When trying to find the best expat school for our children, we usually rely on information we find online, which is usually based on standardised exam results. However, great schools provide an environment where children are safe and cared for. You want to choose a school for your child that is not just good, but great!
How do the best expat schools provide a safe and nurturing environment?
They have clear policies in place, such as anti-bullying and mindfulness, to promote positive student behaviour and an inclusive environment of respect, compassion and cooperation. Academically, the kids are challenged, encouraged to be creative and reach our of their comfort zones. This makes them happy and fosters self-confidence.
Great schools guarantee competent teachers who are up to date with the latest teaching methods and see value in cooperating with parents to maximise their children’s learning potential.
While academically driven, great schools do not forget to allow children to play. They have modern playground equipment and facilities which fosters kids’ physical and cognitive development.
The school’s culture should also be a decisive factor. There should be a strong sense that children belong to a family, where everyone from admin staff to academic staff to managers work towards a shared purpose. Students should be engaged in the community via student organizations. Parents should be part of the community via PTAs, welcoming groups, and the organization of various school events.
How do I choose a great school for my child?
Once you have decided the best type of school, you now want to find a great one. The Academic Board of EEE Awards flies around the world, assessing schools on the following four criteria:
- School Management
- Parental Support
The first step is to check their website and see if one of your target schools has received an academic assessment. If it has not, we recommend contacting us to see if we can work with the school to arrange one.
Here is a list of questions we recommend asking schools directly.
- Are students challenged and encouraged to be academically competitive, creative and reach out of their comfort zones?
- Are teachers competent and up to date with the latest professional development standards specific to their subject?
- Are children happy to come to school? It is as simple as that!
- Is learning student-oriented and take into account the diversity of cognitive development in each class? Are teachers prepared to reach out to each child in their class according to their individual needs?
- Is there extra language support for children whose first language is not the language of the school?
- Are facilities monitored in order to keep the school safe and the children cared for?
- Are the classrooms equipped with the latest technology?
- Are there modern and safe indoor and outdoor playground facilities in order to provide both recreation as well as physical and cognitive development?
- What about a first-aid unit?
- What about transportation to and from school? How is that monitored, how is the safety of the children ensured?
- Are there policies in place such as anti-bullying and mindfulness which guarantee an inclusive environment of respect, cooperation and compassion?
- Does the management offer continuous professional development for their academic staff in order to guarantee maximum teacher competence and effectiveness?
- What communication strategies are there in place to keep parents on track regarding their children’s progress?
- What about open-door policies, which guarantee direct access to management?
- Is there a welcoming board to help new parents integrate into ‘the family’?
- What direct communication methods can parents use to reach their child’s teacher and the rest of the school personnel?
- Are there opportunities for parents to be directly involved in the school life?
- How does the school help parents who might not speak the language of the school/country in which they live?