International schools can be found in just about every major city outside the United States. These are schools which offer instruction in English as well as the usual kind of college preparatory curriculum you'd expect to find in an American high school, public or private. Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate programs will generally be available.
In many major cities which have a lot of Americans you will even find so-called American schools. Your children will almost feel as though you never left home. Whether you choose to expose your children to a true international school with children from all over the world as well as a few local children or decide that sticking with an American school is best is a decision you will have to make based on what you feel is best for your children.
There are several sites you can use to research schools. For example, using our hypothetical transfer to Berlin, a search of the Council on International Schools' site shows four schools in...
1. Most progressive schools don't issue report cards.
Professor John Dewey disliked the notion of children sitting in rigid rows listening to a teacher, memorizing facts and regurgitating those facts on command. Dr. Dewey felt that students needed to learn by doing. Implicit in this philosophy of education is an aversion to testing and report cards. You will monitor your child's progress in less traditional ways. Instead of receiving a document with traditional grades such as A's and B's you will receive a reporting detailing your child's progress in a variety of areas which the school feels are important.
2. Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia schools are progressive schools.
Instrinsic in a Montessori education is the idea that a child needs to explore in order to learn. Learning is guided in the Montessori classroom. The teacher does not direct the learning. She guides it. Classes are multiage so that a younger child learns from older children. Waldorf schools are world-famous for developing children's imaginations. Reggio
Emilia inspired schools emphasize the involvement and collaborative aspects of educating their students. These are approaches and ideas which are not usually...
|Private Schools||Public Schools|
|Administration||Local school support staff manage the day to day operations.||Local school and district layers of administrative staff support the day to day operations.|
|Admissions||Selective. Students must meet whatever admissions standards are set.||Students must meet residency and age requirements. Students are admitted without regard to academic ability.|
|Arts||All kinds of arts programs are essential in a private school education. Orchestras, bands and choirs are part of the performing arts offerings. Fine arts and theater are also part of the program.||Arts programs are generally considered extras in a public school budget. They are usually the first area of expense to be cut when savings must be found.|
|Class Size||Private schools generally have small classes with 12-15 students the norm.||Depending on the staffing in a local school public schools can have as many as 25-35 students per class.|
|Curriculum||Private schools teach the subjects they wish to teach as well as meeting the state minimums. They use a variety of assessment methods to determine how a child is performing.||Public schools must teach what...|
When you send your baby off to preschool or nursery school, you will go through all kinds of angst. Especially if she's your first child. Or only child. You can offset much of the worry by selecting your preschool or nursery school carefully. The best schools will be hard to get into. Places will be limited. But once she's accepted, then determine how you can be helpful without getting in the way. Most schools will welcome assistance with everything from class activities to fund raising. The key is to stay involved as a team player rather than as the leader which you are probably accustomed to being.
This is where things begin to get interesting from a parenting perspective. Why? Because the elementary years are the time when most children learn those core skills which cast the die for a lifetime of learning. If you have been serious about parenting, you taught your child to read ages ago. Probably when she was two or three years old. You limited her television watching and video games so that she developed her imagination and ability to experience situations vicariously. That worked well in your home. But now she is surrounded by children raised...
It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.