3 ways to make a values-based choice of primary school

Will they like it? Will they do well? Will they be happy? Will I be happy? 

What if I make the wrong choice?

Making decisions about the important stuff in life can be difficult and the pressure is often far greater when we’re making choices for others, particularly our kids. 

With the deadline for primary school choices on the horizon, you might be wondering how to choose the best place for your child. Values can be a great place to start. 

Values are the things that are important to us, the things that really matter and by aligning our values with our choices, we can create clear direction, energy, engagement and fulfilment. Conversely, when we lose sight of our core values, which often happens when we take on greater responsibility, lose our sense of self, or find ourselves swayed by the views of others, it can lead to dissatisfaction, disengagement, and a lack of direction. 

So when it comes to making this important decision about your child’s education, here are 3 ways to make a values-based choice:

1.Identify your values

Before you start scrolling through school websites and others’ recommendations, make some time to start with you and your child and ask yourself some questions. What’s important to you? What are the qualities that you praise/ encourage/ see as important in your child? And, equally importantly, what really matters to your child? What do they need to flourish at school? Examples might include creativity, ambition, kindness, work/ life balance, respect, authenticity, inspiration, happiness. 

2. Do your research

Ofsted reports and results will only ever give you part of the story of a school. What’s important to the school? What are their values? Do you see and/ or feel them as part of the website, communication with and from the school, the school environment, your school visit, conversations with the students and staff? Be sure to talk to more than one person to get a real sense of what the school is like for those currently there. 

3. Aim for alignment

Having identified your values, and those of the schools you’ve looked at, you can now identify the closest match. But remember that there may need to be compromise, something that parenting teacher and clinical psychologist Dr Shefali Tsabury talks about in a recent episode of the brilliant The Motherkind Podcast (listen here). If, for example, your choice involves costly wraparound care or fees that you really can’t stretch to, or the school’s results are fantastic but it doesn’t appear to provide the nurturing environment that you know your child needs, this isn’t true alignment. 

If you’d like to learn more about Values, how they can help you in your life and career, and give you a stronger sense of what’s important this Christmas, and for the start of 2020, I’d love you to join me at one of my next small group workshops in Marlow on:

Monday 2nd December 7:45pm

Tuesday 10th December 9:45am

This post was written and first published on Mums About Cookham – click HERE for this and other great blog pieces for Mums living in and around the Cookham area.  

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