Our continuous intake of students means that there is always someone else who is ‘new’. As a truly international community, we all know what it feels like to transition to a new school and/or country. At The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) there is always someone willing to offer advice or to lend a helping hand if needed.
Below are some ways we support many families in transition from a social and pastoral perspective, including what parents can do to help their children. (You can also read our blog about ensuring a smooth academic transition).
- Find out what pastoral care support is provided
Pastoral care at BSKL is second to none and teachers monitor the well-being of new students closely. A buddy system is in place to support the navigation of the school building and to facilitate introductions to other students during the first days in a new class. We also have two professional school counselors, a full nursing team and a nutritionist to support students with emotional and medical needs, as well as individual dietary requirements. In Primary school, children can join Friendship Club, which is a great way for new students to make friends, and during the child’s first term a settling in report is provided.
- Sign your child up to extra-curricular activities
One way your child can quickly make friends and feel included is through extra-curricular activities (ECAs) and enrichment clubs. Students at BSKL have access to a wide range of activities to support their personal interests and hobbies, which we aim to get to know through the admissions process. Our excellent facilities across all disciplines highlight our commitment to both curricular and ECAs. Start off with one or two and agree these with your child. It is probably a good idea they initially take part in activities that you know they will enjoy and are familiar with, rather than trying something new or challenging.
- Talk to other parents in the school
Reaching out to parents will also help build your community and support network, and is a great way to make new friends if you are new to the area. Despite being a large school, we have a strong sense of community and we have close links with our parents both online through the Parent App and weekly newsletters, and offline through parent coffee mornings, our parent rep programme and volunteering opportunities. As well as meeting teachers and the Senior Leadership Team, it is a good idea to talk to other parents (particularly those who also joined mid-year) as they will have good insight into how the school manages and helps new families.
- Establish routines at home
Moving to a new school mid-way through the year can be a stressful and unsettling time for your child. Their school day, friendships and school work has all been disrupted, and if they have moved from another country, there is the added cultural shock. Therefore, it is important to establish a normal routine at home, particularly for younger children. If possible continue to provide breakfast and dinner at the same time, set homework and play at the same time and continue any weekly family traditions.
- Encourage open conversations
There is a chance your child might be angry, upset or frustrated with the changes, so it is good to keep an open conversation, allow them to share their feelings and discuss how you can best support them. You should also be mindful about communicating your own feelings about the transition in a positive way. If your child isn’t comfortable talking to you, encourage them to seek help elsewhere. Our counselling team are there to support the emotional and social development of all students. Your child will be told about the counselors and where to find them on their first day of school. Alternatively, you can encourage them to talk to a teacher, assistant teacher, coach or even an older student.
- Prepare your child for their first day
Ensure that your child knows what to expect on the lead up to starting school and particularly on their first day. Make sure they are wearing the correct uniform and have the right kit, understand what clubs or modules they have opted for and talk them through the schedule. You can share the names and photos of key individuals in school and help your child to prepare a few words about themselves. This will support them when they introduce themselves to new friends and adults at school. Although this might be more relevant for younger children, all students will benefit from being well prepared.
If you are considering moving your child mid-year and would like to find out more about BSKL, please get in touch with our admissions team via phone on +60 3 7727 7775 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.