Working together to help children learn and grow in a complex world
Sep. 10, 2021
Starting the school search for your young child
By Caroline Walker, Director of Admissions
One of the things I enjoy the most about school admissions is helping parents of young children who are planning ahead (sometimes far ahead) for the start of their children’s school journey.
These parents realize that even though kindergarten may be years away, it’s to their benefit to start the school search process early. With so many school choices in Greensboro, taking their time allows them to make the best and most informed choice for their child and family.
If you’re one of these families -- or you’d like to be one -- here are six tips for how to start the school search for your young child.
- Think about your values and what you want to be part of your children’s daily lives as they grow up. The hours that students spend in school are tremendously influential in developing their worldview, so spend some time reflecting on which of your values you’d like to see reflected. Do you want your child’s school to prioritize whole-child elements such as spirituality, service learning, or a global worldview, or do you prefer for them to stick to academics only?
- Talk to your friends and neighbors with older children, or even those on the same school timeline as you. While we each bring our own unique desires and perspectives to the school search, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Start building your list of schools to consider by picking the brains of others you trust.
- You have the luxury of time, so take advantage of opportunities to check out as many schools as you can, and in a variety of formats. For instance, casual open houses, guided tours, and school fairs all offer different perspectives on a school. This also gives school staff a chance to get to know you and your child so they can tailor the admissions process to your family’s unique interests.
- Consider when you want to start. While there are many excellent preschools that provide great kindergarten preparation, many independent schools also have preschool programs that prepare your child especially well for entry into their kindergarten and the years ahead. This also adds the benefit of a smooth transition to kindergarten in a familiar place where your child is already known and loved.
- Get to know the community and meet other families who choose to go to a school. Admissions offices are happy to connect you with current families who can answer your questions from a parent perspective. This is a chance to go back to your network of friends and neighbors, as well, as they also may be able to connect you with parents at the schools that have piqued your interest.
- Explore financial opportunities. The idea of paying tuition at an independent school can seem daunting, but starting early gives you an advantage when requesting financial support. Plus, getting to know a school well over time helps you better appreciate the value of the tuition you’ll pay.
I wish you the best of luck as you begin this important journey for your child and family. Please reach out if I can be of any assistance along the way, or if you’d like to learn more about Canterbury School.
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