Prep schools – what you need to know before enrolling your child

Are you thinking about sending your child to a prep school? If you are, it’s important to consider your options.

You need to personally visit a lot of different schools and have conversations with administration staff and teachers. You will need to ask them many questions to help you find the necessary school for your children. Doing this will also help you select which prep school your children should attend after offers have been received.

List of questions you should know before enrolling your child in Prep school

Here we shall discuss five essential questions that you should know before you enroll your children in any prep school. We will also suggest some additional questions for you to think about.

To prepare yourself for a prep school for your child, you should have these questions and a list of sub-questions.

List of Questions

1. What is your school vision or philosophy?
It is essential to know what the school vision or philosophy is. It would help if you made sure that this is consistent with your values and beliefs. Most times, the philosophy and ideas of a school are shown in the statement of the school. It is also carried out using strategic plans.

You also need to learn how the school’s philosophy is practiced and the implementation process. You need to know the methods and how it is usually translated in learning, teaching, the student life, and general curriculum.

Critical questions you need to ask:
What are the essential elements of the philosophy of your school?
How does all of these fit with the mission statement of your school?
How are these applied in your school community and your classrooms?
A school’s mission statement gives you an excellent sense of the overall vision of the school.

2. The type of pupils you are looking for?
Different schools may be selective and take into considering prospective pupils’ emotional, social and academic profiles. If a child is put forward for a scholarships, they may also need to be highly academic in subjects like the arts, science, or maths. Apart from academic focus, they may also seek to have children who are aware socially, actively involved in the life of a student, well rounded, sporty, and independent, along with all other things. Even schools that are considered to be non-selective will also value having children who are enthusiastic and have good reports from previous schools.

Critical questions you need to ask:
What does a model student of this school look like?
Any is any academic focus here?
What sorts of goals and interests could they have apart from academics?
What idea of model students are aligned with your philosophy and vision?

3. What type of curriculum is there?
You need to make sure that your child has the best academic and learning profile for these schools. To do this, you need to get as much information as you can about the curriculum used in these schools.

It’s a good idea to ask what the curriculum and overall approach is all about. It could be teacher-focused or pupil-focused. You need to find a system that suits the learning styles and needs of your child.

Critical questions you need to ask:
How varied is your curriculum?
On what do you base your curriculum?
How often are the children able to influence what/how they learn? Are their pupil-led initiatives and activities?

Schools will also often offer taster classes where your child can see how they fit into the school environment and meet potential future peers and teachers.

4. What are the student-teacher ratios and the class sizes?
The size of the class can affect the quality of education. One of the great perks of many prep schools is that they have small class sizes, reducing the student to teacher ratios. This often leads to more personalized attention, higher pupil engagement and differentiation is easier to achieve for teachers.

Not every private school makes learning that’s differentiated a priority. The methods schools take and how they benefit from small class sizes and student to low teacher ratios may differ slightly, so make sure you take time to delve deeper into this.

Critical questions you need to ask:
What’s the class size, and what’s the student to teacher ratio for my child’s class and the class they would want to move to?
Does the school seek to incorporate differentiation into lessons to meet children’s varying levels of understanding?
Our teaching assistants available, and which type of roles do they play?

Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions. For example, you might enquire about how teachers tailor instruction to meet children’s unique learning needs with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia.

5. What are the tuition fees, and what do they include?
Prep schools have very different fee structures and it’s important to consider what is included in this. Some may incorporate lunch, trips, resources, and sports classes in their fees, while others may add this on at an extra cost.

Critical questions you need to ask:
What is the cost of tuition annually?
What do these tuition fees include, and what doesn’t it have?
Are there essentials that aren’t included in these tuition fees?
Several schools provide support financially so consider any grants or scholarships that may be available to you.

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