In the past few years, several international schools have come up in different parts of the world. The reason is simple- as global economies become more integrated, individuals are moving to different countries and continents in the hope of a better financial future.
Many state that the growth of expats in different parts of the world is leading to the culture of international schools. International schools are great in terms of providing high-quality education, great infrastructure, and promoting a global culture of awareness and development.
However, given so many options available, how can parents ensure that they are selecting the best international school for their children.
In this article, we speak to experts at a leading international school of Phnom Penh. We ask them to help us come up with a checklist that can help parents who are visiting international schools.
Planning the Visit in an International School
Parents need to adequately plan the actual day of the visit to an international school in great detail. This means that communicating with the school and getting an appointment for the visit. This will ensure that there are no problems when you visit the school with your children.
According to experts, parents should look to spend as much time in a normal working day at the school. This can vary between a full day of school or a half-day till the lunch break.
Planning requires creating a list of things you would want to do on the visit day. These can be-
- Requesting the international school to sit in one of the classes and interact with the other children.
- Talking to the senior management of the school including the Principal, Headmasters, and Teachers.
- Checking for the school’s infrastructure, especially the classrooms, play areas, laboratories, and auditoriums.
- Understanding the syllabus, the course structure, and the accreditation that the international school has.
- Discussing the Fees with the administration and understanding how the payment structure works.
Why Observing Students in Real Classes during Lessons is Important?
It is important to understand that the best international schools will allow you to view real-time classes to ensure that as a parent you best experience what your child will receive.
When permitted the same, parents must pay a lot of attention to the way how the class is being conducted. International schools attract the best teaching talent and observing the teacher can help shed a lot of light on the quality of educations.
Experts suggest looking at the following important things when sitting in a class-
- Looking at the Student-Teacher-Ratio in the classroom. Ideally, it should not be more than 25:1. International schools pay a lot of emphasis on smaller ratios.
- Checking whether the teacher encourages the students to think and share their viewpoints. This encourages free and critical thinking and encourages confidence.
- Understanding the levels of discipline. Whether the class makes a lot of noise, how do transitions work, and are there teaching assistants to help the teacher?
- Is the education being imparted only from textbooks or is the teacher using real-life examples to help the students grasp the topics better.
Once you can look for these important things, you will be in a much better position to make the final choice.
What about the Fees and their Payment Structure in an International School?
There is no doubt that when compared to the fees in normal public schools, international schools are expensive. However, for the extra money that you will end up paying, your child will benefit in a lot of positive ways.
Understand what is the model of payment, how often the fees need to be paid and what exactly is the payment structure, including the admission process.
Many expats that are busy in terms of the work and are constantly on the move, prefer to pay the fees for six months to a year at one go. You must ask these questions to the administration well in advance.
The Bottom Line
As a parent, you need to try your best to get a one-on-one session with the Principal of the school. Talk freely about what you are expecting and whether the school will help fulfil the same. Choosing a school is probably the most important decision you will take on behalf of your children. A good school can set them up for life, while a bad one can have a poor effect on building the right foundation.
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