10 Top Factors To Guide Your School Choice Process

Admissions directors at nursery schools and private on-going schools, as well as savvy local education consultants, cited these 10 factors as being the most essential to keep in mind as you narrow down your list of schools to apply to, and, even more importantly, to keep in mind when it comes making your ultimate school choice.

1. Social Fit & Compatible Values: “Social fit for both the child and parents should be a factor. If you or your child are not comfortable, it will influence their ability to learn in that environment.” –Michael Luft, Preschool Director, 14th Street Y Preschool

2. Educational Philosophy: “Your chosen school’s philosophy must align with your educational beliefs and family values. You have to feel comfortable with the school’s culture.” –Carrie Berger Rosenthal, Jessica Anub & Candace La Douceur, Directors of Admissions, Twin Parks Montessori Schools

3. Teacher & Staff Quality: “It’s important that parents trust administrators and teachers, and know they’ll have access to school leaders before and after enrolling.” –Andrew Hume, Director of Enrollment, The Calhoun School

4. Flow of the School Day: “As you learn about the school, seek to understand the daily schedule, the number of classroom transitions required throughout the day, and the teachers your child will experience each day. This is important during the early years and as your child advances.” –Carolyn Wilson, Director of Advancement, AltSchool

5. Exmissions Reputation: “Exmissions give a good flavor for the types of school in both quality and philosophy that students leave a school to attend.” –Jason Morrow, Headmaster, The British International School of New York

6. Special Needs Considerations: “Schools will often have learning centers to accommodate students who may need scaffolding in a particular area of their development. If this might apply to your child, it is worth inquiring about the structure of the program.” –Erica Papir, Educational Consultant, Smart City Kids (smartcitykids.com)

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7. Religious vs. Secular: “Is religion a central element for your family? For example, if you are a Jewish family would you like your child’s school to have a curriculum that incorporates learning about the religious holidays throughout the year? Is it important to you that your child celebrate Shabbat each week in the classroom? Or, would you rather be in a more diverse environment with a range of religions represented within the community?” –Erica Papir, Educational Consultant, Smart City Kids

8. Location & Schedule: “Definitely don’t neglect your needs as parents. Do the schedule, location, extra-curriculars and so on fit in with the overall logistics of all of your values? It is important for children that their parents are flourishing in their own lives. Martyring yourself so that your child has everything ends up having the opposite-from-intended effect, and that applies to the convenience of a school.” –Matt Bateman, Director of Content and Strategy, Polis Montessori World School

9. Class Size: “Smaller class sizes [allow for] increased opportunity for bespoke care and attention to specific learning needs.” –Kate Bailey, Head of School, Wetherby-Pembridge School

10. Warm & Welcoming: “Your child will be spending many hours of their day throughout their early years in nursery school—the school you choose should be warm and welcoming; a place where both you and your child feel safe and secure. These early years are rewarding and challenging at the same time. It’s important to look for a school where teachers, staff and families may become a part of your ‘village.’” –Ashley Warren, Director of Admissions, Montclare Children’s School