When visiting schools, bring a list of questions. Take notes. Soak up the environment.
- How does the curriculum prepare children to meet the state standards?
- Does the curriculum provide opportunities for children to explore topics in detail, and in multiple ways?
- Does the curriculum take into account the various learning styles, cultures, disabilities and languages of the children and their families?
- Is the program based on age-appropriate learning objectives?
- Do the program’s stated goals match your own goals for your child?
- Are the classrooms bright, cheery and inviting?
- Is each classroom equipped with age appropriate materials?
- Are Enrichment Programs included (i.e. Spanish, Music, Mandarin Chinese, Computer Lab, etc.)
- Are classrooms conducted in a calm and orderly manner?
- Do children seem happy, focused and engaged in their work?
- Do you feel welcome?
- Does the school have a uniform?
- Is the school clean and well maintained?
- Do classrooms/bathrooms/hallways smell clean?
- Is classroom furniture (i.e. tables/chairs/shelves) in good condition?
- Are play areas properly equipped and maintained regularly?
- Is the heating/cooling comfortable throughout the facility?
- Are kitchen/food prep areas tidy and orderly?
- Does the facility generally look like its being maintained both inside and out?
- Is the school designed with the safety, security and growth of your child in mind?
- Is there an indoor gymnasium (for days when weather is severe, i.e. too hot or too cold)
- Is there a Library with enough learning material?
- Is there a Music Room with appropriate instruments (piano, bells, etc.)
- Are there enough computers equipped with learning software for each age group?
- How will your child get to and from school?
- Is there a safe route to walk or cycle, or is someone available to pick them up?
- Will your child need to be supervised before and/or after school?
Teachers -Things to look for:
- Are you introduced to teachers on your tour?
- Are the teachers warm and caring with the children?
- Do teachers have one-on-one conversations with children?
- Do teachers work with children individually and in small groups of three or four?
- When the children are outside, are the teachers engaged and encouraging the children’s play?
Parents -Questions to ask:
- Are parents welcome to drop in without making an appointment?
- Does the teacher have face-to-face or phone contact with parent(s) or provide regular e-mail or written reports at least twice a month?
- Are there suggested involvement activities for parents?
- Are there daily and/or weekly progress reports sent to parents?