Choosing a school is a BIG deal, so attending a school open day is often a good idea. You’ll have the chance to explore the grounds, visit some classrooms and talk to staff about everything the school has to offer. You might even hear a music recital or get involved in some hands-on workshops. In fact, a school open day can be a great day out!
It’s useful to remember, however, that every school is a business. This means that you are essentially a potential client and an open day is a marketing opportunity. It’s only natural that a school will put its best foot forward and show you its ‘highlights reel’.
In order to decide whether this is really the right school for you and your child, it’s handy to prepare some questions in advance to help you cut through the spin.
Schools are transparent about the subjects they teach. They must adhere to the Australian Curriculum, for starters, and most will happily provide a handbook or online guide to subject offerings.
What’s not covered in the handbook, though, is the school’s day-to-day approach to these subjects and the technologies they have at their disposal.
At your open day therefore, ask about the school’s teaching philosophy, discipline processes and facilities.
School is about much more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Your child’s social life, health and wellbeing and creative outlets will also be important.
Don’t be afraid to visit the school office and talk to finance and administration staff, too.
Probably more important that any of this, however, is to ask yourself one big question:
If you see evidence of smiling, engaged children who are comfortable interacting with staff and excited to show you their latest projects, you’re off to a great start.
For more help choosing a school, download our comprehensive all-inclusive EDUCATION GUIDE 2016.
Download our Open Day Questions Checklist.