Your child’s first school and introduction to a learning experience plays a significant role in their attitudes towards lifelong learning as well as helps to develop and shape their character.
As a parent, it is your prime responsibility to ensure that your child has the best first school experience possible. However, many parents are overwhelmed by the thought of finding the ‘perfect school’ for their child. The skills your child learns outside of their home environment in terms of behaviour, social skills and early attitudes to academics are all cultivated during their early years experience. It is therefore really important that you conduct some research on where to send your children to school.
Many factors need to be considered including language, location, cost and the various programmes of curricula offered. In Bangkok there are an overwhelming amount of choices and this can sometimes feel like a daunting task. To make things easier for you we have given you some considerations to help guide you through this important
selection process. In addition, annually we publish a free digital and printed International Schools guide with a fully comprehensive list of schools in Bangkok and a little beyond.
Identify Your Priorities
Identify your priorities in terms of a school near your home or office and how convenient this will be for travel. Moving around Bangkok can be a slow and frustrating journey which is why many families choose to live within close proximity to the school. Next is the choice of specific curriculum, an IB world school, the British or American curriculum and if you need a school that offers a pre-school for younger children as well as options for the secondary years. All school admission offices and web pages display a full list of yearly tuition fees so it’s a good idea to check these in advance. They will also show the additional costs for extra requirements such as, ESL (English second language) classes and school bus transportation.
Make A Short List
Time to now make a shortlist of the schools that meet your individual needs. It’s a good idea to speak to other people with children attending the schools, word of mouth is extremely helpful and you will find families usually won’t recommend a place unless they have had a positive experience. Albeit choosing a school is a very personal decision and sometimes you can make or break a connection during your actual visit.
Visit The Schools
Visiting the schools you select is an incredibly important part of the selection process and try to always visit during school hours. All schools will offer an accompanied tour of the schools facilities, sports arenas and cafeterias. You may request to visit specific year level classrooms to get a better feel of the size and nature of the classes. Here you can observe the teacher to student ratio, if teaching assistants are present, look at samples of class work and generally see if the students are engaged and happy.
A good idea is to come prepared with a list of questions for the school administrators, school hours, food choices, uniform requirements and opportunities for creative play and extra curricular activities. You may also request a meeting with the relevant heads of school to enquire into the schools mission statement and credentials for the schools faculty. Consider whether the school is accredited, what their child safeguarding policy is and what learning support they offer throughout the school. It’s also a good idea to request a sample of the school calendar and for older students a sample of a school timetable to determine the duration and amount of classes per day.
Apply To Several Schools
Do apply to several schools in order to keep your options open. Most schools will have a wait list based on different factors, year level, nationality and if any extra learning support is required. The school admissions department will be able to determine if spaces are available immediately or the length of any waiting list. You can also periodically enquire if more spaces have become available and discuss options of joining in term 1 or 2 if the school is able to only accommodate you later in the academic year.