How do you prepare your child when they are about to study at an international school for the first time?
Starting at a new school can be a daunting experience for any student, but how do you prepare your child when they are about to study at an international school for the first time?
At St Andrews International School Dusit we understand that starting a new school can be a daunting experience for both parents and children. This milestone in a young person's life should be an exciting and inspiring time, but often concerns about a new environment and leaving old friends behind, will place unnecessary pressure on a child.
We therefore make it a priority to ensure all new students due to attend St Andrews Dusit are happy about transitioning to our school, particularly if they have never studied at a British International School before. A brand new school is an unfamiliar place even if a student is comfortable in their new surroundings - when a child attends an international school for the first time they will also encounter languages and cultural differences they are unaccustomed to.
Children of nursery school age are normally fairly easy going about stepping into a new classroom and will often be happy once they can communicate over a sandpit or across an art table. We find that older students may focus on the practicalities of finding the bathroom, what they do at lunchtime, and if they have everything they need in their school bag.
Whether your child is worrying about their new school, or you as the parent are concerned about what is ahead of them - here is some great advice to prepare you both for the adventure ahead!
St Andrews Dusit’s Guide to transitioning to an international school
Book a tour to visit us! You will meet our teachers and students, discover the facilities and unique Dusit campus, and also find out more about the general day-to-day life of our school.
Arrange a trial day where your child can attend school - just like a normal school day - and start to feel comfortable about the environment and their peers. The faculty can also use this positive time to assess what support the student will need when they eventually start at St. Andrews Dusit on a full-time basis.
Take a virtual tour
Most schools will have a virtual tour available on their website that will show the schools facilities in a colourful and interesting way. Sit down with your child to ‘walk & talk’ them through the video - this can be a great way of introducing your child to the school for the first time. If your child is interested in a particular sport or an activity like art, then point out any relevant facilities on the video so that they can make a connection and feel excited about trying them out.
Ask the school for their most recent Yearbook and use it to highlight and discuss general activities, the school community and education programmes taking place on the campus.
Get to know a new language
If the main languages spoken at the school are completely unfamiliar to your child, you can use children's books, audio tapes and videos featuring the language(s) to help introduce them slowly to all the new sounds.
Uniform dress rehearsal
Make a nice fuss about the new uniform, organise a special viewing for family, neighbours or friends so that your child feels good about wearing it, and will hopefully feel proud in their new uniform on their first day at school!
Visit the school campus & meet the class teacher
Make every effort to visit the new campus together so that the first day of school has a slightly familiar setting with recognisable welcoming teachers. Most schools will be more than open to organising a ‘get to know you session’ for your child - this can be invaluable and will help reduce first day jittery feelings.
Get all the right kit!
Double check and check again the full list of equipment needed to attend the school to avoid uncomfortable situations that arise when a young person is missing important equipment in school. You can contact the Dusit school shop and admissions team about uniforms and buying items that will help your child be prepared, and thus feel confident and comfortable in their new environment.
Arrange a playdate
If you already have contact with parents who are part of the St. Andrews Dusit community, then it's a great idea to arrange a get together for your child to meet with other children who are already students at the school. Alternatively for families who have recently relocated, we can help by putting you in contact with members of our school community who might have been in a similar situation of relocating or have children of a similar age.
Ask gentle questions
Check in regularly with your child about how being at the school is going. It’s better to ask open questions like “How did your day go?” to start a conversation and elicit more information about how they are feeling.
Keep familiar elements in their lives
Encourage your child to stay in touch with old school friends via social media or letter writing so that they hear news about familiar people and events. Also if you’ve moved abroad or a long distance from your previous home it’s a good idea to stock the kitchen cupboard with familiar food items and treats as these can be comforting for children.
"“I feel very fortunate to be part of such a fantastic school community. You would be most welcome to come and experience the community feel and close-knit environment at any time.””
Caroline Ratcliffe Head of School St. Andrews Dusit
About St. Andrews International School Dusit
St. Andrews Dusit is an international school located on a beautiful green campus in Bangkok offering a British education for students aged between 2 – 11 years old. Our happy community, composed of teachers, parents and students from over 20 different nationalities, provides a stimulating and positive learning environment for every child in our care.
If you would like to find out more about St. Andrews Dusit and to arrange an appointment to visit us then please make contact via the following:
Name: Nitaya Yongratanamongkol (Khun Kitty)
Title: Admissions Manager
Telephone: +66 (0) 2 668 6231 EXT 101
M +66 (0) 80 630 8289