Finding the right school

Sending your child to school for the first time is such an important moment in your life as a mother. You filled with emotions but proud that your child has reached this exciting milestone. I thought I found the perfect play school for my daughter until they decided to close down 3 days before opening. I had no backup plan!

I’m so angry and disappointed! We paid for this school last year and all of a sudden they have issues. It makes me question the ethics and professionalism of some schools.

This was the perfect school for me, it had everything I wanted for my child and at a reasonable price.

Since last week thursday, I’ve been researching. Checking on the internet for suggestions, chatting to friends and visiting schools in the area to find one that can accommodate my child last-minute.

I’m a confused and frustrated mother at the moment.

We want the best for our kids. But sometimes trying to find the best can overwhelm you.

It’s not a big deal to put Kitana in school right now because she’s only 2 and a half but I really want her to go so she can interact with other kids and learn. It also gives me some time to work while she’s in school.

I always thought picking a school would be easy but I was so wrong. Here I am sitting and looking at a ton of forms from different schools thinking which one should I pick?!

This is such an important phase for my child and I don’t want to mess it up. How do I compare schools that are so different but so much alike? Is that even possible?

I’ve learnt so much from this experience and it definitely taught me a lesson that I will use in the future.

tips for finding the right school in South Africa

  1. Start looking at schools at least 24 months before your child needs to attend. (Some schools get booked years in advance).
  2. Visit schools in the area and chat to friends who have kids in the school if possible.
  3. Have a backup plan. If school A doesn’t work out, you need at least 2 more options.
  4. Think about your budget and what fits your price range.
  5. What does the school offer for the price? Do they have after school activities?
  6. How good is security in the school? What’s the process of dropping and fetching your child?
  7. Take your toddler to the school you interested in and leave them for at least 2 hours a day before they actually start so they can get used to the environment and people.
  8. Check for positive and/or nurturing relationships between teachers and children. What is your instinct about the teacher?
  9. Find out about their daily routine and the type of meals provided.
  10. Think about the distance of traveling every day. Will you be sitting in traffic? Paste the address into google maps and look for different route options.

I wish I could start all over again. Now I have to make a quick decision because it’s almost the end of the month and school has already started. I’m hoping Kitana likes the school we chose and I’m hoping this one works out.

Moms, you need to be the smarty pants and question from day 1. Don’t be fooled.

Do you have any advice and tips for me?

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28 Comments

  1. 2015-01-20 / 12:34

    So sorry that happened to you! 🙁 Sort of seems like you dodged a bullet, if their lack of professionalism is any indication. Hope your daughter enjoys the school you chose for her now! 🙂

  2. 2015-01-20 / 14:52

    I remember when I had to put my son in a daycare/academy for the first time. He stayed there from 3 till 2nd grade then the school shut down with economy crisis. We attempted public school, but the curriculum was so far behind my kids level and there were 20+ kids in the room. The teacher was frustrated daily and the kids picked up on that…so now we homeschool and my 8th grader is also doubled as a freshman in college. He’s on track to graduate college and high school at the same time. So, my best tip would be to do what works best for your child 🙂

  3. 2015-01-20 / 16:13

    When my kids went to preschool, we interviewed a few, but ended up going with the school that had the most personal recommendations. What better way to find a place than friends who love it, right?

  4. 2015-01-20 / 18:19

    This is so true. I’m currently in the process of finding a school for my two boys, and it’s a little bit of a nightmare. There is SO MUCH to consider, it’s almost too much for my noodle.

  5. NPC
    2015-01-20 / 19:14

    This is great advice. I had both of my girls at home with me until they started JK or Pre-K. They did just fine but, going before is great for socialization.

  6. 2015-01-20 / 23:30

    Great tips! We were lucky enough to already know of a great school for our kids, but you definitely cover the big questions.

  7. 2015-01-20 / 23:40

    i love your tips and they do hold true. I was in a similar situation and had to ride it out a bit. I didn’t want to yank baby out of school to put her in a more difficult situation. Good luck. I hope Kitana loves her new school!

  8. 2015-01-21 / 00:19

    These are really great tips. My youngest will be at home with me until she’s in Kindergarten, I think.

  9. 2015-01-21 / 00:32

    My daughter is going through this right now. She has visited three or four so far (her son will be three in March). She’s having a really difficult time deciding between them.

  10. 2015-01-21 / 02:00

    I am so thankful that we didn’t have to worry about wait lists for our daughter’s school. They had to be tested and they don’t admit everybody, but we got very lucky.

  11. 2015-01-21 / 02:21

    Gosh this reminds me. We tested out so many different preschools for my youngest. Finally we found one, but he was upset because it didn’t have a playdoh table.

  12. nicolewhitfield5
    2015-01-21 / 02:23

    This is soooo important! My kiddo has special needs but I want him in an inclusion classroom so he is mixed in with special needs and NT children there are few in the area that offer it

  13. 2015-01-21 / 03:56

    These are such great tips! I don’t have any kids (still in college) so I don’t have to worry about this yet but in the near future I probably will! I will for sure keep this post nearby when I have to start making those decisions! Thanks!

  14. 2015-01-21 / 04:43

    It is so hard to find the right school and we struggled with this with our son. With his autism, it made things really hard.

  15. 2015-01-21 / 06:05

    We live in a small town so its pretty easy to pick the good school to send my daughter to next fall…. I couldn’t imagine how tuff it would be for people in bigger areas… So many options…

  16. 2015-01-21 / 07:48

    It’s really hard trying to find a school you feel will be a great environment for your child, I did a ton of research before I decided!

  17. 2015-01-21 / 15:53

    It is indeed essential to decide properly and select the right school for your kid because the school is after all the one who will mold the character and the foundation of education of your kid. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  18. 2015-01-21 / 18:46

    Great tips! I’m going to review this when I have another little bundle of joy. It was a little difficult to find a great school for my children because we were limited to boundaries at that time. I will be using these tips for the future.

  19. 2015-01-21 / 23:04

    These are all great tips. I live in a rural area so there really isn’t a whole lot to choose from. It’s either close to home, or pick something on the way to work.

  20. 2015-01-22 / 00:43

    These are some really great tips for finding the right school. I love where we live and the schools here are great. But this is a great list of items to do for everyone.

  21. Eliz Frank
    2015-01-22 / 01:20

    What a drag that the school you picked closed down. Did they refund your money? I guess another thing to do is to find out about the school’s financial health. Hope you find a great 2nd option. 🙂

  22. 2015-01-22 / 04:48

    I haven’t got any children at the moment but thanks for sharing some great tips for those who do!

  23. 2015-01-22 / 05:33

    These are really great tips. A child needs to be in the proper place for them so that they can thrive. Each child is different and may do well in different environments.

  24. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    2015-01-22 / 11:26

    Thank you for sharing these tips. My son is only just 2 but we have to get his name down for a school already.

  25. 2015-01-22 / 14:41

    These are great tips for picking a school for your child/ children. I love the this part of number 8, “What is your instinct about the teacher?”. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Sarah @ Must Have Mom
    2015-01-26 / 08:21

    Great advice. Such an important decision!

  27. 2015-01-26 / 16:48

    It is such an important decision. Sounds like you’ve done your research 🙂

    We are doing some at school right now, and some are being homeschooling. Best decision for our family ever 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! Found you on Google Plus.

    Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough

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