Parents encouraged to think ‘Best Fit’ when choosing a new school

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The academic school year may have just begun, but admissions teams at international schools like ISKL are approaching one of the busiest times of the year. Why? Read more in their article!

How to choose the ‘right’ school?

Expatriate families relocating to Kuala Lumpur are beginning the school hunt, and families already living in KL often take the opportunity to evaluate alternative curriculum choices and explore educational options. 

Whatever the motivation, it is a time for transition and the choice of school can have a long lasting impact on both child and family. So, how can parents know which is the ‘right’ school? What should parents be looking for when researching schools? The advice from Ms. Julia Love, Admissions Director at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) is for parents to adopt the mindset of finding the ‘best-fit’ school for their child. 
Ms. Love explains: “’Best fit’ is a term that’s often used in university admissions and is highly applicable to schools. It describes finding a school with a culture and educational programme that fits with the needs, values and expectations of families and students.”

Ms. Love stresses the importance of investigating the intangible aspects of school life as well as the fundamentals. “It’s a given that parents will research the curriculum, check out academic results and look to see what facilities the school has to offer. I strongly encourage parents to also investigate the school’s culture and ask how their child will be educated.”

Understand a school’s culture

She continues: “Understanding the school’s philosophy around learning is so important. It’s widely acknowledged that students thrive best when they are engaged both in and outside the classroom, and nurtured by a caring and empathetic culture. So, regardless of whether their child is starting in kindergarten or entering high school, it is vital for parents to research the culture of the school and find out how learning will occur for their child. The best way of doing this is by visiting the school, whether on a private tour or a school open day, and talking with as many community members as possible. Listening to the views of students, teachers, and parents will help them take the pulse of the school and give parents an idea of whether the school really is a good fit for their child and family. If a visit isn’t possible a phone call is the next best alternative and even then I encourage parents to connect with a variety of school community members. Each will offer a different perspective of the school and its culture and help families put together a more holistic view.”

Ms. Love also recommends parents find out what support is offered both in and out of the classroom. She notes this is particularly important for students who need individual learning support as well as non-native English speakers who may need to access the school’s English as An Additional Language (EAL) program.

Take your time to do research

While there are a myriad of considerations to take into account when selecting a school, Ms. Love concludes: “Ultimately finding the best fit school is about taking the time to research, visit, meet as many teachers, students and parents as possible, and ask lots of questions. A good admissions team will be more than happy to help parents connect with the school community, understand the school’s culture, and the approach to learning their child will experience.”

If you would like to meet Ms. Love and find out more about ISKL’s approach to learning, you can register here to attend the ISKL Open Day on Thursday October 3. It’s a great chance to see ISKL in action, hear from the Head of School, Mr. Rami Madani, and meet with teachers and parents for a Q&A session. Student-led tours are available in Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin (limited spaces) as well as English. 

About Julia Love

Julia Love has been the Director of Admissions at The International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since 2012. With over 20 years’ experience in Boarding, Primary, Secondary, and international schools in the US and UK, Julia is passionate about ensuring that school placement meets the requirements of every child. Additionally, having spent a significant portion of her childhood overseas attending British, German, and international schools, Julia understands first-hand the complex transitional needs of children during relocation. Julia holds a B.A. in Sociology and Education.

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