The Ministry of Education believes that starting school can be an exciting time for your child and provides wonderful opportunities for them to grow and learn about the world. However choosing the right setting can be a big decision and there are lots of things to consider.
When choosing an early childhood education (ECE) service, school or kura for your child with learning support needs there are even more things to think about such as:
- What to look for.
- Your choices and rights.
- How your child can be supported at school.
Here is some information that will help you choose the right education service for your child.
Choosing an early childhood education service
It's important to choose an ECE service that supports your child so they can be safe, nurtured and able to join in and learn alongside the other children.
All ECEs must provide an inclusive and responsive environment for all children, and it's useful to visit a few services to see if they can provide the support and learning environment you feel is right for your child.
What should I think about when choosing an ECE?
There are lots of things to consider when choosing an ECE such as:
- hours of service,
- cost, and
- services offered.
As well as doing a bit of research and visiting some services, it's also useful to speak to parents of children at the services to see what they think.
For more information on what to consider when choosing an ECE visit the Minsitry of Health website.
Choosing a primary or intermediate school or kura
Children with special education needs have as much right to attend their local school as any other child. Most children with special education needs will be in regular classes and have extra help provided by the school.
For help and advice on how to go about choosing the right school for your child and to understand what support is available to you, visit the Ministry of Education's website.
You'll also find a link to a booklet called "Starting School – Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs".
Choosing a secondary school
There's lots to consider when choosing a secondary school for your child. It's a big change for any child, with new routines, new people and a change to their learning environment.
It's recommended that you start planning for this transition about 12-18 months ahead.
The Ministry of Education's 'Going to School' booklet is packed full of information about what to think about including:
- What happens to the services and support your child currently receives.
- What to expect when your child starts secondary school.
- Choices of schools.
- What to look for when choosing a school.
- Preparing your child.
- Who the support people are at secondary school.
- Preparing to leave secondary school and planning for that too.
To download the booklet and for more information about choosing a secondary school visit the Ministry of Education website.
Find support groups and organisations near you that can help with planning for your child's education.