How to Choose a School

There are three characteristics that define every school: curriculum, culture and community.  Curriculum is taught, culture and community are caught.  If you are searching for a school be sure to ask about these three C’s. 

Curriculum
Curriculum is the course that is set for each class, for the year, and for the future. The school’s core values are reflected in the choices that are made in what is taught. Every curriculum is based in a worldview. What is the worldview of your school? Does it prepare students for college? For deeper understanding? Will students master the material or merely be exposed to it? These are a few questions to ask when you ask about a school’s curriculum.

Culture
Culture is what describes the school. What describes the feeling of the school? Do you sense peace in relationships? Do you sense joy in work? Do the students seem to be drawn towards truth, beauty and goodness? Culture is caught, not taught, so the only way to find out what the school values is to observe how the school’s core values into daily school life. Every school shares an expressed value for each child and seeks to instill confidence and integrity in their students. This should be observable in how the students treat one another, approach their work and interact with their teachers. Is the school that you are interested in willing for you to observe?

Community
Community is present in every school; it is built and caught through each interaction. Do the students relate well with one another? Is there noticeable trust between students, teachers, parents and administration? Community can also be destroyed through every interaction. Conflicts are inevitable; are they addressed biblically so that each situation is redeemed and relationships are strengthened or are they avoided like the plague? The school that builds community pursues peace passionately.

Often when parents are searching for the right school they ask about the school’s curriculum because they know how important it is. Of the three C’s that define schools, curriculum is the easiest to investigate. Be sure to ask about the other two unspoken influences: culture and community.

All three C’s contribute to the learning environment your child will experience at that school.