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A Walk in Our Shoes: How to Prepare for Shadow Day & Play Group

  • British International School of Chicago, South Loop | Private School Chicago

Our Admissions Team loves to meet future Bulldogs at shadow days and play groups! These sessions allow prospective students to experience life at BISC South Loop and give faculty and staff the chance to get to know your child in a school setting.

You may feel anxious or nervous about what to expect during a shadow day or play group, which we completely understand. The Admissions Team is here to help. Read on for what to expect during these sessions, as well as tips for making your child's shadow day or play group a success.

Shadow Days

What to Expect

As part of the admissions process, all children applying to Years 2-13 will experience BISC South Loop for an entire school day (8:25 a.m.-3:40 p.m.). Children applying to Years 2-9 will spend the day with peers in their current grade, which allows them to get to know their potential future classmates. High school applicants (Years 10-13) shadow with the grade to which they're applying, so they're able to experience the potential year ahead.

Upon your arrival, the Admissions Team will welcome you and your child. Then, we'll pair your child with a student buddy who will accompany them to classes, and also provide a work packet to help your child reflect on their experiences throughout the day.

Shadow day students will attend multiple classes. They may work through equations in Math class, learn about our science courses (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) by participating in labs; explore our Art and Design Technology programs in one of the visual arts suites; participate in Dance class in the performance studio; or get a peek into our Music coursework developed in collaboration with The Juilliard School.

All shadow day students will receive lunch and a morning snack prepared by our culinary team, Quest.

How to Prepare
  1. Children should get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy breakfast.
  2. We encourage smart casual dress that resembles our school uniforms. We recommend chinos, a sensible skirt, polo or oxford shirt, and school-appropriate shoes. No denim, please. The Admissions Team will notify you in advance of the shadow day if your child will be participating in Physical Education class, in which case you'll need to bring suitable clothes.
  3. Bring a backpack with a pencil, pen, notebook and your child's favorite book to read.
  4. Children should come prepared to learn and, most of all, have fun with our teachers and students!

Play Groups

What to Expect

Children applying to Nursery through Year 1 participate in a 45-minute play group that's designed to resemble a truncated version of a day in preschool. During the play group, children interact with peer applicants and teachers in our Early Years classrooms. They'll participate in free play and brief, teacher-led activities such as art and storytime. Meanwhile, parents will partake in a presentation by the Head of Early Years about our curriculum and will have the opportunity to ask questions of senior administrators.

How to Prepare
  1. Have your little one get a good night’s rest (easier said than done, we know!).
  2. Children should come to the play group with a full tummy and a clean diaper, or fresh from a “potty” break.
  3. Dress your child in comfy clothes, similar to what they would wear during a play date with friends.
  4. Children should come prepared to learn and make new friends.

After the Session

After your child’s shadow day or play group, we recommend you discuss their visit with them. If you have questions about the day or would like to get in touch with a student or teacher they met along the way—let us know! It's important that we ensure our school is the right fit for your family, and we feel no question is too small.

We look forward to getting to know your family and welcoming you to ours! Please direct any questions about shadow days, play groups or the admissions process to the Office of Admissions at or 773-998-BISC (2472).