Yes, it is quite an important decision – to choose the best school for your child, even more so when you know that you are on the lookout for a quality international school. Congratulations on narrowing down the type of school you want for your child – international. Now you only have to know which one is best suitable for your child, your family, and your convenience. But before you skip over to that step, there is some groundwork that is required to be done for a more firm and informed decision.
STEP 1 – Know your child
“I’ve been by my child’s side since she (or he) was born. How can I not know her (or him)?” Although this seems like a very obvious fact, most of us would not know some details about our child simply because we overlook them or of other factors. Knowing your child is not only about your child’s physical or educational needs.
What are your Child’s needs?
A child has other essential needs as well – emotional, social, mental, spiritual, motor, lingual, creative, intellectual, etc. – that together make him / her the wholesome person you want to see them as. You can see what is your child’s comfort level when it comes to learning an activity or lesson by analyzing; how structured or unstructured an environment he should have, how tough a task will he manage, does he need more individual attention or can he do better in groups, what are his challenges in learning – with regard to learning disabilities, what kind of environment motivates him to be creative and expressive?
What is your Child’s Learning Style?
Because every child has different needs of varying degrees, their learning style would also vary depending on their interests or even their distraction level. This is the reason why there are different learning styles infused in international schools, some even adopt them as their primary approach to teaching. So, observe how he picks up and retains information. Is he stimulated through visual / auditory stimuli? Does he relate better through reading by himself or listening to somebody explain the something? Is he more inclined to group activities, prefers to do some self-learning or a mix of both? What about his musical, artistic, scientific, logical, analytical, kinesthetic and other such instincts?
When you are moderately aware of these specific needs in your child, you will able to make a wiser decision. Remember, all children are unique. Most of them do have similar needs, but the degree of that need varies from child to child – even in the case of siblings or twins.
STEP 2 – Be informed (International Residential School in Bengaluru)
Once you know what “your” needs are representing your child, you will be better equipped to find an international school. And if you want a boarding school, in particular, you should be all the more convinced that the school offers space and growth for all of those needs that were discussed above. Scan through the list of potential international residential schools in Bengaluru and keep this checklist handy as you scour through every school you are interested in.
Infrastructure – This may be considered as the most important factor for a sound school. A school is a place where your child will get more than just an education. So the physical environment must be well-equipped and stimulating enough. At the least, an international residential school in Bengaluru should be 7-10 acres in land coverage. The basic infrastructure includes – hostels (for both boys and girls if it is a co-ed system), laboratories, a library, good digitalized classrooms, internet facility, basic transportation, clean washrooms, a play area or sports infrastructure, etc.
Facilities – other provisions are equally important to consider. These may include – well-balanced & nutritious meals in a hygienic cafeteria; 24/7 medical aid & regular health check-ups; counseling (& career counseling) services; special sessions on social issues; personality development, and awareness programs; special tutoring; anytime access to teachers & mentors for parents & guardians; sports facilities & a choice of sporting activities; social empowerment activities; field trips & tours, etc.
Curriculum & Pedagogy – It is mandatory that the school is accredited, given the fact that too many schools have cropped up in the city with some being fake ones. Knowing that a school is accredited will also help you be careful if someone approaches you with an unusual fee structure. The curriculums offered at international schools are usually CBSE, IGCSE, and some schools may also offer IBDP. Each curriculum has a pedagogy & a student-teacher ratio streamlined accordingly that also considers the needs of the student. Make a thorough check on how each of these curriculums works and if they fit in with your child’s needs, you can shortlist those schools that offer that particular curriculum.
Safety – This is definitely a priority, especially in a boarding school environment. There should be experienced security guards of an adequate number along with CCTV cameras patrolling the campus. Apart from physical safety, children require other modes of safety as well. They need to be monitored while using the internet, they need to feel emotionally secure with trustworthy teachers, mentors & counselors on the campus, they should have access to first-aid, protection from potential anti-social activities & influences, and trained sports facilitators and sturdy equipment at the play-area or the sports field should be ensured.
STEP 3 - Know the school
After Step 1 and Step 2 is complete, you would be able to shorten your list of selected schools (preferably 2-3). Focusing on these shortlisted schools, you can study them in depth. Read up reviews and speak to parents of children still studying there or have passed on to become its alumni. To do this, it is highly recommended that you visit the school in person, with your child to really observe the physical and social environment of the school. Going only by the website or online reviews may not give you a bigger or a more realistic picture of what the place actually is.
Observe the school – Enquire about their educators & verify their profiles if need be. Scan the school’s achievements in academics and in sports & extra-curricular activities. How well do they communicate and keep the parents informed about their wards’ specific and overall performances?
Study the school culture that is inculcated there – Ask questions that you are really concerned about. Don’t feel shy to do so – this is about giving a good stand to your child’s future. Speak to the teachers, students, and other staff members. Are they positive, pro-active, respectful of others, eager to learn, disciplined? Do they seem respectful of cultural diversity, as expected of an international school experience?
Then tally that with what you have heard from other parents and reviews. That’ll also set a tone for the school’s reputation that you are definitely trying to gauge. Lastly, observe your child’s responses while in the school campus to see if he / she is relaxed, excited, intimidated, or bored. Ask your child how he /she feels about the place. Then, take the final call.
Wanting to seek the best for our children is a very normal, impulsive, human thing to do. But a certain degree of logic and mindfulness is required to make a good decision – one that we would not regret. You can start by enquiring about Jain International Residential School (JIRS), located in a sprawling 350-acre space on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The school has been creating trendsetters out of its students in various fields and has been ranked as one of the top international residential schools in the country.