When considering a school for your family, you will want to visit during a school day to see it action. During your visit, here are some questions you might think about when you tour and observe in classrooms.
- How engaged are students in their work?
- Do they seem happy? Focused? Involved?
- Do people speak respectfully to each other – adults and children?
- Is cooperation and kindness evident? Good humor?
- How much communication and conversation is happening?
- Are children encouraged to make decisions? Are they given choices?
- How are conflicts handled? Are children taught strategies for handling conflicts themselves?
- Is everyone included? Do children invite others to join in? Does the teacher help them include others?
- Is the classroom environment comfortable and kid friendly?
- Is the classroom clean, organized and cared for?
- Is the layout and furniture flexible for different types of learning?
- Can you tell by looking at the classroom what they have been studying?
- Do you see children’s work on display? Is it creative and original?
- Is it a rich, stimulating place to be? Is it joyful?
- Would you enjoy spending your day in the classroom?
- Are there manipulative materials for the children? (blocks, counting objects, things from nature, maps, games…)
- Do you see materials for creative arts project?
- Are there lots of books in the rooms?
- What is the role of technology in the classroom?
- Is there a balance of large group, small group and individual activities?
- Do adults ask interesting, open-ended questions that encourage thinking?
- Do teachers allow enough wait time for children to answer thoughtfully?
- Do students ask thoughtful questions? Do they listen to each other?
- Are there examples of in-depth projects?
- Can children move around? Are they invited to learn with all their senses and with their bodies?
- Are children given choices and allowed to follow their passions?
- Do activities allow for children’s different ability levels?
What other questions do you ask when you visit schools?