Get ready for a new school year in a new country
July 3, 2017
The first day of a new school year is a big deal, with lots of expectations and uncertainties around how the next months are going to be like. For expat children, it might be even be that little bit more daunting, as they will have to adjust to a new environment, a new class and perhaps even a new language. So how can you prepare your child for the big day?
1) Make sure your child knows the basics
Children can be extremely shy in unfamiliar environments. Therefore, make sure he or she is familiar with the most important locations and routines. Where is the toilet? How is lunch handled? What does the daily schedule look like? What is the teacher's name?
One of the best things to do – whenever it's possible – is to have a formal tour and orientation around the facilities before starting school. In this way, your child can become familiar with the environment, get to know the teacher and ask questions, if not during the tour, when he or she arrives home.
2) Prepare your child for the differences
Does your child need to wear a uniform? Is swimming class compulsory for everyone? Are school trips planned as part of the curriculum? Try to talk about the differences between your child's previous school and new school and present their new school as an opportunity to discover another culture. Pointing them out in advance and presenting them in a positive way will help your child adjust to the new environment.
3) Check you haven't forgotten anything
Books, stationary, uniform… There are so many things to remember on the first school day that you can easily forget something. To avoid this, make a checklist in the weeks before the first day and go through it the night before, so you can double-check you're not missing anything. You don't want your child left without a snack on that first morning...