5 Important Traits to Look for in Your Child’s School

5 Unexpected Traits to Look for in Your Child's Next School

Choosing a school for your child is a pivotal decision, often shrouded in anxieties and hopes. Of course, we yearn for academic excellence, but what else truly matters? In the quest for the “perfect” school, the focus on grades and rankings can overshadow essential, less obvious qualities that can shape your child’s entire learning experience.

So, beyond the shiny brochures and impressive test scores, here are 5 important traits to prioritize when searching for your child’s next school:

 

5 important things to look out for in your child's school Image

1. Start with Curiosity, Not Competition:

Choosing a school shouldn’t be solely about grades and rankings. Instead, it’s about finding a place that ignites your child’s unique potential. So, move beyond shiny brochures and impressive test scores. Look for environments that spark questions, encourage exploration, and nurture a love for learning beyond textbooks. Seek classrooms buzzing with hands-on activities, libraries that entice browsing, and a curriculum that welcomes diverse learning styles. Remember, a curious child is an engaged child, and that curiosity fuels lifelong learning.

2. Weave Empathy into the Fabric of School:

Imagine a school where kindness isn’t just taught, it’s lived. Look for programs that build social-emotional intelligence, where students navigate conflict constructively, practice empathy actively, and celebrate differences with joy. Does the school encourage community service? Do teachers prioritize emotional well-being alongside academics? These “soft” skills are the cornerstones of ethical citizens and future leaders.

3. Build an Innovation Playground, Not a Stagnant Classroom:

Forget about rows of desks facing a chalkboard! Instead, seek a school that champions creativity and problem-solving. Do they have maker spaces where kids can tinker and invent? Do students collaborate on projects that go beyond memorization and regurgitation, where critical thinking and adaptability flourish? In a world that’s constantly changing, schools that prioritize innovation equip children with the skills to thrive.

4. Unleash Individuality, Ditch the Cookie-Cutter Mold:

Each child is unique, and their education should reflect that. Look for a school that recognizes and celebrates individual talents and strengths. Seek opportunities for personalized learning, mentorship programs, and diverse extracurricular activities. Remember, a school that supports individuality empowers children to find their voices and chart their own paths.

5. Connect to the World, Break Down Classroom Walls:

The classroom walls shouldn’t limit the learning experience. Therefore, look for a school that embraces diversity and global awareness. Do they offer language programs, cultural celebrations, or international exchange opportunities? Schools that connect children to the world foster open-mindedness, tolerance, and a sense of global citizenship – essential skills for navigating our interconnected world.

Finding the Perfect Fit, Not the Perfect Prestige:

The right school isn’t about bragging rights; it’s about finding the perfect fit for your unique child. Open your eyes to the less obvious qualities, listen to your instincts, and trust that you’ll find the school where your child’s curiosity can bloom, their empathy can flourish, and their individuality can shine. After all, choosing a school is about choosing a path for your child, and the right path will lead them not just to academic success, but to a life filled with passion, purpose, and endless possibilities.

Dare we say, Pershing Hills Elementary embodies these 5 traits and more? We invite you to visit us for a tour and see for yourself.

References

Start with Curiosity, Not Competition:

  • Research: The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University emphasizes the importance of curiosity in early childhood development and its link to lifelong learning. You can find their research brief on “The Power of Curiosity” here: https://developingchild.harvard.edu/
  • Quote: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein
  • Success Story: Read about Ronit Bisani, a young inventor who sparked her curiosity in school science labs and is now developing innovative healthcare solutions.

Weave Empathy into the Fabric of School:

  • Research: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) highlights the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills for academic success and future well-being. Visit their website to learn more about the CASEL framework: https://casel.org/
  • Quote: “The ability to be in the shoes of others is probably the most important human ability because it allows us to have a kind and loving heart.” – Daniel Goleman
  • Success Story: Watch how Parkdale Elementary School in Toronto transformed its culture by prioritizing empathy and student well-being, leading to improved academic performance and overall student happiness.

Build an Innovation Playground, Not a Stagnant Classroom:

  • Research: The World Economic Forum identifies critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity as essential skills for the future workforce in a rapidly changing world. Read their report on “The Future of Jobs” here: https://www.weforum.org/publications/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020/
  • Quote: “Invention is about imagination, making something from nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw
  • Success Story: Check out the Fab Lab network, a global community of maker spaces where students of all ages learn to tinker, invent, and solve real-world problems.

Unleash Individuality, Ditch the Cookie-Cutter Mold:

  • Research: The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) advocates for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which encourages personalized learning approaches to cater to diverse student needs and talents. Learn more about UDL principles on the CAST website: https://udlguidelines.cast.org/more/downloads
  • Quote: “The highest result of education is tolerance.” – Helen Keller
  • Success Story: Read about Rocketship Education, a network of schools focused on personalized learning and student agency, leading to remarkable academic achievements and student fulfilment.

Connect to the World, Break Down Classroom Walls:

  • Research: The OECD PISA framework emphasizes global competence as a key skill for navigating an interconnected world and solving global challenges. Explore their website for more information: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/
  • Quote: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
  • Success Story: Explore the School Without Walls movement, where learning extends beyond classrooms and embraces community partnerships and global experiences.

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