What to look for in a school

What to look for in a school

GUIDE


Now that you have made up your mind to enroll your child into an international school, how do you pick one? For despite what you may think, there are quite a number of international school options to pick from in south India.

International schools are private schools that generally follow a curriculum that is international or from the United States or the United Kingdom. Although these schools are geared towards children who are not citizens of India, do not assume that your child will only be surrounded by children from the US or the UK. You will find international schools that admit children who are native to India as well. Your child will possibly be going to school with students from all over the world.

This can be a great learning experience for them in terms of being exposed to other cultures and learning how to get along with different people.

Generally, grades K-12 are taught at the international schools and extracurricular activities are encouraged just as they probably are at your child’s current school. In most schools, English is the primary language spoken and used as a teaching medium; however, I have seen some schools where it is used as a secondary language. This is something to verify when you are visiting schools.

What to consider

Here are some things that you should be sure to obtain answers for when researching international schools for your child:

*Is the school accredited? 

* Does the school follow the US or the Indian school year?

Institutes vary in terms of following India’s holiday schedule or the US holiday schedule so it will be good to know if your child’s vacation/ holiday schedule coincides with your own. 

* What backgrounds do the teachers have?

There are some schools that will employ teachers from all over the world. Ask to see a list of teachers and their credentials – every school should be able to provide this to you. 

* What kind of standardised tests are there to gauge academic progress?

This can be helpful for older children to ensure that they are progressing well and in line with their peers at home. 

* Will transportation be provided by the school for your child? You will find that most schools have free buses that will pick up and drop-off your child either from home or a near by stop.

*What extracurricular activities are provided by the school?

Most schools will have a list of sports and arts and craft activities for your child to choose from; however, there are some schools that will offer more options that would be of interest if your child plans to apply to colleges in the United States. For example, Junior Achievement, United Nations, Toastmasters, etc. 

* What are the classrooms like? Do not forget to check out where your child will be spending most of his/her time. Some schools have air-conditioned classrooms and some do not. Also check out all the other facilities on the campus (gym, play area, cafeteria, etc). 

* What kind of food is available in the cafeteria?

This will give you an idea of whether or not you will have to pack lunch for your child and if there are any dietary considerations that need to be addressed. 

* What kind of parent-teacher interaction is there?

Some schools have formed a PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) or their version of a PTA, which allows for constant updates between parents and teachers. In addition to that, many schools have a close-knit community of parents, which could be helpful during the time your child is in attendance at the school and to answer any questions you may have prior to going through the admissions process. 

* How does the school help your child adjust to his/her new environment?

Since your child will be spending numerous hours a day at school, you will want to check on how teachers and staff help your child adjust to what could be a very difficult change. 

* Does the school offer any options for the summer?

You may want to find out if there are summer camps that the school sponsors or day camps during the summer months. This is good especially if both parents are working.
There are a number of international schools options in south India. The best advice I can give all you parents out there is to really take time and research each school, talk to your colleagues who have also moved to India and find out what their opinions are as well. Remember, not all children need the same things so find the best fit for your child.

The article was originally published on Chillibreeze.
Chillibreeze is a content development company that routinely works with Indian freelance writers. ‘International Boarding Schools of India’ an ebook with facts, figures and tips for international schools, is available on
www.chillibreeze.com.

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