Motherhood

20 Questions to Ask When Visiting a School

Before you realize it, your child will be entering Kindergarten. (and you will be asking yourself, how did that happen? Wasn’t he just learning to walk?) Alas, the time is here and if you’re a parent in NYC and you’re applying to Kindergarten (or even PreK) you are probably overwhelmed with questions and concerns.

Truthfully, navigating the school system can be a nerve-racking experience. So many choices: public, private, religious, charter! Luckily, there is a lot of information out there!

Here are 3 tips to help you navigate the process (and 20 questions to ask when visiting a school!) 

Ask those who have been through the process! Other parents who have gone through the process will be your best source of information! They will provide honest feedback about their experiences. Good places to get to know other parents are Facebook groups, for example.

ASS-charter-schools

Visit the school! You can’t pick a school without visiting it, walking through the halls and getting a feel for the teachers, students and administration. Many schools have open houses or you can attend a tour.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! 

GUG-Astoria-School-Symposium

In my own community, Margarita Soto, a local mom created the Astoria School Symposium which is a forum that helps parents navigate the school system.  The forum keeps growing and it’s a great place to get to know the schooling options in our area, as well as information on gifted & talented programs, dual language programs and more. You can talk to representatives from schools, parents, community volunteers and more! This is a great example of somewhere you can go to get the information you need to enroll your child in the best option for your family.

For more information on how and why Margarita created the Astoria School Symposium click here.

Check out the 20 Questions to Ask when visiting a School below:

20-Questions-to-ask-when-visiting-a-school

Here are some questions you will want to ask teachers, school representatives and parents:

  1. What is the teacher-student ratio in each class?

  2. Is there outdoor play? How many times a week?

  3. Is there recess? How long is recess?

  4. Is there a fundraising requirement at the school?

  5. Is there extended care/after-school?

  6. Is there early drop-off?

  7. How do you deal with kids that have allergies?

  8. Are art and music offered? How many times a week?

  9. Is physical education offered? How many times a week?

  10. Is there an active PTA? What kind of activities are held by the PTA?

  11. Is lunch offered? Can kids bring their own lunch?

  1. Is there homework every night?

  2. On average, how much time do kids spend on homework a night?

  3. Are children required to wear a uniform?

  4. Is the school co-located (2 schools sharing a building)?

  5. How are kids prepared for standardized testing? How much time is devoted to test prep?

  6. Are there any languages offered?

  7. In addition to core subjects, what other activities offered? (i.e. theater, gardening, etc)

  8. Do the children go on field trips?

  9. How do teachers communicate with parents?  Does the school have a website?

You can download these questions in a PDF here. 

Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a Latina working mom from Astoria, NY, mom to a trilingual four-year old. I blog about motherhood, Latino issues, women's issues, work/life balance, food, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural son!

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