The best primary schools plant the seed for lifelong learning. They do more than spelling and mathematics. Progressive schools foster your child’s curiosity about the world around them. The best way to find the right primary school for your child is to ask the right questions.
Questions every parent should ask before choosing the best primary school for their child
Knowing the right questions to ask can help you make the right decision for your child.
Can my child and I visit the school?
It’s a good idea to visit the school before enrolling. It’s surprising how schools can feel when you walk through the front gate. While some can give off a vibe of efficiency and stress, others can feel calm and welcoming.
Open days provide tours of the school. Schools open their grounds and classrooms to welcome parents and prospective students. You get to meet the head of the school, teachers and students. You can see the condition of the classrooms, learning facilities and, more importantly, see the interactions between the staff and students.
Open days are held throughout the year.
Some schools also provide private tours. Private tours can provide an insight into the daily running of the school.
Keep an eye out for the availability of resources per student, the presence of specialist classrooms for subjects such as STEAM and the noise from passing traffic.
Stay and Play Day
A Stay and Play Day is perfect for those little ones who are a bit anxious about transitioning to big school.
“We like to invite little people and their parents and carers to a Stay and Play Day before they start at ‘Big School’,” says Rachael J Newton, Head of Blue Mountains Grammar Junior School.
“We recognise that this transition is a big change for children, so coming along and having a positive experience (with parents and carers nearby) is essential,” she says.
Children visiting the School for Stay and Play Day at BMGS enjoy stories and games with our Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers, while parents learn more about the School’s programs from the Head of School and Early Learning Teachers.
Which curriculum is used in the school?
The school curriculum is essentially how the school delivers the Australian curriculum. At Blue Mountains Grammar School, we use an ‘evidence-based’ curriculum, which we find motivates curiosity and encourages learning.
“Balance is essential. Our students need explicit teaching to develop skills in Literacy and Numeracy. It’s important though, to give students real-life and inspiring learning projects to dive into, using their skills to find the answers to the big questions that they have,” says Rachael.
We also offer specialist classes in music and languages, such as French from Kindergarten.
Learning an instrument enhances problem-solving skills, goal setting and concentration. The students work as a team and increase their self-expression and self-esteem when playing together. Evidence has also shown that learning music helps with abstract reasoning skills, which are essential for maths and science.
Children who start learning a language early are more likely to develop an ‘ear’ for the language. This will help them with pronunciation and fluency later in life. Studies have also shown that people who speak more than one language have more brain ‘grey matter.’ They are better at tasks needing attention, inhibition and short-term memory.
Blue Mountains Grammar Junior School’s range of cocurricular activities are designed to develop young brains, ignite their passions and grow their character and capability.
What support services do you offer?
Support for your student starts in the classroom, which is why Blue Mountains Grammar School has the smallest student-to-teacher ratio in the Blue Mountains.
The smaller the class, the more attention your child can receive from the teacher. We find this is crucial in primary school. Students can receive more feedback from the teacher and one on one time. In smaller classes, teachers develop a nurturing relationship with the students and students look forward to their classes.
Not every student develops at the same pace. Ask about support services offered at the school.
Often, schools reflect a philosophy or ethos. This may be a Christian denomination or a motto, such as striving for excellence. Find out what the principles of the school are, and if they are qualities you’d like in your child.
Blue Mountains Grammar School has the lowest student-to-teacher ration of all schools in the Blue Mountains. (MySchools 2021)
Does the school have an outdoor eduction program?
Schools can be a reflection of the community and environment around them. For schools that are lucky enough to be close to bushland, turning this area into another classroom makes sense.
“Our children get to experience the ‘Wild Ed’ programme right from Pre-Kindergarten, with time spent exploring and playing in the bush on our property, and very close by to the school,” says Rachael.
“Sticktopia” is the magical bushland just beyond the Adventure Playground at Wentworth Falls Junior School. Children build cubbies, explore and create things from sticks and rocks.
“We don’t mind the dirt and mud! We know that as children explore outdoor settings, they grow in curiosity, appreciation, resilience and collaboration.”
In Junior School, students experience camping, rock climbing, bushwalking and canoeing.
BMGS students have beautiful natural spaces to explore right on the School’s doorstep. Wentworth Falls Lake is just behind the School and students from Year 3 and up enjoy canoeing lessons as part of Wild Ed.
Do you encourage parent involvement in the school?
Parents and Friend Associations are a great way to meet other parents and get involved in the school. Most meet once a term to discuss fundraising and other events. Usually, you can be as active or as inactive as you want.
Rachael says, “the children, staff and families that make up this community are the very best thing about it. Our students and staff make this a warm and inclusive learning community where everyone is welcome.”
Would you like to know more?
Primary education lays the foundation for the later school years. If you’d like to experience the school for yourself, why not book a private tour? Call 4757 9023 to book a time that suits you, or submit an enquiry form and we’ll be in touch.