He's years away from starting school, but in her latest My Tiny Human parenting blog, Natalie Moutafis is already pondering which school will be right for her son.
I – rather ‘we’, as of course my husband does, too – want the best for our son. All parents do. So one of the regular topics of conversation in our home is what school/s we want him to attend.
He’s not even two yet, but it seems we might already be late to the party in making our decision. Some children in my social circles were placed on enrolment waiting lists for some Independent and Catholic schools by their parents when they were only a few months old. Even childcare options were cut-throat, with some of the sought after centres allowing wait list enrolments prior to birth.
For schooling, the plan was to tour the local primary schools (across all sectors) when he turned four to get a feel for them and decide what we thought would be the best fit. I also would like the kindergarten program we choose for him to be a feeder to his primary school. I really like the idea that he’ll have the opportunity to form friendships in kindergarten that he can take through to prep to help make the transition to ‘big school’ that little bit easier.
From there, we thought we’d wait and see how his academic and extra-curricular interests developed and use this as a starting point to help choose the right high school for him.
What if he likes music, drama or footy for example? Which school will encourage and nurture his individual interests and personality while still meeting all his academic needs?
After discussing this further at home and doing more research (I’m lucky that I have access to the brilliant and experienced minds of many education professionals in my workplace) I’m now beginning to wonder if we need to be a little more proactive in our decision-making process, and at least consider putting his name on the enrolment waiting list for a few high schools.
But how do you choose the right school when you don’t know where your child’s interests and capabilities will lie in the next four to eight years? We also might not be living near the school/s we prefer. That means we might need to consider a relocation if we want to be in the catchment area for a particular government school, or we would need to consider the impact of travel to/from a non-government school on not just our son, but ourselves (and how we would manage that with family and work commitments).
I don’t think we really have the solution just yet but we will most likely place his name on some enrolment lists just in case. What we do know is that we don’t need to choose what might be perceived as the ‘best’ school, but rather, the ‘right’ school. Ultimately, we want him to have an enjoyable education that will allow him to thrive and learn whilst still exploring the extra-curricular activities that he ends up enjoying.
Natalie Moutafis is Executive Projects Manager at ISV, mother of an almost two-year-old, and our My Tiny Human parenting blogger.
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