When your child becomes a student

Issue 39: 6/10/2023 From the Principal

This week, our school psychologist, Hind Guasch, explains the challenges of the transition in your role as a parent when your child starts school for the first time.

Starting kindergarten is a crucial step for young children, but also for their parents. When it takes place in a French school abroad, it takes on a special dimension for parents.

A delicate transition

The role of a parent when your child starts school is not easy! The whole organisation of the family unit is turned upside down. New school rituals shake up established habits and rhythms. For the child, separation from parents in the morning and immersion in a new collective environment can be destabilising.

Parents must manage their own anxieties about this change, while reassuring their child. A balancing act that’s not always easy! Fortunately, teachers are on hand to help ease the transition.

Discovering a new educational culture

Joining a French school abroad also means discovering the habits and customs of a new world. Parents have to adapt to the teaching methods used in the French education system, which can be very different from those in their home country.

The quality of parent-teacher interactions is facilitated if each shows curiosity and empathy for the other’s culture. This point is also taken up by the French Ministry of Education’s programmes, which advocate an awakening to linguistic and cultural diversity in kindergarten.

Reinforcing a sense of belonging

For parents, school must also be a place where their child can develop a sense of belonging, and forge links with other families. Friendships forged on the school benches can extend beyond the classroom.

This contributes to the child’s stability. Parents also benefit from forging links with the school community.

All in all, being a parent when your child starts school is a richly instructive human adventure!

Meriem Belhadj
Principal of Primary Campuses and Studies (French Stream)