Choosing the right school is an important decision for most parents. We worry whether our children will be happy and safe, learn effectively and make good friends. Although choosing a school can be a daunting process, the better prepared you are the better your chances of making the right decision for your whole family.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best school for your child.

#1 – What’s right for one child may not be right for the other. While it’s nice to get feedback from friends and family about certain schools, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a good fit for your child. Children come with a wide range of personalities and abilities, and a school that is great for one child may be quite the opposite for another.

By focusing early on the fact that the school you choose is best based around your child’s personal needs rather than the schools reputation or what the other moms say, you can make the best decision for your child. And if you do choose a school that seems just right on all levels but turns out not to be a good match for your child, take comfort in the fact that it’s quite a tricky decision to get just right. And it’s never too late to change schools if you’re not happy with your current one.

#2 – Visit the school. Reading school reports and talking to other parents is helpful, but nothing is a substitute for visiting the actual school your considering in person. If possible take your child along to get their feedback. Ideally, you will want to visit the school when it’s in full swing. This way you can see how children interact with each other and their teachers.

You may come away feeling a great energy about the school or perhaps feeling that something just wasn’t quite for you. By visiting several different schools early on, you can compare their differences and really see what is right for you.

#3 – Speak to the principal. The principal or head of the school is the guiding force behind everything to do with that school. While the teachers, staff members and children play a significant role, the principal may have the final say on policies and ethos of the school.

By speaking to the principal directly you can gauge what their thoughts are about education and other important matters. However, be wary of making a decision based on your personal thoughts about the principal as a person. They are just a person, after all. And although you may not particularly like their personality or dress sense, that doesn’t mean they won’t make a fantastic leader.

The key here is to see how well thought out their views about the school are. By speaking directly to the person in charge, you may be better able to make your final decision.

Choosing the right school for your child isn’t an easy task, but with a little foresight and planning the task is made easier. By knowing that your choice needs to be personal to your child, visiting the school and speaking the key people involved, you have the basis for making an informed decision.