03 Apr How to choose a school in Ho Chi Minh City
Choosing a school for your children is not an easy task. You want to find the perfect balance of high academic standards, engaging, attentive teachers, and fun extracurriculars, here are some useful tips to help you make that decision.
At the end of this post you will find a map to show you the locations of the international schools and kindergartens in Ho Chi Minh, as well as a handy chart comparing tuition fees to help you through the decision.
1. Your child, It may seem very obvious but this is the key principle, to select the best school for your child, not the ‘best’ school. Is he very creative, has difficulty with languages, is very sociable or has a specific educational need, such as a speech therapist?
2. Go to the open days, a school can paint a pretty picture online, but you won’t know if it is the right school until you see it, walk around, see the classrooms and meet the teachers.
3. Stay for playtime, see the school in action during the daytime. Open Days as we mentioned before are all well and good, but they don’t show a school functioning normally, staying for playtime can also give you a real sense of how children are able to interact on their own terms.
4. Word of mouth, physically visiting a school is often the best way to make a decision but hearing the opinions of other families can be invaluable. We suggest to ask for opinion on the facebook group Saigon International Families.
5. Consider the method of learning and study used by the school, families have a choice of American, British, Australian, French, German, International Baccalaureate, Montessori, Regio-Emilia… Which curriculum will best suit your child needs and your family plans? If you will be returning to your home country it makes sense to choose a school running a curriculum that ties in with your home country’s system. And for those of you who may well move to another country after that one, something like the International Baccalaureate may be the best option.
6. Take into account the school’s technological resources, new technologies are a useful tool for learning, but in its proper measure, to avoid the risk of enhancing the child’s tendency to spend too much time with the screens, isolating himself and not interacting with other people.
7. The Number of students per classroom, the relationship between teachers and students influences the learning process of the child, as well as the fact that there is no overcrowding in the classrooms.
8. The adequate facilities of the school, such as playful spaces, sports areas, library or laboratory. The school is not only a place to acquire academic knowledge, but also where to interact, play and explore.
9. The proximity of the school, it is also a factor to take into account when choosing a school, avoiding lengthy bus rides, specially when they are smaller. On the other hand I would like my children to be able to go alone when they reach a certain age, since I think it is very important for them to develop their autonomy.
10. Fees and costs, these are also determining factors when choosing a school and they can vary quite significantly. In addition to the tuition fees, there are additional fees that can raise the overall cost. These might include: application fee, registration fee, extra-curricular activities…