balanced is the school lunch program?
  • Does the school have an active parent and teacher organization?
  • Are there other enrollment requirements, such as an interview process?
  • Does the school provide transportation? Is the location convenient?
  • How safe and secure is the school?

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

More About this Book

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

When kids start going on TV binges or devouring fistfuls of cookies, it's easy to say, "They'll grow out of it." More likely, they're acquiring bad habits that could lead to childhood obesity and...
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
First and foremost, visit the school and see if you can imagine your child fitting right in. Look around. What's on the walls? If it's "No This" and "Don't Do That," it may be a stifling place for your child's brain. If you see evidence of creativity at play, it may be a great place for your child's brain. Are there just girl toys or boy toys? Is there a focus on right-brain activities (puzzles, spatial toys) as well as on left-brain activities (words, books, writing)? Do the teachers look grumpy? What about the other parents at drop-off and pickup? Do you see families that appeal to you, with children who might appeal to your child? We're talking future playdates and playmates here.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

More About this Book

YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.