Andrew Harmon



Urban Suburban Magazine - Education

Urban Suburban Magazine - Education

Finding the Right School For Your Child

Searching for the school that is a good “fit” for your child is a challenging task and an adventure at the same time. It is a challenge because often parents must wrestle with their own hopes and dreams which may differ from what is the best “fit” for their child. It is an adventure because parents will be exploring options, be involved in lots of discussion and travel through an involved process of decision making.

Here are some ways to begin the odyssey.

  • Read informative materials such as school literature and independents school guidebooks.

  • Browse individual school websites.

  • Visit a range of schools—do not look at cost first—visit first.

  • Consult with your child’s current teacher.

  • Talk with admissions representatives, faculty, and students.

  • Take a school tour.

  • Accompany your child to a school sporting event, school play, or science fair to experience co-curricular options.

  • Talk to parents of children who attend the school

  • Try out their summer camp if you have lead time.

For young children, they will feel comfortable where parents feel comfortable. Envision your child in the environment. Would they like to become involved in what you see? Visualize an accurate picture of your child in the environment. If your child is an observer, look at the adult(s) to see how they notice and interact with quieter children, If your child likes to move around, is there an option to get up and move around the classroom individually or are the children organized mostly in group activities and sitting for longer periods of time? For older children, involve them in the process. Let them talk about their interests and what’s important to them. Visits are always part of the application process and get your child’s feedback. Stay calm when they’re reviewing their day. Make a grid of the positives and negatives. Remember this is ultimately a parents’ decision. An elementary child continues to feel comfortable where you do. A potential high school student may have some stronger ideas and feelings to consider and need to be “heard out” through the process unless there are certain limitations for matching your child to a school—learning style, special needs, etc.

Ask questions. Here’s a start.

  • Are there high-quality and committed teachers?

  • What is the student-to-teacher ratio? How does it work?

  • Do students feel challenged by their school?

  • Are there strong partnerships among parents, teachers, and students?

  • What is the tuition?

  • What student financial aid is available?

  • How does the school measure quality and meet high standards? Testing environment? Non-testing environment?

Use the web to help you to research. Consider the following web pages:,, and  Finally, relax. There will be a school for your child and with all things considered, you will make the best choice.

Written by Helena Grady, Headmaster



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