Choosing the right kinder or school – You are the expert!
One of the most significant choices a parent or caregiver can be faced with is choosing the ideal kindergarten or school for their loved one. Armed with a deep understanding of their child’s distinct abilities, preferences, and needs, parents possess invaluable expertise in determining the most suitable learning environment for their child.
Some factors for a family to consider when selecting a school:
1. Inclusive and welcoming atmosphere: Consider prioritizing a school that values inclusivity and creates a welcoming environment for diverse students. An inclusive setting fosters empathy, understanding and acceptance amongst their students, and values family contributions.
2. Level of support and resources: Determine your child’s specific learning requirements and find schools with appropriate support programs. Consider the availability of learning support, counselling, and the school’s openness for collaboration with external service providers, such as your key worker, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, physiotherapist, or positive behaviour support clinician.
3. School facilities and environment: Assess the resources and facilities available in the school. An environment conducive to your child’s unique needs can support your child’s classroom and social participation. Does the school have open-plan classrooms? Would a smaller class size be important for your child? Or would your child love a great playground to get all their wiggles out when it is lunchtime?
4. Social connections and friendships: Would your child benefit from attending a school where they have existing friendships or connections with other students? A familiar face may ease their transition and help your child feel more at home in an unfamiliar environment. Consider the impact of the student body and its alignment with your family values. Being in an environment with positive peer influence can influence your child’s development and social skill development for their future.
5. Location and travel convenience: Assess the distance between your home and the school for practicality and convenience. Consider the daily commute and how it may impact your child’s energy, regulation, and readiness for learning. Is it important to you that the school provides transport?
6. Sibling or family presence: Determine if having siblings or family in the same school may benefit your family. Shared school experiences can provide emotional support and streamline travel for families.
Early intervention key workers, or therapy supports can support you to consider all your options in Australia’s rich education system. Therapists can offer guidance, working closely with you and your family to support you to make informed decisions and navigate the education landscape.
Finally, when it comes to choosing the right kindergarten or school in the Australian system, there is no “one size fits all approach.” Each child is unique, and as parents, their expertise lies in understanding and advocating for their loved one’s needs and aspirations. It is important for parents to have all the resources they need to confidently make informed decisions, knowing that their decision is the best decision for the exciting journey ahead!
Resources for further reading
About the author
Meet Marny, an OT at KEO Care, known for her thoughtful approach. With five years of experience in the disability sector as an occupational therapist and early intervention key worker, Marny has developed expertise in developmental delay, neurodiversity, trauma-informed care.
Marny’s primary clinical interest includes play and social skills, self-care (toileting and mealtimes), and emotional regulation. She loves working in the community sector, celebrating the diversity of each individual. Marny is particularly passionate about working in the Early Childhood Intervention space.