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3 Things I Require in an International School

In last week's vlog, I’m sharing about their school here in the UAE and comparing the experiences we have had with international schools both here and in Japan. Our experiences have been mostly good, thankfully, but very different as different cultures have different outlooks on education. After looking at quite a few international schools in multiple countries, I now know what’s important to me in terms of the types of learning environments I want my children in. This knowledge not only guided me this year as I searched for the perfect school in the UAE, but it’s also something I lean on as we narrow down our educational options for the kids going forward.

A smart, young Black girl thriving in international school in Dubai UAE

3 Things I Require in an International School

  1. A child-centered approach – Child-centered education uses the child as a starting point by focusing on each student’s needs when developing a lesson plan. In this type of environment, educators realize that we are all individuals and learning is not one size fits all. They provide several different ways for children to digest information. This is the number one thing that I look for in a school.

  2. Diversity – Diversity looks different in different countries but having a diverse staff and/or a diverse student body is important to me, especially raising an African American child. It’s something that I not only look for but ask about when we are considering schools for our children.

  3. A balance between structure and freedom – Kids need routine and structure. Many of them thrive in it and depend on it as they are trying to learn about the world around them. However, I look for a balance between structure and freedom. Kids are individuals and I want my children to have the freedom to be themselves without fear.

As I put together last week’s vlog I took a walk down memory lane at the photos and videos that I have of my kids through the years in different countries and environments. One thing that stuck out to me is that no matter where we were in the world, their smiles were pure. As parents, we always wonder if we are doing what’s best for our kids or if there are things that we could do better. At the end of the day, though, are your kids happy? That’s a question that I ask myself daily, and as I looked back on our memories and look at them today, I know without a doubt that they are. In my book, that’s a parenting win.

Watch our vlog about the international schools Harper has attended in Japan and the UAE compared to our experience at home in Atlanta:

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