Parents sending their children to school in China may initially have reservations as horror stories about heavy punishments and savage competence in the Chinese educational system abound. While these incidents may still be present in Chinese schools, international private schools are much like any you find in Western countries. You shouldn’t worry about cultural differences that could sabotage your kids’ integration in schools. International schools take great care in creating a warm, welcoming and multi-cultural learning environment for their students.
School uniform is compulsory in almost all of these educational centers. Most of them have also a bus service to transport students to school and the canteen, with extended schedules from Tuesday to Friday to allow students to attend extracurricular activities. These services are extensive, but don’t assume that they will reach your residence. Make sure to verify the boundaries of bus service with the school when you’re making your selection.
A typical day varies from one school to another, but we offer you as example the schedule of a secondary student in the British International School of Shanghai. The lessons start at 7:40 in the morning and finish at 15:15 in the afternoon. There is one fifteen minutes break at 10:40 and lunch time is from 12:25 to 13:15. The students can choose between a set menu (Asian and Western food), a salad bar and a sandwich bar.
Each school will have a different approach to discipline and relationships between teachers and students, but be sure that all international centers have Western standards regarding these issues. Again, perhaps the most pressing concern parents of children new to China will have is physical punishment. Thankfully, this is a non-issue as this practice has been completely abolished in these schools.
Schools generally have a small clinic with a nurse to assist when needed.