Parents in the West Island got an education in picking the right high school for their children on Saturday.

The bilingual information session was held by education speaker and headmaster of West Island College Michel Lafrance, who offered some tips. He said parents should get a head start on learning about what different secondary schools have to offer.

“Certainly by grade four, I encourage parents to attend open houses without the child just to get a sense of where the schools are at and what schools they might think are a good fit,” he said.

Lafrance told parents they should conduct their own research by looking online but also important is getting first hand experience at each school. He said parents should trust their guts while attending open houses but also pay attention to what their children say.

He noted that children often have different ideas of which school would be best and could be influenced by where their friends are going. He recommended having an open dialogue on the subject between parent and child.

“It’s a difficult conversation to have at home, but it’s one that’s necessary,” he said. “My recommendation to that is to work with the child, go through the website with them, go to the open house with them, take them on a private tour of the school, inquire if the child can spend some time in the school to see what it’s like. The more the child sees the advantages that you, as a parent, are seeing, perhaps they will start to see it’s the right choice for them.”