When preparing for your child's school admission, you leave no stones unturned to teach him basic answers, manners, discipline, even the alphabet. But do you ever do anything to prepare yourself? Believe it or not, schools nowadays have an equal number of questions they ask the parents of the child, and unless you are prepared for them, your interview can impact your child's chances negatively. Be warned - the intensity of these parent-teacher interviews may surprise you!
Is Your Child Ready for School?
Before we take a look at how to prepare for the school admission interview, it is important to first assess an important point: is your child ready to go to school?
WATCH: The Best Age to Start School
Key Takeaway: As explained in the video, different countries around the world have different 'minimum-age' regulations at the time of school admissions. In India, a child should be 6 years old when he reaches the first standard. However, it is important to evaluate your child and his capabilities, before seeking admission to a school.
12 School Admission Interview Questions for Parents
Check out our list of teacher-parent interview questions that parents often need to face, and a few tricks on the right way to deal with them.
1. What are your educational and professional qualifications?
This question sets the base for the rest of the interview as the interviewing panel (yes, it's a panel!) will align their questions with your answer. Talk about your education, and your career and how you plan to use your background to nurture your child in his educational journey.
2. Do you live in a joint or nuclear family? How many people are there at home?
Raising a child is a full-time task and who knows it better than you. The school wants to figure out if you have help at home to guide the child on a day-to-day basis. If you do live in a joint family, good for you. Else, talk about how you have help from extended family and neighbours whenever needed.
3. Are you both working? How do you plan to coordinate with your child's school timings?
A school day has multiple points of consideration – timings, transport, homework and meetings, to start with. If you are a working couple, you need to be clear about how you plan to pick your child from school or ensure he reaches home safely. You also need to focus on your plans to take time out for your child's education and day-to-day school tasks.
4. How have you prepared your child for school?
This is one of the most important nursery interview questions for parents. Your baby is now going to be in a big school with many other kids, and take big lessons in alphabets, numbers and the world around him. Discuss the lessons you have imparted to your preschooler – colours, shapes, etc. - and the methods you have used for the same, say storytelling or picture books.
5. Is your child potty trained?
This is going to be a must for school and you need to ensure your child is potty trained before he can commence school for a number of hours every day. This is one of the most important questions for parents about their child and definitely one you need to be affirmative about!
6. How would you describe your child's nature? Has he had problems with biting or hitting other kids?
Don't let this question scare you. It is normal for many toddlers to develop aggressive behaviour for some time in their growing years. Describe your child's positive qualities and how you have taught him to play and learn in harmony with others.
7. Why did you select our school? Have you applied to other schools as well?
The school wants to understand your intention of selecting their organization and where you heard about them. Talk about the school's history, curriculum, faculty and also other factors such as proximity to your home or transport. It is okay to be honest about your other applications as it is natural for parents to try every suitable avenue for their child.
8. Is your child a fussy eater? What are his daily meals like?
Since your child will spend considerable time at school, it becomes the teachers' responsibility to take care of his diet and ensure he eats and drinks enough. Talk about his day to day eating habits and what kind of lunchboxes you plan to send along.
9. Have you ever punished your child? Why and how did you do it?
Punishment can be a necessary part of education and sometimes becomes essential to teach discipline. Mention the ways you have disciplined your child in the past – by setting a bedtime curfew, denying a favourite food item etc. Make sure you get two points across very well – you value discipline but you also value gentle and constructive ways to implement it.
10. Is your child on schedule with your child's vaccinations? Has he had a case of serious illness in the past?
Since your child will be in contact with several others – and also more possible sources of infection – this is crucial. Make sure you're up to date in all necessary vaccinations. Be honest about past medical records. This information will not affect your child's candidature in any way. In fact, it will help the school better care for your child, and other children too.
11. What are your dreams for your child? How do you want us to help fulfil them?
This may seem premature but you may well be asked about your career ambition for your child. Discuss the plans you have for your preschooler, however basic, and how you plan to work in tandem with the school to fulfil your ambitions for your child.
12. How is your marriage? Do you have frequent arguments at home?
Though seemingly personal, this is an important question from the school's perspective. A child can grow fully and study hard only if he has peace of mind at home. Clearly discuss your home environment. Even if there is unrest, make sure you convey that you won’t let this affect your child at all.
9 School Admission Interview Questions Parents Should Ask
It’s time to turn the tables around! You have as much a right to get to know about the school you are considering for your child, as the school has to know about you and your child. So, here are a few questions you should ask when you go for a school interview.
NOTE: Some schools have an informal gathering of the parents where they are taken through all facilities the school has to provide to your child. Others may want to address your questions about the school only if your child is selected or admitted to the school. So before you bombard the interviewing panel with your questions, ask them if now is the right time, or whether you will be required to come in again later. Proceed accordingly.
1. What kind of approach to teaching does the school have?
Do they give a lot of homework? Do they place equal importance on class-room as well as hands-on learning? Do they encourage sports? You want your child to develop in a holistic fashion, rather than just become a good ‘test-taker’, so make sure the school can cater to this requirement.
2. What kind of extracurricular activities are offered?
This is a follow-up to the above question. Find out what kind of extracurricular activities are offered at the school: drama circle, choir, sports, fine arts, music, etc. You can even find out about visits, excursions and picnics the school has each year: how they are organised, how the safety of kids is ensured on these trips, etc.
3. What does the school do to help and encourage its weaker lot?
Every school, no matter how hard they try, will have examples of children that belong to either end of the spectrum. Ask the school what they do to motivate those that are slow or face challenges while learning, as well as what they do to further boost and enhance the top-performers. What do they do to embolden shy or introverted kids?
4. How does the school view discipline and punishment?
While discipline is important, no school should ever resort to corporal or physical punishment to ensure the students do not misbehave. Find out what measures the school takes to deal with bratty or rowdy children.
5. Does the school actively promote value education?
It is not enough for your child to become intelligent – it is equally important he grows up to be a good human being. Seeing as children spend long hours in school, it is important that they grow up in a nurturing environment where they are taught to be kind, compassionate, helpful, along with maths, science, and history!
6. What safety measures does the school have in place?
This involves making learning spaces safe for the child (in terms of accidents), having good medical facilities in the unfortunate instance of an accident, as well as hiring reliable and trustworthy staff (teaching and non-teaching both) that will in no way harm or harass the child (sexually or otherwise).
7. What are the qualifications of the teachers?
This one is a no-brainer. While most reputed schools will have qualified teaching staff, there is no point in living in regret later. So, do not assume anything, and inquire about this too.
8. How intensive is the term?
While we want our children to learn, school is also about having fun! Find out things like what a typical school day looks like, whether children are pressurised to be on track with homework or given some amount of leeway, and of course, how many hours does schooltime last!
9. How is progress assessed?
This is especially important for children who have trouble taking exams owing to problems like attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), or just because they are energetic kids! It is important – at least at the preschool and kindergarten stage – to ensure children are learning, rather than simply taking tests.
School Admission Interview Dos and Don’ts
The same rules that apply to a job interview, apply to a school admissions interview, with respect to the dos and dont's.
Observe the school grounds, especially keeping an eye out for hygiene, safety, and facilities.
Do your homework well. Make sure you read through the entire website of the school. Try and talk to current students or alumni. Don’t ask questions to which answers can be found online on the school website.
Say it like it is. There is no problem if your child is not a model student. The reason you want to put your child in school is so he grows into a responsible adolescent. Answer uncomfortable questions as honestly as you can, and don’t feel obligated to present your child in only a positive light.
Don’t lie. While you want them to like you and your child, don’t give falsified or exaggerated answers to get them to take your child in.
Do not pretend or try to impress. It is important the school get the true and genuine picture of you and your child when they interview you.
Do let us know the interview questions you had to face so we can add them to our list and help each other!
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