Selecting the right school for your child can be challenging at the best of times, but if you live in a new city or country, the task can be made doubly difficult. You may need the school to be close to where you work, near transportation links such as the BTS or MRT, or perhaps you have other restrictions such as needing some requiring additional support for your child. These are all significant factors to consider before you have even considered the budget and language!
As the leading international kindergarten in Bangkok, we appreciate parents’ problems when selecting a school for their child. We always take the time to meet parents in person and discuss what they want for their child and hope to allay any fears on concerns that they may have. Hopefully, if you are currently searching for a school for your child, this guide will give you a few pointers regarding the things you need to consider when making your choice.
Bangkok is a sprawling city, and while transport links such as the BTS, MTR and even the expressways are excellent, central Bangkok can be incredibly congested. From our experience, we have found that parents usually want their child to attend a school that is relatively close to where they live or work and can be easily accessed and the start and end of the school day. You may have a radius from your home in mind, or you might want a school close to one of the mass transit stations. Whatever your criteria are, you should draw up a list of all the matching schools.
The elimination process
Some lists can contain literally dozens of options depending on how broad or narrow your criterion was. Of course, some of these schools won’t be appropriate due to the language or curriculum, while others may not have the facilities you feel would suit your child. While we always try to avoid the topic of cost, some schools may be beyond your means financially while others may not be to the standard that you require. There are many reasons why you may feel that some schools aren’t appropriate, and often gut feeling plays a part. Ideally, it would help if you tried to draw up a shortlist of three to five schools.
Do your research
Once you have drawn up your shortlist, it is worth starting your due diligence with most information readily available online. You may be looking to find out factual information such as exam grades, teacher turnover, and cost, but it is subjective information that you are trying to find out more often than not. For instance, are pupils and teachers happy at the school, are the facilities of a good standard, what is their attitude toward discipline and what is the communication like between the school and parents? These are all things that most parents want to know before they select which school their child should attend.
One way to find out more subjective information is by talking to other parent and generally listening to word of mouth. Parents are usually quite happy to discuss their feelings about the school, and while you can expect that some views will be polarised, if you speak to a handful of individuals, you should get an accurate picture of what school life will be like. Once you have started to build up this picture, you can probably begin to draw up a final shortlist.
Arrange a visit
We would always recommend that you visit all of the schools that you are considering. Some parents prefer to go alone while others will take their son or daughter with them. Of course, this is down to personal preference, but for older children, we would recommend that they come along as their feedback could be vital.
When you are at the school, you should visit at least one of the classrooms to get an impression of what lessons will be like. How many children are in the class, are there any teaching assistants present and are the children participating and interested in the lesson? If all of these questions are answered favourably, it is a very positive sign. Observing a break time will also give you a good indication of what life will be like. How do the children get on and play together, is there a strong adult presence watching the children and are there any organised activities they can take part in? Again, if the children appear happy, this would suggest that the same will be the case for your child.
Facilities and school activities
For younger children, particularly those of kindergarten age, the facilities and school activities will be important. Much of your child’s learning at this young age will be through play, so are there things that would grab your child’s interest. What equipment is available in the play areas and do the children go on any trips may be things you wish to consider. Engaging with a child and making learning fun is crucial at a young age and can influence their future attitude toward school.
Generally, schools with better facilities and arrange more activities both in and out of regular school time help pupils develop emotionally and academically – things that will stand them in good stead for the future. Of course, the people in the school are the most important factor, but facilities and activities come a very close second.
Parental involvement and flexibility
Most parents want to play an active role in their child’s schooling, and most learning establishments actively encourage this. However, if a school tends to resist parental involvement, it may be a cause for concern. There should also be a fair amount of flexibility, especially for younger pupils. You will probably get a “vibe” for the school’s attitude when you visit, but it is worth discussing with other parents to get their opinions.
Did you find our article interesting?
We hope this article gave you some ideas about what you should consider when selecting a school for your child. At Kidz Village, we believe in being open with all our students and parents, whatever the circumstances, and we hope that this helps them make a final decision about their choice of school. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 or contact us directly via our website.