Open House season has arrived as private schools begin enrolling students and inviting new families to explore facilities, engage with teachers, and be welcomed into a new learning environment. Below are five tips to help make your Open House experience productive and insightful for your family as you shop around for the best private school!
- Don’t skip prospective family events. If you’re checking out a school for the first time, don’t skip the events dedicated to welcoming visitors. These times are dedicated to introducing new families to the school and staff, as well as providing tours or question-and-answer periods. This is your time to learn key introductory information and meet admissions directors and administrative staff face-to-face.
- Talk with current parents. Most Open Houses merge or overlap prospective families with current families, which provides you with incredibly valuable insight if you spark a conversation with a current parent. Grab an adult who seems to know their way around and ask questions for the ultimate, face-to-face Yelp review experience. Questions involving homework loads, styles of teaching, and overall satisfaction are great ways to encourage current parents to reveal their insight.
- Take a tour. If there is no established tour time, find a school administrator and express your interest in experiencing a guided tour. Chances are a school’s staff will jump at the opportunity to show off their facilities and introduce you to their learning environment. Pay close attention to facility maintenance, safety, organization, and the resources dedicated to extracurricular activities your student might engage in.
- Talk with your child’s grade level teacher. This could be your child’s next teacher, so take a moment to reach out and have a conversation. Introduce yourself and your child to get a feel for the teacher’s personality, teaching style, and overall compatibility. Teachers also provide a great source of knowledge regarding school policies, procedures, curriculum, afterschool opportunities, etc.
- Be observant to people’s reactions. As you walk around a school for the first time, use this opportunity to silently observe the parents, students, and staff. Do the children look excited to show off their school work? Do the parents seem engaged and receptive to teachers and staff? What is the overall energy level of the event? Simply being aware of the atmosphere and by watching the reactions and attitudes of others can provide a big indicator of whether or not you and your child will be happy attending this particular school.
When searching for the best educational environment for your child, attending Open Houses and admissions events is a great way to investigate and make fully-researched choices about which school to attend. Use these times to ask questions and discover the best learning atmosphere for your student!
Over the next month, Fairmont Private Schools is having Open Houses at its three Orange County Preschool - 8th grade campuses. This is a great opportunity to visit a campus and learn why Fairmont was voted "Best Private School in Orange County" by Parenting OC’s Readers’ Choice poll. Click here for more event information!
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools