As the summer holidays draw to an end and thoughts of the start of a new term at a new school is just around the corner, it can be a daunting prospect for even the most confident child, particularly if joining a boarding school and perhaps being away from home and family for the first time.
If, as we would recommend, your child has been involved in the research, selection and visiting of potential schools you should have already had lots of discussions and answered many questions about boarding school life. The ‘joining information’ that you receive from the school is often a good starting point in talking about the first few days; who from the family will be taking them to school, arrival at the boarding house, meeting house parents and other boarders, unpacking and settling in to the dormitory being some of the first steps.
You will have seen on your school visits that pupils are encouraged to bring some reminders of home, family and pets; photographs, favourite toys or possessions and of course ‘own clothes’ for evenings and weekends.
Boarding school is more than just an education, it is a way of life with many opportunities – music, art, sport, drama, trips, extra-curricular activities and clubs, the choice can be overwhelming. Together you can identify areas of interest or new experiences that they may like to try so that your children feel better prepared.
Of course, communicating by Skype or FaceTime can be very reassuring and something you may need to practice before leaving home – especially given the somewhat intermittent workings of Skype and FaceTime from the UAE! It also means that you can be the first to know that they have been picked for the swimming team or if they’ve scored 9/10 in a Maths test.
Knowing who to go to with a problem or concern will soon be second nature but for the first few days it will be helpful to have a note of the names and contact details of key people, for example the house parent, academic tutor and student mentor. Finally, before leaving your new boarder to start this exciting journey, it may be comforting for them to know when they are next going to be home so that you book flights for them something to look forward to!
Written by Sara Sparling Education Consultant
Further information about schools is available at www.boardingschoolsadvice.com
Anderson Education, UK Boarding School Specialists OfferFree Impartial Advice and Guidance, we have been working with expat families for over 20 years and visited over 350 UK boarding schools.