When our eldest daughter started school, I dreaded it. It wasn’t even full-time education, just her pre-school nursery placement that meant she was out of my care for fifteen hours during the week. They were 15 hours that I’d never had to leave her before though and not only that, I would be leaving her with someone I knew very little about. As a parent, I don’t think it’s easy to hand your child over at any point never mind to a stranger, but as far as school is concerned it’s the standard thing to do.

As it happened, we were lucky and found a school that both Hubs and I were comfortable with. It wasn’t an easy task though and I know it caused both of us a headache or two. Maybe we over thought it, but in our house education is paramount. However, it has to be an education in the right environment that supports both parent and child to the nth degree.

Here’s how to find the right school for your children;

Do your research – 

The first step to finding the right school for you and your children is to research all of the school in your local area. Education may seem pretty standard, but you’d be surprised how different schools can be. They all offer a different approach to education, some you will agree with and some you won’t. Find out what kind of school interests you most, that way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where you’d like to visit.

Look around as many schools as you have time to visit – 

Once you have a list of all of the schools you are interested in, make time to visit as many as you can. If I were you, I’d visit them all. You’ll never get a full picture of a school unless you wander around when the kids are in their lessons. You get to see how the teachers work, what kind of interventions are used and how well the kids respond in their learning environment.

Talk to every member of staff – 

Talking to every staff member can help you gain a better understanding of what they offer as a school. You’ll get a good idea of their level of knowledge and you’ll be able to make a judgement on their enthusiasm for the job. You’ll never get someone who is completely on the ball all of the time, but you’ll get an insight into their teaching style and whether you like it or not.

Look round the whole school, not just the nursery area – 

Once your child is settled into nursery, it’s probably safe to assume they’ll be in that school for a while as they go through the year groups. For this reason, it’s good to check out the whole school, not just the pre-school area, before to make a decision. If the upper school isn’t right for you as a family, you’ll know you need to look elsewhere.

Trust your instinct –

There’s nothing more reliable than parental instinct when it comes to making important life decisions for your family. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You’ll know if you need to move on to the next school.

Let them go – 

As hard as it may seem, once you have found the right place, it’s time to let them go. You’ll probably cry and feel like you’ve lost a huge part of you for a while, but school is an amazing developmental stage. Your kids will come home with snippets from their day that will make your heart happy!