The Criteria for Looking an Elementary School | What I look for in a School

Now that October has come, the rush to find a perfect elementary school finally pushed me to the wall. If I recall, this happened once when Rama was just about two years old and I was searching for the best preschool (playgroup) in town and then suddenly decided to skip the whole bits and bops of school hunt drama and picked TKAI (“Taman Kreativitas Anak Indonesia”) as our first and only option.

It was then and until now the best decision we have ever taken. The school has since given Rama the opportunity and experience which none other school would have, well at least not many school here provides. He has now able to play with lots of friends, do lots of creativity projects, perform in the school marching band as the drummer, role playing or stage acting in the annual school play and once performed in a thousand viewers for the Morinaga event, not only that…he is also able to perform in the flying fox activity which I myself would never ever in a million years throw myself into one *don’t tell him*.

However, with his coming 6th birthday we would already have chosen his primary school (elementary school). And this is something harder to do than before. Because seeing that lots of school nowadays have high *too high if I may say* expectation for the kids, I don’t see myself willingly putting my baby boy to that kind of school. I don’t want him to be burden with the lectures, activities, and studies and forgetting the fact that he is just a kid. My ideal would be him going to school from 8 AM to 12 PM. But that’s not the reality.

The reality is, that school here starts from 7 AM to approximately 2 PM, maybe even more. And…not to mention the bulk of homework that they need to do afterwards.

So with that said, I need to compress the selection of primary school and consider these items before finally saying “yes” to the school registration.

  • Location – One of the most important thing to consider while choosing the right school. Because as we all probably know, Jakarta in the morning is not so friendly. Heavy traffic in almost everywhere, anywhere. I don’t fancy the idea having my kiddo wakes up very early in the morning, getting rushed and skip breakfast just to get to school on time. So for me, location is important. I’d prefer somewhere that could be reached in a maximum 30 mins drive from home.
  • Environment – What does the school ambiance look like? Do they have enough facilities, e.g. canteen, hygienic or at least acceptable toilet, do they maintain the school ground properly? What are the kids who studied there? Does the kids in that school are all or majority a bully? Those kind of things become my concern as well. Because like it or not, here in Indonesia even the private school can sometime neglect the proper maintenance and so the environment and ambiance of the school prop is not adequate.
  • School background and reputation – By reputation I don’t mean some five star quality of school. But I am seeking a school that can understand and communicate with the kids. Lately I notice that some school tends to pushed their pupils to be the best in their class. Feeding them with lots of homework and multitasking them when they are actually just started the primary school. Please…stop treating them like a senior officer in some random office. They are just pure and innocent kid who deserve to smile and chill at school. That is why, before selecting any school I tried my best to understand their background and reputation. This can be done through web forum searching, word of mouth from other mums, and or direct visit and observation.
  • Methodology of learning – How many teachers are there in the class room? How many kids are there in the class room? Does the teacher give the kids too many homework? Well I know that most of my questions here might not have the right answer that I want, but I can always hope. At least be gentle on the homework. I highly believe that homework is not a thing that should become a burden, instead it should be omit and just focus working on the stuff while at school.
  • Fees – Very very important to consider. Because me and hubby prefer private school to public school, the consequence is that we will have to pay higher tuition fee and monthly fee. Therefore, researching the requested fee for each school candidate is a must. Though we have kept some money for the tuition, it would feel ease to know how much exactly are you going to have to pay next year for entrance and the monthly fee asked.
  • Last but not least, what is more important of it all is to consider what my kiddo and I feel about the whole school. Because with all the criteria and consideration made above, if the child does not feel enjoy then everything will become a waste.

I hope what I share here could be useful and let’s start this school hunt with a positive attitude and do it best. I’m heading to bed now, until next week.