When considering moving to China, one of the most important factors to consider is education for your child. While raising a child in China, it’s important that he or she gets the right kind of education. Many expat families living in China opt for international schools. Their curricula ensure that your child will receive a Western education along with a blend of other cultures and languages. For many, they have the perfect environment to put your child on the right path in life.
What to look for?
Choosing the right kind of school becomes important when raising children in China. One of the important factors to look for is location of the school. If you are living in a big city like Beijing, commuting time can be daunting. It is important to choose a school that is near your house.
Keep in mind that international schools are popular among expat families and securing a place in your school of choice can be difficult. Under such circumstances, decide as soon as possible and also keep a list of back-up schools to try out.
Another important factor is the school’s curriculum. English language is a must, especially for higher education and job market. Extra-curricular activities are also important as they help your child explore other areas of interest in terms of sports, drama, music, etc. Many schools have state of the art facilities for such activities. But the quality of the school is much more than the campus it is on. Look at the school’s website. Schedule a Skype interview with an administrator, and another in person upon your arrival. Most school admins are more than happy to have you sit in on classes.
Preparing your child
Starting afresh in an unknown country can be overwhelming for your child. They will need all your support to get through the initial period. Here are a few things to do to prepare your child for the new school:
- Emphasize adjustment first: It is important that your child healthily adjusts to fitting in with other children. Grades aren’t as important at first. Allow some time for coping with the new situation. Discuss issues with them to help get through the first few days of the school.
- Academics could be tougher: If you’re transitioning from a public school in your home country, your child may not be on par with the students in his or her new school. Remember that international schools should probably be compared with more elite schools. Work with your child to rise to this challenge.
- Discuss daily: Discuss with your child regarding their daily experiences at school. If the child is unhappy for some reason, talk them through. If it is a serious issue like bullying or isolation, then visit the school and talk to teachers.
- Organize a party: After a few weeks of school, organize a party to give your child an opportunity to socialize with his/her classmates outside of the classroom and make new friends.
The important thing is that your child should be comfortable with the school you choose. After all, your child’s happiness and attitude is going to have a great impact on your time in China. Be sure it’s a positive one.
If you are looking for an international school in the following cities: Chengdu, Qingdao, Wuxi, Shenyang, Tianjin or Wuhan, I personally recommend checking out International Schools of China. It is a consortium of school that I had the pleasure of working with for several years. The faculty and staff are amazing and the holistic approach toward the student is incredible. Check out their individual school websites:
- Chengdu International School
- International School of Qingdao
- International School of Wuxi
- Shenyang International School
- Tianjin International School
- Wuhan Yangtze International School