What Parents Look for When Choosing a School or Daycare

choosing a school

The success of your school or childcare center rises and falls according to the parents in your community. This is why it is critical to know what parents look for when choosing a school or daycare.

When choosing a school, parents tend to look for certain things. If your private school or preschool does not have what they are looking for when choosing a school, you will miss the opportunity to educate their child.

As a mom of two children attending a private school, I’d like to share what I know firsthand about choosing a school. Aside from my personal feelings, these ten things tend to be what parents pay attention to regardless of public school, private school, preschool, or daycare.

Your Reputation

According to research completed by GreatSchools, “To make a final decision about a school, parents often rely on firsthand experience.” Your school’s reputation will make or break a family’s decision when choosing a school. They also found, “The opinions of other parents can have a strong influence on parents’ assessments of schools.” Specifically, parent reviews have a large effect.

Your Ratings

Parents also look at your overall ratings. If you are in the upper school space, parents will look at your academic ratings and graduation rates. GreatSchools claims, “Most parents follow a similar path; they start by evaluating test scores and other academic performance data.” If you are in the childcare space, parents will check your quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) scores.

Your Online Presence

When choosing a school, the first place parents will go is the internet. Therefore, it is critical to boost your online presence. In addition to keeping your website up to date, your social media pages should be updated regularly.

Your Ability to Meet Practical Needs

Parents also look to see your school’s ability to meet their specific needs. For example, do you have a diverse study population or faculty? Do you offer before and after school care? Are you located within walking distance of their home? If not, do you offer transportation?

Your Extracurriculars

Scholastic reports, “Experts say art, music, and sports can teach discipline, foster creativity, and help children become more engaged in school.” As such, extracurriculars tend to be something parents want to learn more about when choosing a school. In addition to telling parents about extracurriculars on school tours, you should also have sections of your website dedicated to your various options.

Your Teacher Quality

The most commonly cited criteria for evaluating and choosing a school in the GreatSchools survey was good teachers. Retaining quality teachers is essential for the success of your school. The longer quality teachers stay at your school, the more positive your reputation will become.

Your Environment

The overall educational environment matters to parents – especially when they are paying tuition. They want to see that the money they are paying is being well spent. If the school facilities and grounds are not maintained, it makes parents question the school overall. Similarly, staying up-to-date with the latest technology is important for many parents.

Your Curriculum

No two children learn the same, which is why parents want to know about your teaching methods and curriculum. To put it simply, some schools are better fits for different learning styles and personalities. When choosing a school, parents are looking for a school that fits their child’s unique needs. For example, do you follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy or the Montessori method? Do you offer AP courses or services for students with special needs?

Your Safety Measures

Safety is paramount for parents. A PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) report found, “The fact that many parents consider safety as their number one concern when choosing a school for their child may reflect parents’ growing anxiety about bullying and violence in and around schools.”  

In addition to these safety worries, parents enrolling students in 2021 are also concerned about your COVID-19 safety measures. Parents want to know their children will be safe and protected at your school or childcare center.

Your Application Process

When choosing a school or daycare, parents also want (and need) to know about your application process upfront. They don’t want to fall in love with a school only to find out you don’t have openings in their child’s age group or that they can’t afford the tuition.

You can avoid these types of disappointing situations by making sure the application process is clearly outlined on your school’s website, as well as included with any marketing materials. Be sure to tell parents where they can find eligibility requirements, important application deadlines, tuition and fees, and financial aid options.

TUIO makes it easy to impress parents. They’ll love your school’s easy tuition billing and invoice system. Learn more about TUIO today.