After your first meeting at a school, what next?

Once you have visited a school and met the principal, think about:

  • the things your family like about the school (its strengths) and
  • any potential challenges

You may then have some new questions to discuss with the principal at each school that you are considering.

How to discuss your questions with the principal

Prepare

You may have thought of some potential challenges. Before you make a time to discuss these issues, think about:

  • how you are going to raise your concerns
  • whether you have any ideas or solutions
  • whether the school might have some ideas or solutions
  • whether you want to talk through your thoughts with others who know your child

Some examples of conversation starters
“I think _______________ might be a potential challenge for Jamie. Is there any way we might be able to manage this?”

“I just wanted to come to you with an idea. I am wondering whether it could help with (describe the challenge)______________________... Do you think that could be possible? Do you have any other ideas on how we might be able to do this?”

“I am a bit concerned about how Samir will go in the playground interacting with other children. I am wondering whether it would be helpful for the new kindergarten teacher to have an opportunity to speak with her preschool teacher about things that have helped Samir socially?”

“As Jai doesn’t talk much, we appreciate hearing about what is happening during the day in other ways. I understand how busy teachers are, so I’m wondering what might work best for his new teacher in terms of regular communication with us?”

Remember it is important:
  • to build a good relationship with the school right from the beginning. This is so that everyone is able to talk about their concerns, challenges and ideas. Acknowledge the school’s perspective and be realistic about your expectations when raising questions or ideas
  • to listen to the school’s views, be flexible and willing to try new things
  • that the partnership works for both parties. Click here for more information about developing positive relationships with the school.

Conversations with the principal provide an opportunity to see how you and the school can work in partnership to find strategies and solutions.

This chart may help you think about how you can talk to the principal about your child’s needs.

Things I like and strengths of the school

Any potential challenges?

How could I discuss my questions with the principal?

Examples:

  • close to home
  • welcoming
  • approachable principal
  • community feel in school
  • friendly parents and kids
  • my child already knows other children going to this school
  • well-resourced
  • smaller class sizes

Examples:

  • small classrooms
  • open classrooms
  • social play in large playground
  • stairs to classrooms
  • physical layout of Kindy class
  • participating in Assembly

Examples:

  • Do you have possible solutions or questions that can be raised with the principal?
  • Might it be possible to adapt or adjust the layout of the classroom e.g. partitions, re-arranging seating?
  • Is there any flexibility around location of your child's class?
  • Would it be possible to take photos to make a social story for times such as Assembly to prepare your child?

Click here for a copy of this table you can write on.