Launch of "Choosing a School for a Five Year Old''

  • Brian Donnelly
Education

E nga mana,
E nga reo,
E nga iwi e tau nei,
Hari koa te ngakau
kua tae mai au
ki te tautoko
i te kaupapa nei.
Tena kotou
Tena koutou
Tena koutou katoa.

What is special about this school?

If I send my child here, how will I know what he or she has learned?

How does the school ensure that children are safe and happy?

These are some of the questions that many parents of pre-schoolers often ask themselves when
they are deciding which school will suit their five year old best.

I'm sure Michael is the type of principal who would be able to tell us, and would do so, given half a
chance.

I remember when our oldest child started school both Linda, my wife, and I were teachers, so we
had a pretty good idea of how schools operate and what would happen to Theresa when she
started school.

But most of our friends didn't know, and could only vaguely remember what it was like when they
started.

They would have little idea of what their Mother and Father thought and felt at the time.

Fortunately, many children have some sort of early childhood education, whether it be at
pre-school, childcare, crŠche or kindergarten.

I understand that many of the new entrants at Clyde Quay will have been to the kindergarten right
next door.

In that case, they will have been up to the school and visited the new entrants' classroom, and may
well have older brothers and sisters going to the school.

They shouldn't be scared of the place, and their parents will probably be familiar with the school
too.

But many parents aren't that lucky.

They might live out in the country, where their children can't go to kindergarten or pre-school.

Or, like at Clyde Quay, they go to the kindergarten but can't go the school because they live nearer
to another one in Wellington.

So, how do you choose a school?

Well in fact, a great many parents don't actually have any choice; they have to go to the nearest
school and that's that.

But, whether they have a choice or not, there are quite a few things they should know about the
school before their child goes there.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been much information available in the past.

That's why the Education Review Office produced this booklet 'Choosing a School for a Five Year
Old'.

It is part of a series of education evaluation reports ERO publishes each year, and is one of several
reports that give parents useful advice.

This booklet gives parents general information about New Zealand schools and some suggestions
of questions to ask when deciding about the type of schooling they want for their child.

It has specific advice on the process parents might go through to choose a school - if they have a
choice.

But, of use to all parents, it also gives general advice about what is good practice in the teaching
and learning of new entrants.

It also has a useful single page list of key questions for parents to ask when talking to the school
principal.

So, when principals around the country have parents turn up with their lists of questions, there will
probably be some of these in the list.

The booklet also has an alphabetical section on a whole range of topics including year levels and
class names, the curriculum, different types of school, school fees and donations, types of
classrooms, reading recovery, syndicates and what to do if parents have any concerns.

When I was looking through this book, I thought the section at the end describing lessons would
give parents a lot of information about what actually happens in the classroom.

I think this will be a very useful booklet.

I want to congratulate ERO for producing it.

ERO tells me that they are preparing a companion booklet, Choosing a Secondary School, which
will be available shortly.

This book will empower parents when they are dealing with the school before their child starts
school.

And it will give them confidence when they are dealing with the school once their child has started
there.

I hope parents make use of it, and find it useful.

No reira
nga kaihautu
tai tamariki ma
rau rangatira ma
tena koutou
tena koutou
kia ora tatou katoa.