If you’re the parent of a school-aged child in Singapore, one of the weightiest decisions you’ll have to make soon is where they should go to school. Singapore constantly tops the global rankings for international education, and it is home to a number of excellent public and private schools. But some educational pedagogies may be better for your child than others, which is why it’s necessary to think carefully about where you will enroll them.
How should you go about selecting the right school for your child and preventing a difficult adjustment on their part? To answer that question, here’s a list of six pitfalls that parents should avoid.
Starting with a Very Small Pool of Choices
One mistake that parents often make is having a very small pool of choices for where to send their child to school. These choices may be based on friends’ recommendations or compiled after one short search on the internet. However, if you’re in the position to make such an important decision for your child, you should have a lot of viable options.
As you compile a bigger list based on factors like academic reputation and curricula, you can also take the opportunity to get to know Singapore’s education sector better. While researching, you’ll discover the many options that make Singapore’s education community a rich and varied one—and you can get excited about having a wealth of quality choices for your child.
Correlating Famous Name Brands with a Quality Educational Experience
Some parents base their selection process on which schools have high brand recognition or “star power” within their communities. But while these schools may have earned their accolades and popularity, they certainly aren’t the only good options for your child.
By choosing only the most famous schools, you may be limiting your idea of where your child could reach their full potential. There may be another school in the country that isn’t as prominent in name, but can offer a more hands-on and innovative educational program. You definitely wouldn’t know that if you limited your selection to popular schools alone. As such, be open-minded and check out programs from not-so-well-known and up-and-coming educational institutions as well.
Not Learning about the School’s Unique Philosophy for Education
Speaking of educational programs, they are a crucial part of your child’s success and happiness in their school life. Each school will have their own philosophy for education and will emphasize certain educational values over others. A school like Stamford American International School Singapore, for example, upholds independence, self-directed learning, 21st century learning competencies befitting Singapore schools, and strong parent-and-teacher support networks.
While choosing a school for your child, be sure to learn about what makes each educational institution unique and what kind of learning experiences they can provide. Avoid the pitfall of thinking that all educational programs will be the same.
Not Aligning Your Child’s Specific Needs with Their School’s Education Program
Another factor that you should take into consideration is your child’s specific learning needs. You can base this on previous school experiences that your child seemed to thrive in. Did they enjoy being in schools with small class sizes? Did they do well in schools that took on a multiple intelligence approach as opposed to one that only celebrated achievements in certain academic subjects? Does your child desire a busy extracurricular life and want to go to a school with lots of afterschool activity options?
If you don’t choose a school that aligns with these needs, there’s a chance that your child will have a hard time transitioning, or they could even end up being miserable during their time in the school. That said, think deeply about what kind of education would bolster your child’s individual strengths and personal interests. The best educational program will use these as a foundation for your child’s growth.
Putting School Fees Off Until the Very Last Minute
One reality that all parents have to contend with is that it is often expensive to send a child to school. Ultimately, the parent’s choice has to be grounded in a realistic outlook for paying tuition, transportation fees, and other related fees. Parents who put off money matters until the very last minute, or who resolve only to cross the bridge when they get there, will have a hard time supporting their child’s school life.
Thus it’s good for you to take factors like your budget and your location relative to the school into consideration. Choose a school that’s within your price range, or see if your child is eligible for a scholarship program. In addition, consider enrolling your child at a school that’s not too far away from where you live. Not only will this make transportation fees more manageable; it will also make it easier for you to travel to the school and be with your child in case an emergency happens on campus.
Ignoring Your Gut Feeling
You may not know it, but your gut feeling may also be extremely helpful in choosing the right school for your child. Some parents who had inklings about a school not being the right one—but who chose to enroll their child anyway—came to regret their decision and had to start the search all over again.
If you’ve got a gut feeling about one of the schools among your choices, try to see where it comes from. Say, for example, you were able to go to an ocular and observe the classroom setting in person. Did the teachers seem happy to be where they were? Were the students focused and respectful to adults and each other? If something feels “off,” it’s worth examining your feelings and going for a school you’d be more comfortable enrolling your child in. The opposite applies, too—if you visit a school environment and you can instinctively envision your child being happy and fitting in there, consider making that school a top priority among your choices.
Some Last Tips on Choosing the Right Singapore School for Your Child
If you need more information before coming to a final decision, it would be good for you to do some additional research. For one, you can look for other parents’ experiences on choosing schools and see what their “deal-makers” were. Perhaps the same factors will resonate with you.
Alternatively, you can ask for recommendations from your child’s previous school; for example, if they enjoyed their preschool program, the institution may have affiliate schools for higher learning. That could also impart your child’s educational experience with some consistency.
It may not be easy to choose a school for your child in Singapore, but the right decision will certainly bring happiness and fulfillment to your child. It will be a great reward to your family.