Conquer these essentials and you’ll be more likely to find a school that truly fits your kid and your parenting style.
1. Understand the type of school (traditional, developmental, progressive, religious, Waldorf). Many schools are a hybrid of philosophies.
2. Think about your kid’s learning style and the environment that will be best for them…can you picture your kid at the school?
3. Assess the culture of the school (who are the other parents, is it laid back or strict, etc.). Do the parents look like hippies and artists or golfers and bankers? I got this one very wrong in a big way at The Willows…the culture of that school was never the right fit for our family.
4. Geography. Can you get there and back daily. Where do the other families live?
5. Tuition cost. Private schools can cost $8000/year or $30,000/year for K. There are costs in addition to tuition (enrollment fee ($1,500) annual fund, enrichment, field trips, uniforms, hot lunch).
6. Financial aid. Try to determine whether a school has a generous financial aid budget. Look at the percent of the school’s budget allocated to financial aid…listed on the website or in the annual report. Schools with endowments are typically more likely to have robust financial aid budgets, but smaller schools can offer generous financial aid packages too.
7. Trust your intuition. The most popular schools (or the most expensive) aren’t always the BEST schools!
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