Not sure which international school suits your child and family best? Attend an open house — an open house presents a good chance for families to experience the school’s atmosphere, get to know the school's ethos, and meet the principal and teachers.
“Open houses give parents an excellent opportunity to see the school and the actual classroom environments in action,” says Dr Allan Weston, Head of School at Canadian International School (CIS).
While open houses are often prepared as special events by the school, parents should keep a keen eye and look past the fanfare and warm welcomes, to see if the school is truly suited for their child and their family.
According to Dr Allan, it’s crucial that parents think about how the school can help their children grow. “Think of how successful your child would be in this environment. Think of yourself as a child and ask yourself if you would want to be part of the school. If the answer suits you, then most likely the school will also suit your child."
Here are our top three tips for parents to make the most out of their open house visits:
1) Be prepared beforehand
Every family’s needs are different. Parents can optimise their open house visits by preparing a list of specific questions they would like to ask, and talk to the school’s academic team and admissions staff during the open house.
It will also help if they can provide any relevant information about their child’s needs and interests prior to the open house, so the academic team can better tailor their open house experience. For example, if their child is more interested in arts, the academic staff can provide more information on the school’s arts programme and facilities. This will give the parents a more accurate insight into how their child can thrive in that school.
2) Go on a campus tour
Besides hearing from principals and teachers, parents should see what school life is like for themselves. Be sure to tour the campus and observe the school’s facilities, activities, and how students are learning.
As Dr Allan says, “Parents should look at the classroom environment and what the children are doing. Are the children actively involved in their learning or are they passive learners? Do the teachers take time to work with the children? Are the resources in the classroom and around the school exciting and interesting for the children? Does the school have a range of facilities and does it offer extracurricular activities which are diverse and interesting?”
At CIS, we conduct campus tours every open house and these are led by members of the academic team. Tours are conducted in small groups tailored to the grades parents are considering enrolling their children in. During our tours, parents are able to see daily lessons and activities being conducted in real time, providing them with a glimpse into a day of the life of a CIS student.
3) Bring your child along
Once parents have narrowed down their choices to a few schools, they should bring their child on a tour of each shortlisted school. Let the child see what their future school life might be like, and ask for their thoughts on the schools visited, before deciding which one to apply to. This way, parents can have peace of mind that the school of their choice is also approved by their child.
Open House at CIS
Open houses at CIS are held every month. We welcome families with children from ages 2 to 18 to tour our campus and connect with our academic staff. Visit our open house to go on a campus tour tailored to the grades of your children and engage in a personal Q&A session where parents can talk to our friendly admissions team.
Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions parents face and we believe that the whole family joins the school and becomes part of our CIS community. Our CIS admissions team is always happy to support and guide you through every step of that journey.
Find out more