Obviously, I took the easiest way out in choosing a school for my children- my former school. I say its the easy way because I do not need to put in hours of volunteer work at the school just so i can have a chance to ballot for a place. Choosing this route means, I am more or less guaranteed a spot for my children; no uncertainty no stress.
I used to tell my friends that even if my school is the worst in Singapore, I would still choose this path just to avoid the undue stress. However, I am fortunate that I came from a relatively good school- not 'branded', not top of the tops.
Parents who have gone before me, that is, already have kids attending this school, are all raving about this school. Not because it guarantees supreme academic results. In fact, the principal have told them academics is secondary, character building comes first. This school is good because it is holistic, it does not over emphasis on grades alone but considers non-academics and character building as equally important. And i have seen my niece's report book. 95% of the report was on her character & behaviour while a tiny 5% of it was on her grades. That shows me this school, truly place grades at the bottom. I like that. I am so happy that this is my school, the same school my children are going. Phew. What a relief.
To be honest, if my Alma mater was one of those highly sought after schools, I would reconsider sending my kids there. I would much rather take a chance at balloting other schools than to send my kids to 'branded' school. As I have shared with other moms, my number one criteria in choosing a school is: It mustn't be too academic focus. The more it is, the further I would run away from it. Even if it is just 10 steps away from my house, I would rather my child travel the distance to a less academic focus school.
Why? If my kids go to any of these schools, i foresee 6 years of academic stress. Mind you, that is just for ONE child. Two children? You do the math. Even if I go in with a mind that I would not be bothered by their lousy grades, I suspect along the way I would be sucked into the rat race at one point in time. If it's not because other kids are doing way better than mine (causing mine to feel lousy about themselves) than it would be due to the teachers constant reminders that my kids need to buck up. I don't want that kind of life for my children and me for the next 6 years- thank you. I am sorry but there is no way a parent would be undeterred by the rat race. You choose a school that is competitive, you have no say in opting out of the race. N.O S.A.Y.
But well, there are parents who think otherwise.
Anyway, my definition of a good school is
1) Not overly focus on academics. The school's learning journey must not be stressful but must be at an acceptable pace.
2) Distance. The school must not be ridiculously far from my place. When i mean far, i mean anything more than 30-40 minutes of journey.
3) Demographics of the students in the school. As much as this may make me sound like an elitist, i feel this is important. I do not want my children to spend their 6 years with other kids who come from families with different values as ours. I know it is hard to control who joins the school but certain schools do attract certain types of families.
Fortunately, the school of our choice meets all of my requirements (or maybe the school has pre-set my criteria). I am happy and thank the heavens that my mother enrolled me into this school because now i can enrol mine! Actually, my own mom (and aunt) were from the same school too! This makes sonshine & doll the third generation in my family to attend this school. Wow, that's surreal! Hopefully, we can make a forth generation! :P