How to Choose an International School in Kenya
Choosing a school is a trying decision for most parents. Schools serve as a child’s long, winding path of learning. Thus the path needs to be selected carefully and wisely, which is easier said than done. Kenya’s international schools sector offers an array of options to most parents. The availability of numerous choices creates the inevitable question in a parents mind, “Which school shall I choose?”. The following blog post will try to offer a checklist for parents to use while sifting through the options in front of them:
1. Gather credible information about the school
As they say, information is power. Selecting an international school requires you to gather information from friends, family, magazines and the internet. When evaluating schools, you may also have to make phone calls, collect written material from different schools and look for reports in your local paper to get the information you need. You can find reliable school information online on sites such as www.international_schools_database.com. The hard work will be worth your while if you find a school that brings out the best in your child.
Parents need to learn about the international school’s curricula, philosophy, policies and services. Parents may also wish to consider the after-school programs a school offers, for example, sports, clubs, tutoring, or academic enrichment.
2. Talk to the principal
Parents need close to 30 minutes with a school’s principal in order to get a good sense about the school. Interactions with the principal allows parents to address common topics of interest such as curriculum, approach to learning, academic performance, behavioral policies, safety and special offerings.
- Does the school have a strong program of core academic subjects such as English, history, mathematics, science, arts, and foreign languages?
- What courses does the school offer in addition to the core subjects?
- What evidence is there that the school is effectively teaching students to read?
- Does the school have a special focus or theme for the curriculum?
Approach To Learning:
- Does the school have a particular approach to teaching and learning? If yes, do you think your child will enjoy and learn from this approach?
- Does the school do all it can to make sure each child learns? Does it provide opportunities for children to get extra help when they need it?
School fees form a basis for parents asking how to choose an international school in Kenya.Very often parents tend to enroll their children only in the most expensive private/international schools – assuming they are the best, courtesy their exorbitant fees and an impressive array of hi-tech facilities. This is a common misconception and need not be true. There are several reputable international schools across the country which are not only a lot cheaper but also give a comparable/better quality of education to their students. Parents need to focus on whether they are getting full value for the money they are paying in terms of quality, safety, facilities, extra-curricular activities and the assurance that the all-round development of your child is being taken care of in the best way possible.
4. Facilities & Services
Parents assessing a Kenyan international school’s facilities fave a plurality of questions to ask. The following questions are a snap shot of frequently asked questions:
- Is there a well-stocked library where students can check out books and do research? Are reading materials available in other languages?
- Is there a sports complex with swimming, football, basketball & netball?
- Is time provided in the day for students to go to the library?
- Do students have access to computers and to the Internet in the classroom and library?
- Is use of the Internet monitored?
- Is there an auditorium or a large room for school assemblies?
- Is a school nurse on duty daily?
- Is there a cafeteria, and does the school offer a nutritionally well-balanced lunch program? Breakfast program?
- Are there tutoring programs?
- Are counseling services available to students?
- Is the school accessible to children with mobility limitations?
5. Trust your gut instincts
Assessment of all the information on hand should allow you to pick the right school for your child’s success. Despite making the calculated decision, you must also make sure the decision rests well with your gut instincts. Your children will not be comfortable in an institution that you have doubts over. Make the informed choice, as well as the choice that lets you rest easy.
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