Guest Post: Which School Is Right for My Child?

Colorado School Grades is a coalition of 18 partner groups. Our guest posts feature these organizations and others, who will offer tips and advice for parents who want to choose or improve a school.

by Marya DeGrow, Research Associate – Education Policy Center, The Independence Institute

Students learn differently. There are three major learning styles: Kinesthetic (experiential), Visual, and Auditory. People usually learn best when they are taught in their primary learning style.

Below are suggestions for which programs may benefit different types of learners. But these are only suggestions. A kinesthetic learner may learn well in a program for visual learners. You know your child best. It is also a good idea to visit the school and see if it is a good fit for your family.

1. Kinesthetic

What are the characteristics of a kinesthetic learner?

Kinesthetic learners are students who learn best by physically experiencing what they are learning about. Sometimes kinesthetic learners need to use all five senses to explore the world. An example of kinesthetic learning is using blocks or beads to learn a math problem. Kinesthetic programs tend to place an emphasis on projects and experiencing what is being learned. Some kinesthetic programs place an emphasis on students working together on projects.

School programs that focus on kinesthetic learners:

  • Montessori
  • Outdoors / Expeditionary
  • Student-centered / Student-directed
  • Experiential
  • Project-based learning

2. Visual

What are the characteristics of a visual learner?

Visual learners are students who learn best by using their eyes to absorb information. An example of visual learning is watching a demonstration or reading a book. Visual programs tend to place an emphasis on learning through reading.

School programs that focus on visual learners:

  • Online (using a computer)
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Back-to-basics
  • College prep
  • Liberal arts
  • Classical

3. Auditory

What are the characteristics of an auditory learner?

Auditory learners are students who learn best by hearing and absorbing information through sound. An example of auditory learning is listening to a teacher lecture. Auditory programs tend to place an emphasis on teacher-led instruction or discussion.

School programs that focus on auditory learners:

  • Back-to-basics
  • Core Knowledge
  • College prep
  • Dual-language
  • Liberal arts
  • Classical

So how do you find a school near you that offers these types of programs?  Go to to search with your address by each of the categories listed above (be sure to scroll down to the second, advanced search).  As an example, you could search for Montessori and Experiential schools for third grade within five miles of your home.  The site has many other categories to refine your search as well, including arts or science focus, flexible schedule, school uniforms, gifted and talented, world languages, and more.