Shayna Turk Dovitz
How to Choose the Right School for Your (soon-to-be!) Kindergartener
Updated: Mar 6
As we head into the spring season, we’ve been getting visits from parents of soon-to-be kindergarteners at our STARS Academy Open Houses. They have been asking some excellent questions about how to find the best fit for their child, in an environment where they can really thrive and have space to grow, learn, and play! Here’s a guide to picking the best school for your child as they start their educational journey, based on our most frequently asked questions from parents:
Class Size: Do you remember your first day going to school? For some of us, that might be decades ago, but still leaves a lasting impression based on how the day went. A large classroom with dozens of students can leave a kindergartener feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Since I founded STARS Academy, it has been incredible seeing the growth of our students when they are in smaller cohorts, and knowing that they can reach out to a teacher whenever they need to. Forming a connection and building trust with a mentor and role model early at school can do wonders for your child, helping them receive the attention that they need.
A Socially-Warm Environment: Since many children have been feeling restricted in planning playdates and seeing their friends these past few years in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are feeling overwhelmed when put into group settings. This can mean the occasional outburst and not being able to handle conflict with peers, which can lead to bad habits if left unchecked. A school that encourages group play together during recess, and collaboration on projects and classwork, is a recipe for success.
Accessibility of Teachers and Staff: During a school visit, it is critical to evaluate how easily parents can reach teachers and staff when needed, whether for just a general update on their child’s performance, or a more serious sit-down conversation about behavioral issues at school. If you’re unable to speak to a staff member during school hours, chances are this might not be a good sign for the future when you really need to get in touch regarding something urgent.
Performance Metrics that Matter: Although letter grades aren’t really at the top of anyone’s mind with younger children, a concrete way to measure school performance is vital to ensure that the school has your child’s growth at the forefront of their academic focus. Make sure to ask questions about how they measure student success at the next open house you attend, whether that’s a quarterly report card or PTO conferences that speak to progress made.
Focus on The Whole Child: Let’s be honest - while rigorous academics greatly matter to every parent, kids are at school for over 6 hours, five days a week. This means that the right school will focus on the whole child, and recognize their talents and extra-curricular interests to ensure they stay engaged and attentive. Equally as important is social-emotional development and identity exploration, as 5-year olds are still learning their way around the world.
We are still accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year! Learn more about admissions at STARS Academy on our website: https://www.starsacademyschool.com/how-to-apply