Schools here in Thailand are different to those in the west but how?
Here is a brief look at schools here.
Basically there is 3 types of school
1, International school. This is the most expensive, if you are asking how much then pretty much you cant afford to go there. The prices will make your wallet cry unless you have a fair amount of cash.
On the plus side of it they carry out international curriculum with internationally recognised examinations. This will also stand you in good stead for getting into universities not just here but across the world.
2, Private school. Ok so you still pay for these and they range in price. Naturally not to the level of the international schools but don’t cost as much either.
With these you need to be very clear about your questions. If you want your kids to do sports you have to ask, we failed to and had next to nothing other than swimming.
If they claim that there English teachers are natural born English speakers, be sure to ask what countries they come from. A lot do have them, but others will try and pass off Pilipino, South African and other nations who’s first language is not English even if they do learn it from a very early age. Our current school has just employed a German as a natural English speaker, Oh come on! It was the case when he spoke to me I could hardly understand him!.
Finally is the government schools. These are free and so Government funded, thus government schools. One of the big things i have noticed about these is that they have many more students, but that does not mean they are bad.
Again asking things about the school is very important. Some don’t have swimming pools or even much of an English teaching program at all. This is not the case for all of them so use the power of voice to find out what you need.
When it comes to making a choice of school it must not just come down to cost. Ask around to find out about what people in the area feel about the schools. Also there are websites you can go to that give parental feedback about schools.
If you decide to change schools after Kindergarten, be sure not to leave things to the last moment to choose the next school. My advice would be to do this once your child/children start their last year of kindergarten. Some registrations will start as early as December, but others wont until February, which is basically the last school month of the school year. Yes mum and dad time for you to do your homework! Haha
Unlike in the UK basically there is just 2 holidays from school in Thailand. Ok so there is odd days here and there for public or Buddhist holidays and even teacher day!
The school year starts the middle of May, but some private schools may ask new starters to do assessment days in April. These are basically half days for about 3 or 4 weeks to see that your child is ready to start at the school. Also its another way to get money from the parents. School starting age is 3 years old although with school permission you can start before, but this does not happen in Government schools as they have to play by Government rules.
At the end of September is the end of the first term and this is marked by the first set of yearly exams. For the most part October is a holiday. Yes the whole month, well at least 4 weeks of it. Then At the end of February the end of year exams and these normally spill over into the first part of March.
Yes simple maths should make you understand that from the first full week of March until the middle of May is school holiday. Yeah UK you think your summer holiday is long! Haha. One of the things is this very long break is during the hottest time of the year here. Also in the middle of April its Songkran. This is the Thai water festival, come New Year. It is to signify the start of the new growing season. More about that in another blog, but lets just say a time of year i look forward to! Haha you will get the point when i say about it.
School life is different for sure. Up to 5 different uniforms to wear in the week. Children “MUST” greet teachers when they go into school to show respect. Children are not just taught core subjects but they are taught life skills too, which i am all in favour of. Also at the start of the day the children sing the national anthem as the flag is raised, a few morning exercises and a couple of other things to get the kids in the mood. Kindergarten kids are also given milk each morning and when the kids are about to go on holiday they give more milk to take home too.
One thing i have so far failed to mention about schools is that “most” schools cover from the start of school life until the kids go to college.
Another thing is from Primary one the kids can join the scouts. Scouting is something done during the school week. Some schools will also offer an alternative of red cross training. Again i am all for this as it can and does teach more life skills.
One thing is if parents do not have much time to help kids with homework, then a fee can be paid to the school and then for an hour a day after the normal finish time the kids stay in class and do their homework, before coming home.
We recently changed school for our daughter and in another blog i will explain the process of doing this to give you more of an insight into this process.
So until the next blog….