I remember when I was in the early days of pregnancy people started asking me about what childcare centres I had applied for. Being my first, I scoffed at the idea that even before my baby was born I had to start thinking about childcare options. It wasn’t until Winnie was 9 months old and I was looking at going back to work that I soon realised that this suggestion was actually a pretty good one, seeing that the first 3 centres I liked had waiting list of up to 2 years!?
Anyway, we ended up choosing a Family Day Care which I would have never known about if I had got a spot at the first centre I went to. It’s turned out to be the most fantastic place for Winnie to be and I thank my lucky stars we found it…..but that’s a whole nother story.
Now she’s soon to turn 4 we’ve been talking about schools for about the last year, and it’s starting to feel a bit overwhelming to say the least. What exactly makes a “good school?” Do all the good teachers always end up at private schools? What kinds of things should I be looking for when we go for tours next year? What questions should I be asking? The list goes on and on!
We have a great private school nearby, which a lot of our friends kids either already go to, or will be going to BUT it’s a Catholic school, and the enrolment process on their website states that “child is baptised Catholic whose family can demonstrate involvement in the life, worship and service of the local parish” I have absolutely no problem with this as an entry criteria for this school, but it automatically rules us out as we are not Catholic, and the thought of “pretending” to be Catholic to gain entry to this school doesn’t sit right with me at all, and actually I would assume that wouldn’t sit right with the school either, so I think naturally this is not a good option for us.
The other private schools are not within our budget so there goes those.
That leaves us with public school. Great! I went to public primary school and High School. For the most part I loved it (except for the time I tried to pick up a $2 coin that had been glued to the hall floor, and the time I wore a handmade necklace I had no idea actually looked like a dick and balls until one of the “cool boys” of year 9 pointed it out to me)
When it comes to primary school, I’m yet to be convinced that there will be any huge benefits of sending her to private school rather than public school. And for us, public school will still allow us the funds to go on a yearly overseas holiday and also for her to choose one, maybe two extra curricular activities which I personally think are excellent forms of education and teach huge lessons that cannot be learned inside a classroom.
So public school it is.
Our local school is literally 200m up the road from our house. It previously hasn’t had the best reputation, but a new principal a couple of years ago has apparently really turned it around and it’s now getting great reviews, attracting great teachers and offering great programs for it’s kids. Is this enough?
The school I love is not in our zone. This school is RAVED about. I know a few families who go there and they absolutely love it, the teachers are great, the principal is fantastic and it just has such a great vibe about it. I have been to a couple of school functions with a friend, and each time I’ve left thinking that I’d really like this to be our school.
BUT THERE’S A BIG BUT COMING!
Apparently they are taking THREE out of zone reception kids next year, and this year someone waited in line on enrolment day at 4am to get a spot? Is this a thing? Do people actually have to do this to get into an out of zone school? Is this some sort of weird school urban myth?
Do I love it this much? Yep, from what I’ve seen and heard I think I do.
But if I get in line at 4am, will it guarantee me a spot? Nope apparently not.
How is this decision even made? Who knows?
Considering we have no siblings at the school, no special needs or any special reason to be chosen to go, have we got any chance?
I’ve thought of a short list of questions that are important for us in this choice
- What facilities does the school have? Playgrounds, ovals, library, music and sports programs?
- What sort of transition into school program is in place?
- How do current students/families feel about the school? Do they love it? Like it? Hate it?
- What are the fees and are there any extra costs?
- Is there before/after school care available
- What are the class sizes?
But even after thinking of that list, if we go with public school does it even matter? If we’re choosing public school do we even have a choice?
I have at least a whole year to keep thinking about this….so I would LOVE to know how you all chose your primary schools.
Did you go private/public?
What questions did you ask?
Are you an “out of zoner” and if so, how did you get in?