Once your child has completed pre-school, they understand the social aspect of school and are ready to begin to tackle academic learning. Your choice of primary school is critical, as a bad introduction to traditional core subject learning can cause problems when the child gets to the secondary section and if the transition is not smooth, the student will have trouble focusing on the subject matter.
Here are a few pointers for the parent who is looking to enrol their child in a primary school.
- Child centred learning – Avoid schools that still use the traditional teacher-student instruction system where the students sit in rows and the teacher teaches from the front. This is called ‘passive learning’, as the learner does nothing except look, listen and remember; rote learning in another term to describe passive learning, learning by memorising, with the information recalled during tests and exams. Look for an international primary school in Thailand that uses a child centred approach and your son or daughter will develop critical thinking, initiative and problem-solving skills, all of which are essential tools for a successful life.
- Academic excellence – While there is more to education than academics, it is vital to attain excellent grades, at least in the core subjects and every school would publish their academic track record, which is a solid indication of how your child will develop academically. In the event progress is slow, hire a private tutor to help your child gain a better understanding of the subject matter. When browsing school websites, look for their academic performance and the stats for students that enter the university of their choosing.
- Think of the future – We all know how traumatic it can be to start at a new school and by selecting a primary school that has a secondary section means your child can finish their formal education without having to relocate. This allows the students to develop deeper relationships with both teachers and other students and the teacher-student relationship is much stronger during years 9-12. Some kids go through the change from nursery to kindergarten to primary and finally to secondary school, that’s 3 times they have to start again in a new environment. A K-12 school cuts out this experience and that is something to consider. The right education can open many doors, as this article highlights.
- Travelling time – The location of the school should not involve more than 30 minutes in the car, which is one hour a day; children that have to endure 2-3 hours a day travelling, are impacted by the experience. If you have your heart set on a school in another area, consider selling up and relocating to shorten the trip.
- Adequate resources – Of course, a school should have a lot of resources; sports equipment and space, IT hardware and science labs, with a music department and indoor and outdoor areas for activities. If you find a primary and secondary school, they would have more resources than a primary only school; a tour will be the best way to experience the campus and you can book that from their website.
- Prepare a list of questions – When you book a tour of the school, you will meet with the principal and you should prepare a few questions; ask about the school’s mission and vision statements and about the system of learning, which should be child-centred.
Your choice of primary school should be one that takes all of the above into account and then your child will develop to their fullest potential. The Thai Ministry of Education has very progressive policies regarding formal learning, which is good to see.