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Choosing schools and type of education questions

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#1 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:07 AM

Not sure how to really word these questions but here goes!

My DS is only 16 months old but I've started looking into schools for him as we need to decide whether to stay or move and where to go in the next few years etc.

I was thinking of enrolling DS into a Montessori primary school and then sending him to the local public school (if it's still good by then).

DH thinks this is a waste of time as if we're going to fork out tens of thousands of dollars each year we should do it while DS is in high school as that is when he'll get the most out of it.

DH did terribly at school, very bright, but got bored and distracted. He went to one of the best public schools in WA, but it just wasnt right for him. I do wonder if the lack of encouragement from home contributed to this as well. I can't even remember back to school to recall whether my experience was good or bad education wise.

I am really confused. So my questions are:

1. How do you know what kind of education will suit your child? Do you just wait and see and then change them later on?
2. How do you know if the schools in your area are good?
3.  How did you choose your child's school?
4. Is primary education as important as secondary education? (I would have thought yes, but DH thinks aside from learning to read and write, no).

TIA original.gif

Edited by Sunnycat, 24 February 2013 - 12:12 AM.

#2 NotBitzerMaloney

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

You don't know what your child is going to be like, so you do need to start somewhere and see how it goes - or work it out when they are a preschooler.

How do you know which are good?  Find current parents and ask them. Ask neighbourhood shopkeepers, check out the schoolls directly, etc. You could look at NAPLAN results over time for the same cohort, but meh...

We chose a school based on it meeting our requirements (K-12, sporty, good academics but not selective and big on art&drama) and then chose the closest of the schools on the short list.

I think primary education is extremely important, but I know that isn't a commonly held view.

Most important preparation for school is for you to be prepared to have people tell you your choices are wrong. The things people have said to me about my choice for DS' school astound me.

#3 Etcetera

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

I think primary school is very important as it sets up (or should set up) a love of learning. Getting those basics down is so important and unless that happens, further schooling is going to be harder.

I think it's way too early to know what your child is going to need. I love the idea of Montessori, our preschool was very much in that vein and I thought it was brilliant. It didn't suit my eldest at all, though DS2 thrived.

Choosing a school was tough as we haven't long been in the area and its a different state so the system is different to what DH and I grew up knowing. We visited some schools and were very upfront about DS and his needs (he has ASD) and chose schools based on their attitude, resources etc. I had envisaged them going to the school down the road that we could walk to but we bypass two others to get to ours 10minutes drive away.

#4 LynnyP

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

I agree entirely that you talk to people whose children got to the schools, talk to pre school teachers about your child's preferences for learning when the time comes, tour the schools, watch the kids going to and from, read the websites and newsletters.

I also agree that primary is as important as secondary.

#5 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

Thanks for the responses original.gif

I'm going to sign DS up to a Montessori play group and see if that suits him. At the moment I have concerns that he's behind for his age, although other parents tell me that he is normal, so I really want to get him on the right track ASAP.

I have no idea about the schools around here, there is one affordable private school and then the normal public schools. We don't live in a posh area but I don't think we live in a terrible area either.

#6 JBH

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

When looking at primary options I spoke to a few high school teachers (public and private), who were able to give me some insight about their experience of students coming from different primary schools. I also spoke to parents of students at a few schools. We ended up buying a house in the catchment zone of our favoured public school. DS1 started this year.

#7 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:59 PM

Madame Protart, will your children go to a Montessori high school as well?

#8 jm3

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

1. How do you know what kind of education will suit your child? Do you just wait and see and then change them later on?

I think it's impossible to tell.  In my experience you either have a strong opinion about where your child should go or you don't.  I would, and have, changed schools after a few years when I didn't think it was suiting my DD.

2. How do you know if the schools in your area are good?

Ask around locally.  Go on a tour and get a feel for the place.  Ultimately, no matter which school you choose, it's going to be a new experience and one that you might be happy with or regret.  It's so hard to know.

3. How did you choose your child's school?

We wanted a catholic education because we felt that was 'better' than public but not as expensive as private.  After four years she was moved to a public school which had far smaller class sizes and more resources for a cheaper fee.  Second child will go where the first one is now but we would look at a private school with a good reputation if she gets a letter of offer.

4. Is primary education as important as secondary education? (I would have thought yes, but DH thinks aside from learning to read and write, no).

I actually think primary is more important.  If you get to high school and you can't read, write, think mathematically and creatively then it won't matter which school you're at you'll likely always be behind.  I think go for the best school you can afford which offers the smallest class sizes you can find!

#9 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

Thanks everyone and MP. original.gif

I was looking at the site that has the NAPLAN scores and all the schools locally except the Montessori school, have done terribly. I'm not sure if this is a good indicator though.

#10 SeaPrincess

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

1. How do you know what kind of education will suit your child? Do you just wait and see and then change them later on? You don't, so you do what you think is right and be prepared to react if it doesn't work out (bearing in mind that you also don't want to change schools every time something goes a bit wrong).

2. How do you know if the schools in your area are good? Research the types of school that are around you. Asking around is OK, but in our suburb there's a Catholic primary school and a govt primary school. The private school parents look down on the public school parents, so if you asked them, you'd get bad reviews of the public even though they've never had their children there.  I don't think Naplan results are particularly helpful on their own - they don't tell you anything about the background or population of the school, for example we used to live in a mining town and there was a very high student turnover rate in the school, so the results don't necessarily reflect what is happening in the school.

3.  How did you choose your child's school? We're in WA and moved back to Perth from the country last year.  When I was researching primary schools, I decided I wanted an independent public school. Around us, many of the schools are independent, but ultimately we chose this one because they were the only one that would guarantee me a spot in kindy in the middle of 2nd term for my little one.  We have rented a house in the area.

4. Is primary education as important as secondary education? Primary school sets you up for high school, so yes, it is very important. We have kept our options open for high school - the children are all on the lists for private schools, but our local high school is OK, and we have 2 other very good govt high schools nearby, so we could potentially move into their catchment zones before our children reach high school.

#11 Dionysus

Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

I am a HS teacher.

I think primary school education is just as important as secondary, so would be doing a lot of research into the right primary school.

Thankfully, in my city, we are spoilt for choice a little for good (state), non-zoned primary schools - particularlly in the area in which I live/work

#12 Canberra Chick

Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

I just sent DS to the local school. We had a choice of two based on catchment and I chose the one with a nut ban, that he could walk to without crossing roads and that seemed to have a friendly 'vibe' with buddy systems and not a lot of segregation or hierarchy between junior and senior primary.
It has a strong music emphasis and as someone who grew up with not much arts or creative stuff and only academic reading I really wanted my children to develop all areas of their brain, and music seemed a very direct way of doing that.

He loves it, there are minor irritations (mostly due to me overanalysing stuff) and he is flourishing in all areas, not just the academic side, and he just started a weekend GAT extension club that the school recommended him for.

Early on I was a little concerned mostly because modern teaching doesn't suit his personality. He would have thrived early on in the old system of rote learning times tables, working alone or in a max of pairs, singe desks and quiet etc. but we figured he will need to cope with noise and group work as he gets older, so he's had to tough it out in the past three years and thankfully he is now there.

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