How to Choose Right Elementary School

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: St. Mark’s Lutheran School Principal Sue Templeton in Eureka offers advice about the school selection process. School starts again in a little more than a month!

Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. As a principal, I’ve seen firsthand how stressful this decision can be for parents. And as a parent, I fully understand the weight of this decision for my children. There are more choices, more opportunities, and therefore, there is more pressure on the parents.

First and foremost, it is important that your child receives a top-notch education in a safe, comfortable environment. Parents should personally visit each school being considered and meet with the teachers and the principal.

Relationships between teachers and students in early childhood and kindergarten classrooms are very important. Parents want to look for teachers who are loving and engaged with their students. They need to be optimistic in their approach and want the best for all their students.

When visiting the schools, you should ask the teachers about their teaching methods. Early learning is all about words. Exposure to language through books, reading instruction and storytelling is paramount when teaching students how to read. Instruction should be focused on syllabication—that is connecting letters with their sounds.

Right from the start and beyond, students should be exposed to math concepts.  Students should learn shapes, numbers, and basic math.

A good early childhood and kindergarten program would be remiss if it did not include plenty of play-time. Children need time to use their imaginations and improve their physical fitness and relational skills with their peers.

Trust your instincts. Find out the average classroom size and ask about a typical day in the classroom.

  • Ask how long the teachers have been working at that particular school.
  • Ask how the teacher stays up-to-date with current or long-standing educational practices.  
  • Ask about the technology used in the school. SMART boards, iPads, and updated technology should all be incorporated in your child’s education.

Parents should also inquire about how teachers are evaluated and how they evaluate themselves.

Consider what is best for your family. Maybe both parents in the household work and you depend on before and after-school care. If that’s the case, research schools nearby with extended care programs. St. Mark’s offers extended care for kindergarten through eighth grade students.

Finally, every school should offer open houses, and in some cases, teachers will visit student’s homes to talk to the parents. Find a school that is appropriate for you and your family. At St. Mark’s, our teachers will personally visit homes to meet with parents and discuss how they run the classroom.

St. Mark’s works to meet students where they are to build on their strengths by differentiating instruction.  At in , you will find a Christ-centered environment, small class sizes, a strong academic curriculum and loving, caring teachers.

Submitted by St. Mark's Lutheran School Prinicipal Sue Templeton

Letters to the Editor are submitted by various community residents as independent opinions, and are not published as viewpoints of Eureka-Wildwood Patch, Patch.com or its affiliates.


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