American author Leo Buscaglia once said, “Change is the end result of all true learning,” and he couldn’t have been further from the truth. Changing circumstances is the one constant fact of life. As we adapt and evolve along with the changes, we get to learn about ourselves, our friends and the community as well. But for children, a change in situation can be difficult to adjust to. They rely on routine and feel safe when they know what’s coming next. So, when you have to change your child’s school, it can be especially difficult for him, as he will have to adapt to a new environment, friends and teachers.
Students change schools for different reasons. Some of them are:
- When either parent gets transferred
- When the current school does not provide facilities for higher education
- When the school environment is not conducive to a child’s learning
- When a child is being bullied at school
- When the school is unable to meet the child’s special needs
Whatever your reasons are for changing your child’s school, there are certain points you need to consider before taking that decision.
Points to consider before changing schools
- Your reasons: One of the top reasons why parents change their child’s school is because they feel that their child is being bullied. Bullying in school can happen in various ways. The more aggressive form is when your child feels threatened at every step; the lesser variation, which is equally devastating, is when he feels like an outcast. The best solution to dealing with bullying is to first talk to his class teacher, and if required, further escalate the matter to the principal or the management of the school. If he is happy with his teachers and the school facilities, changing schools might not be the best solution. He may encounter bullies later in life as well. The aim is to teach him how to stand up to bullies, rather than run away from them.
- Your budget: Every parent wants top-of-the-line education for their child. But a costly education does not always translate into a good one. A school that inspires your child to be curious, explores her talents and teaches her new skills is a good school.
- The quality of education: Every child is unique and not everyone can adapt to a standardised system of education. If your child has special needs, you need to be more aware of how the current system of education is helping him thrive. The educational philosophies of a school, and its practices, have to align with your parenting beliefs and your child’s personality. Some children thrive in a competitive set-up while others tend to go into a shell. Depending on his needs, decide on the kind of school that is best suited for him.
- The right fit: Just because a school has a good brand name, does not mean that it is the best fit for your child. Based on her needs and your parental beliefs, choose a school that will not only help her thrive but make her a well-rounded individual.
- The location of the school: You don’t want your child to be spending most of his energy and time in commuting to and from school. Keep the distance of the school from home in mind, while choosing a school.
- Facilities available at the new school: Visit the new school campus more than once while making your decision. You need to see the facilities provided, and the safety and hygiene measures maintained, by the school. You might also find opportunities to talk to teachers who might be able to give you a better perspective about the school.
- Qualifications of the staff: A good education depends entirely on the person providing it. Many schools introduce new and innovative methods of study to be on par with international standards of education but do not have the requisite qualified staff. Be aware of your child’s teacher’s qualification and experience. Ask the school for the information you need and take a call based on that.
- Student-to-teacher ratio: According to The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) for primary should be 30:1 and for upper primary level, it should be 35:1. The reason for such stipulations is to ensure the quality of education for your child. If you feel that she may get lost in the crowd and not have enough opportunities to develop as an individual, you need to rethink your decisions about the school.
- Parental references: What better way to know about a school than by talking to parents whose children already go to one you have chosen for your child. Ask the principal or the dean for references and address your concerns.
- Your child’s emotions: Next to home, school is the most important place for a child. This is where he learns new skills, makes friends and finds a place for himself in what he thinks of as his ‘second home.’ While the decision to change your child’s school is ultimately yours, it’s important to talk to him about it. Ask him how he feels about his current school and whether he likes hanging out with his friends there. Start a dialogue to see how easy or difficult it would be for him to start anew.
After thinking about all the above points, decide on a school that meets your and your child’s expectations. However, remember not to analyse too much. The school should meet your basic requirements and be a safe haven for your child. Look at the bigger picture and focus on helping her become a happy and a well-rounded person. When talking to your child about changing schools, keep the following points in mind:
- Listen to her perspective and apprehensions
- Encourage him to build a positive outlook
- Tell her about the possibility of making more friends
- Familiarise him with the various facilities available at the new school
Soon enough, you will see that not only has your child adapted to the new school but also looks forward to going there every day. To adapt is human nature, but to lead the change is the responsibility of the parent.
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