When visiting schools, bring a list of questions. Take notes. Soak up the environment.

Curriculum Questions:

  • How does the curriculum prepare children to meet the state standards?
  • Does the curriculum provide opportunities for children to explore topics in detail, and in multiple ways?
  • Does the curriculum take into account the various learning styles, cultures, disabilities and languages of the children and their families?
  • Is the program based on age-appropriate learning objectives?
  • Do the program’s stated goals match your own goals for your child?

School Environment:

  • Are the classrooms bright, cheery and inviting?
  • Is each classroom equipped with age appropriate materials?
  • Are Enrichment Programs included (i.e. Spanish, Music, Mandarin Chinese, Computer Lab, etc.)
  • Are classrooms conducted in a calm and orderly manner?
  • Do children seem happy, focused and engaged in their work?
  • Do you feel welcome?
  • Does the school have a uniform?

Facility Questions:

  • Is the school clean and well maintained?
  • Do classrooms/bathrooms/hallways smell clean?
  • Is classroom furniture (i.e. tables/chairs/shelves) in good condition?
  • Are play areas properly equipped and maintained regularly?
  • Is the heating/cooling comfortable throughout the facility?
  • Are kitchen/food prep areas tidy and orderly?
  • Does the facility generally look like its being maintained both inside and out?
  • Is the school designed with the safety, security and growth of your child in mind?
  • Is there an indoor gymnasium (for days when weather is severe, i.e. too hot or too cold)
  • Is there a Library with enough learning material?
  • Is there a Music Room with appropriate instruments (piano, bells, etc.)
  • Are there enough computers equipped with learning software for each age group?

School Location:

  • How will your child get to and from school?
  • Is there a safe route to walk or cycle, or is someone available to pick them up?
  • Will your child need to be supervised before and/or after school?

Teachers -Things to look for:

  • Are you introduced to teachers on your tour?
  • Are the teachers warm and caring with the children?
  • Do teachers have one-on-one conversations with children?
  • Do teachers work with children individually and in small groups of three or four?
  • When the children are outside, are the teachers engaged and encouraging the children’s play?

Parents -Questions to ask:

  • Are parents welcome to drop in without making an appointment?
  • Does the teacher have face-to-face or phone contact with parent(s) or provide regular e-mail or written reports at least twice a month?
  • Are there suggested involvement activities for parents?
  • Are there daily and/or weekly progress reports sent to parents?