CHOOSING a school for your child is a huge decision. As parents, we wonder: Will my child be happy here? Will they feel welcomed and supported? Does the school offer plenty of opportunities to bring out the best in them? Is this really the right fit for them?
The best way of making your decision is by visiting your shortlisted school(s) in person. Luckily, it’s the time of the year when many international schools are opening their doors.
Visiting schools in person has plenty of benefits: the chance to explore a school’s campus, witness teaching and learning in action, meet current teachers and families, and get a real feel for the school’s culture and community. Discover the top three reasons to attend a School Open Day here.
Here are four top tips for making the most of your school visit:
Do your research beforehand
Before visiting a school, you should have gleaned everything you can from their website and social media channels beforehand: their curriculum, facilities, exam results and so on. By doing your research, you will be able to focus on what matters most at the school of your choice – the teaching and learning aspect of your child’s life.
Focus on the learning
Most school visits give you the chance to tour the school’s campus and facilities. It’s easy to be wowed by fancy facilities – but what’s really going to have the biggest impact on your child’s academic progress and wellbeing? Their teachers.
When you have the opportunity to witness some teaching and learning ‘in action’, try not to rush past. Even without stepping directly inside a classroom, you should be able to do the following:
• Look out for levels of student engagement. Do the children seem on task, busy and interested in their learning? Because they should!
• Are all children doing the same thing, or can you see evidence of differentiation (different tasks for different abilities)? Great teachers will ensure every child is supported and challenged, wherever they are at in their learning.
• Do the children look happy? No child can learn if they feel nervous, scared or worried. Happy children are great learners.
• Do the children seem comfortable asking their teacher for help? Can you see evidence of warm, positive teacher-student relationships? Positive relationships are crucial for children in a learning environment.
Get to know the teachers
You should feel confident knowing that the teachers guiding your child every day are passionate, qualified, experienced and able to support your child in every step of their learning journey. During your school visit, you may ask these questions to the teachers and senior leaders that you meet.
• What qualifications do the teachers have? And if they join the school unqualified, is the school investing in training or supporting them to become qualified?
• How do they ensure the ongoing professional development of teachers? The best schools worldwide offer weekly professional development and training for their teaching teams.
Talk to everyone
If you visit a school at any time, you should have the chance to meet current members of the school community - students, parents and teachers. Speaking to them will help you learn about what the school is really like on a day-to-day basis, so ask them as much as you can. In fact, its recommended going with a list of questions about things that really matter to you - What clubs and sports are on offer? As a parent, what activities can you get involved in? How do the teachers assess and communicate information about student progress and achievements?
Keeping these four tips in mind should help make your school visit as valuable as possible for you and your family!
Finding the right school is a tough decision, but you’re already doing the right thing by reading this article. Hopefully, by attending an Open Day, you will have a clear sense of which school is the right one for your child - but remember, it’s not just about the obvious things on offer.
The best schools equip their students with the right skills, habits, character traits and confidence to last a lifetime, and are committed in engaging their parent community too. Make sure to look out for what’s happening beyond the classroom.
Born to stand out?
100% scholarships are also available for outstanding A-Level students at Garden International School. Register your interest today by visiting gardenschool.edu.my
Prepare your child for the road ahead, visit GIS Open Days on Mar 5 (Primary & Secondary) Y1 to Y13 and Mar 12 (Early Years Centre) Nursery and Reception. Get #packedforlife at GIS. Full application fee waived for Open Day Attendance. (Terms and conditions apply)
Can’t make it to their Open Days? GIS doors are open (almost) every day. Book your personal tour online at gardenschool.edu.my or call their admissions team at 03-6209 6888.
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