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Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Public and Private School (page 2)

By — Education.com Member Contribution
Updated on Mar 15, 2011

Number of books in the home

In order for children to believe that reading is important, they have to see their parents being interested in things that are read. Even parents who are not well educated,  who speak a different language than the majority of parents in their chosen school, or who can not afford to purchase books, can show an avid interest in the printed word. That can mean newspapers, books checked out of the library, magazines, maps, and anything else a child can handle and look through and play with that has words. It can mean looking at ads for food in the grocery store, pointing out the names of common places, restaurants, streets and family members. Talking about books, handling books, thumbing through books and having conversations about even the pictures can promote interest in things literate.

But even before books, the primary means of acquiring words is through talking, A parent who talks with their child every day about anything that happens, about any activity, and who brings that interest in communication to their child increases that child’s awareness and use of talking as a foundation for written language. Then after fourth grade the primary way to gain vocabulary is through reading. Foundationally, promoting literacy through talking, listening, reading and writing, even for the very young, even if it is just handing a little one paper and crayons or even talking about the sand going in a little bucket are good family practices for future school success.

Number of Absences

Adding to number of absences is also punctuality. It is obvious that if a child is not at school or late to school, that child cannot learn well. Absences and difficulty with punctuality can run wild, even in families that have huge incomes. In fact, in some private schools there have been many teacher complaints about children being tired, coming late, or not coming for several days for reasons unrelated to illness. Being where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there is a character trait that we can all teach our children. This promotes responsibility and respect for timelines and authority.

Teacher Experience and Certification

Many parents don’t know it but a private school can be accredited with only a percentage of the teachers credentialed. Happily, most private schools do try to hire fully certified teachers, however the facts remain. Further, a growing percentage of the nation’s teachers now come from other countries, especially in math, science and special education, without having to take an English language proficiency test. Add to this the fact that we are a multi-lingual nation, all of these issues get really sticky, troubling and hard to sort out.

The best way to know a school is to observe, talk to the principal and talk to other parents of children who attend. The best way to really know a child’s teacher is to talk with him or her, ask them what their experience is and watch them the year before your child enters the grade they teach. If necessary, ask the school for the teacher you want based on your observations, your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses and find out that teacher’s certification and experience.

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