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If you are thinking of moving in Vancouver, you probably have a checklist of what you want in your new home, and perhaps even your new neighbourhood. If you have children, one major item you should add to this checklist is proximity to schools. However, you don’t want to move close to just any school. Follow this quick guide to find a good school for your kids before your Vancouver move.

Think about schools before you buy a new house in Vancouver

When you are going house hunting in Vancouver, keep in mind the options for your children’s schools. If you want them to stay at their current school, will moving to this area mean driving more? Is it doable? Will you have to apply for cross boundary attendance with your school board?

Otherwise, if you have another school in mind, find out what the catchment area is. There may be certain neighbourhoods you want to focus your house hunting in.

Their age or grade may make a difference here too. If they are about to graduate high school, the commute to a cross-boundary school may be worth it, and you can decide to stop your school hunt altogether. They can graduate with all their friends, take classes with teachers they know, and continue getting guidance from their academic counsellors when applying for universities, scholarships or bursaries. Plus, older kids will know how to take the bus to get to school! So that’s less driving for caregivers!

If they’re quite young, the story may be different. Losing friends will be hard, but they can make new ones too. There may be special circumstances though. For example, if they’re in a French Immersion program, and they won’t be near a similar program at the new home, you may be in a tougher situation with younger kids. The rules may state that transferring out will be a permanent choice. So really consider how important French language or culture is to your family, before making this decision. You could always try the commute for a year, and see how it goes.

Research schools for any location you may move to

If you do not have a specific school in mind, whenever you look into a house location you may want to move in to, ask your realtor about nearby public schools. From there, find out if there are any special programs, like French immersion, gifted programs, art programs or IB, that would be an appealing option for your children. Then, if you are interested in a school or its program offerings, feel free to pay a visit and get a feel for the environment even before you confirm your Vancouver move. Not all schools or school boards will have the same programs, so these need to be researched in advance.

Take a look at private schools for your Vancouver move

Another option to consider when moving in Vancouver is enrolling in private schools. Private schools can provide a more personalized education experience, thanks to smaller class sizes, specialized programs, and plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities, according to ourkids.net. So if there is a private school within a reasonable distance of a home you are considering, it may be a good idea to schedule a tour just to see what they’re all about.

Of course, the other aspect here is budget. Moving in Vancouver can already be expensive. So attending a private school can be an added financial burden. You probably wouldn’t want your child switching out of a private school in a year due to budget constraints. So be sure you know what you’ll be getting into before you enroll in private programs.

Consider what programs your child needs after moving in Vancouver

The most important thing is to focus on your child’s interests and needs. If they are very active and would easily make new friends through team sports, you may want to consider looking for a school with a solid soccer program. Or, if your child loves music and drama, a school with a nice theatre and drama program may help them come out of their shell in the new neighbourhood. After your kids move across Vancouver, having a program at school that engages them and encourages them to build friendships will help them settle in better than anything.

After your Vancouver move, having a good school that meets your child’s needs will make all the difference for settling in to your new home. Be sure to keep school preferences in mind throughout your house hunting process! And of course, once you have found your dream home and are preparing to move in, keep in touch with the school you have chosen. This will help make moving both houses and schools much smoother.

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