Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. It has made us revise many of the things that matter to us: our work and relationships, the way we live and think. These changes have made their way into our decisions as well. If your child is going back to school and you think they need a new one, here’s sound advice on how to choose.
How well the school responded and keeps on responding to the changes brought on by the pandemic is a clear example of what you want out of the international schools in Bangalore. If you’ve been browsing through options, this is one of the essential factors you’ll want to look into. A school that knows how to pull through the new challenges is well worth a look.
Some international schools in Bangalore are reopening their doors. That does not mean, though, that families have no choice but to send their kids back to school. If you are not comfortable with the thought of allowing your child to attend classes in person yet, you can opt for the online sessions as many of these schools offer remote teaching sessions too. Some encourage a combination of both. That’s why some schools end up with an alternate schedule or programme, as the kids switch it off, going to classes in person one day and going to online classes the next. If you’re going to choose a school, pick one that offers all three options for greater flexibility.
What kind of measures has the school taken in response to the pandemic? What do the guidelines to the parents and students include? Find out how the school is keeping itself safe from contamination. Some of the schools have taken out dividers between classrooms to ensure maximum circulation of the air. And nearly all the schools that have reopened for in-person classes follow strict social distancing rules.
One other thing you all want to consider is how the school is using technology to bridge the gap. With many students staying at home and going to online classes, you must pick a school that knows how to leverage technology to provide the best educational experience possible even as the pandemic keeps changing the rules of the game. For instance, some schools have started to offer virtual tours, with some or nearly all the portions being done live. Other schools are providing their teachers with support and training. Some are also using tablets with recorded instructions from teachers for in-person classes to reduce contact between the students and the faculty. Find out how the school is doing on this front before you proceed.
Once you are done with your Covid-19 checklist, you all want to go over the basics still. How many students are in one class? Make sure there are not too many students assigned to the teacher. Some schools also employ part-time teaching assistants to help with the load. That’s good news since that gives the primary teachers a lot of time to get to know students, provide one-on-one guidance or assistance to any kids suffering in class, to generally dig deep and ask how they are, to make sure they’re all right and coping well with the changes.
When you look for a school, pick one with excellent facilities. Your child will not go to online classes forever. Sooner or later, there will be more effective measures taken to fight against the virus’s spread. When that happens, you want to make sure your child has access to adequate facilities. This is especially important if part of the reason you are choosing the school because of the extracurricular activities it offers. If your child wants to play sports or join a dance class after school, then having well-maintained facilities is necessary.
The best schools also tend to have involved and engaged students. This is easy to see if you check out the social media platforms of the school. Parents too often focus on the school’s site without going over their social media pages. When you do, those pages will give you more of a glimpse into how the school has coped so far, how its students are doing, and more. These channels are often more informal in tone, so you get a lot of insight into the school, the students, and the teachers. You also get to see how the teachers and students interact, which is essential since that will likely be how they all interact with your child. If anything strikes you off about that interaction, cross that one off and move on to the next school on your list.
Are the school’s reopening plans comprehensive? Does it only cover the academic subjects, or does it include the extracurricular programs? What areas of the school are operational? Has the school prepared for different scenarios? Meaning, how will the school respond if a faculty member, staff, or student starts showing signs of Covid-19? Are there any medical provisions in case an outbreak happens at the school? How is the school reducing the risk of contamination? Does it provide a clear communication channel where you can learn more about this?
One of the most important things you all want to consider is the school’s philosophy. What does it believe in? Some schools are all about producing graduates who excel academically, never mind if they have little to no character development. Some schools rely on traditional teaching styles that put the teacher at the centre of the discussion and the classes, with the pupils passively listening to the lecture. A school that uses a Montessori style of teaching believes in providing experiential learning to students, allowing them to absorb the lessons through all five senses. Instead of merely listening to a lecture, they ask questions—even encouraged to do so. For instance, the hands-on activities help a lot in creating the kind of learning environment that the kids enjoy even while they continue to learn and absorb their lessons.
Suppose you want the best for your child. In that case, it makes sense to find a school that provides a solid foundation for academic learning and countless learning opportunities that involve character growth and development. That means you should consider schools that offer programs like sports, dancing, and other interests that your kid might enjoy. If your child is still undecided, though, talk to them. Find out what they would like to join. Extracurricular activities often happen after classes. Which classes do they find interesting? Which ones do they seem to have a talent for?
Do not forget to ask your child. Make them a part of the process. They might not fully understand what the choices mean but make it easy for them to pick up on what each school offers and what it will mean for them. By getting their opinion on the schools, it makes them feel that their emotions are valid. Also, being part of the decision-making process will add to your child’s excitement over the new school, leading to greater motivation and engagement.
There’s no single right answer to choosing a school. Winging it is scary, though, especially with what’s at stake right now. If you choose the wrong school, one that is not careful with anti-Covid-19 measures, that will put your little one at risk. It would not hurt, then, to go with your gut. Study the pros and cons carefully. Weigh in your options. It does not matter if other parents are sending their kids back to school. Each family is different. If you are not comfortable with the idea, if you want to keep your child close, then online classes are a sound alternative. On the other hand, if you’re confident that your child will be in a safe environment if you’re taking all the necessary precautions and want your child to experience classroom learning, then go right ahead and send them to school. Trust your gut. You know what is best for your family.
Also, do not forget the teaching staff. The teachers are a huge factor when you pick a school, as the teaching quality depends a lot on their talent, skills, expertise, and experience. Do they have the proper credentials? Are they passionate about the work? Do they invest in the students? Do they care about what happens to every child in their class? Good teachers have no problem ensuring that the class stays on track and that their lesson plans have been followed. But the best teachers go beyond that. They do not just teach kids about math, science, or technology. They teach kids about life. That is the kind of learning experience you’ll want for your child.
These are just some of the tips that you should know. Do not forget to set up a tour of the school’s premises to learn about the school and its environment.
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