Newcomer tips for registering for school, from preschool to high school and beyond

From preschool to post-secondary education, selecting the right school for your child is an important process. And due to possible lengthy application process and shortage of space availability, parents should start the selecting process at a soon as possible to secure a spot. In fact, kindergarten registration in public schools is happening now across Canada for fall 2018.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting schools.

Students’ educational needs and goals
Start with assessing your child’s interests, strengths, needs and goals.  Above anything, it is about finding the right school that is aligned with your child’s interest, goals, personality, career choices and passion. It is about helping children to be life-long learner, and to be the best they can be.

Consider the location of school to your home, whether it is walking distance or if it requires another mode of transportation.  Check if it is accessible by public transportation.  If driving is required, see if there is designated drop off zone and parking spaces. For parents with older children, it is also good to check if there are designated cross-walks, traffic lights, crossing guards, if they walk to and from school by themselves.
If your child is attending public school, you will likely have a “catchment” school, which you would be designated for based on your location. However, it is possible to apply for cross-catchment transfers to a different school, especially for specialty programs like French immersion.

Look at the tuition fees for private schools or other costs to attend public schools. Some common-school related cost includes registration fees, tuition fees, student fees, school supplies cost, school uniforms, textbooks and activity fees.  Depending on the province you are in, do check if there are subsidies, student loans, scholarships, grants available if one requires financial assistance.  It is also important to ask about withdrawal fee, refund policy and payment plans for any tuition fees.

Educational programs
Learn about different specialty programs, such as language, outdoor programs, internship, online learning, study abroad programs, as well as the pros and cons for the different programs.
For younger children, consider the hours of program, and is there hot lunch, or before and after school care.

Educators and administrator
The quality of teachers and the administrators team has huge impact on children’s quality of learning.  Get to know the school’s mission statement, and the educators’ qualifications, experience, philosophies and practices.  Asking the right questions can help you determine if the educators’ passion, interest and teaching styles are a good fit for your child.

Finding the right education
In conclusion, finding the right education program for your child is very important in helping children succeed in life. Research and keep an open mind about the various options available.  Start with talking to other parents, or others who are familiar with education system in Canada. Check school ranking, or online reviews of schools.  Furthermore, do take time to visit the school, go to a  school open house or information session.
Last but not least, keep in mind that while it is important to consider other people’s viewpoints and recommendation, it is most crucial to listen to your instincts and make the decision that is the right fit for you and your children. After all, you know your child best and you know what’s best for their education.

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