“Where will they go to school?” is one of the most critical questions relocating parents ask. Finding an answer can take several paths, depending on what’s available in the host country, what’s important to the parents, and the particular needs or strengths of the child.
When all three align on assignment, the resulting educational match can ease parents’ minds and help students thrive. Often, however, parents have to prioritize their needs and wants, and compromise somewhere to find the best fit. Some countries present unique opportunities for learning in different ways.
In Denmark, for example, empathy is taught in schools. Students aged six to 16 receive one hour of Klassens tid each week. Fundamental to the Danish curriculum, Klassens tid allows for problem solving in an environment in which children feel safe while practicing understanding and support of one another. Educators and parents alike credit this early introduction to empathy with building adults who are among the happiest in the world.
South Korea has the distinction of achieving 100% literacy, through a culture of hard work and great emphasis placed on exams. Students go to school year-round and learn to persevere past options that lead to failure. Proponents point to goal-oriented young people who accept that early toil leads to success later.
At the other end of the spectrum is Finland’s belief that personal choice and self-motivation lead to a satisfying course of study. School days are short, compared to those in other Western countries. While taking education very seriously, schools also count extracurricular activities as important to student development. The schedule and curriculum allow time for these activities, typically chosen by the student. This ‘whole student’ approach has worked for Finland, whose education system ranks among the best in the world.
These three examples point to different measurements for success, both while in school and after. Only your family knows what you deem most important. School placement experts can educate you on your options in the host country – or even at home or elsewhere if boarding is the best solution. They can also guide the process of appointments and interviews, while pointing out the nuances of various choices.
When relocation is on the horizon, start early to get on the path to your children’s education abroad. Coupled with your own parenting and the experience of living in a new country, their opportunities will take them fascinating places.
Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Product Manager, Content Group