Choosing a Marin County school, either private or public, for your child is a very personal issue. To investigate the considerations in choosing a school, we interviewed Debra Lambrecht, Founder and Head of Caulbridge School, a private, K-8 school in San Rafael, CA.
The most important factor in choosing a school is what parents want for their child.
This decision is weighted by many factors including the parents’ educational experience, the temperament and talents of the child, and the parents’ aspirations for the child’s future.
Lambrecht presents the range of choices in schools, using a matrix composed of these primary educational models:
- Child-Directed learning is about the individual’s process: promotes autonomy, self-reliance, and individual learning style.
- Un-schoolingis student directed learning, with a focus on the learning experience. Learning is entirely interest driven.
- Class-Directed emphasizes the group learning process. Promotes social and collaborative skills.
- Test-Based stresses teaching content, with a focus on testing to measure progress.
Most schools combine these models in their unique approach to education.
Steps you can take
- Decide what you want for your child’s education, then rank these in order of importance:
- Independence and confidence
- Traditional, academic knowledge base
- Creativity and original thinking
Add your own criteria.
- Visit schools, and interview principals or admissions staff.
- Would your child be happy there? Start with yourself. The first question you should ask on setting foot through the door is, do you personally feel happy here?
- Learn their educational philosophy.
- Find out how student progress is evaluated.
- What is the role of media and technology in the classrooms?
- What is the role of arts and physical activity?
- How are students prepared for high school and college experiences?
- What is the role of homework in the educational process?
- Observe classrooms in action.
- Interview other parents
Parents are unlikely to present balanced opinions as they have already become advocates of a particular Marin county school. However, you may find other parents who have the same perspective on education that you have, and you may benefit from the research that they have already done.
For an overview of Marin County public and private schools, visit the schools pages at Livinginmarin.com.