Nairobi, Kenya Report of what it's like to live there - 01/29/15
Personal Experiences from Nairobi, Kenya
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
Years 4 & 5 (equivalent to U.S. Grades 3 & 4).
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
BGE was welcoming to our child and has a good reputation for taking all kids, not just top achievers.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
A - Admissions office is excellent. Students are placed with their age-mates.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A - Always ready to answer questions and help our son to integrate. We were not able to be involved with the parent activities that were available, but that was due to our own schedule, not the fault of the school.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
We were very pleased with this school. My child's age group was divided into three classrooms with about 12-15 students in each room. They remained with this group as they moved up each year. Math and literacy classes were differentiated so all the children could stay with the peer group but progress at their own levels. Teachers both years were kind, helpful, and very concerned about the students. They took time to respond to my emails, answer my questions, and involve themselves personally in coaching my son in little "extras" like social skills. We also were very pleased with the number of after-school options offered to students.
2. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A (excellent) to F (unacceptable/terrible) and provide comments:<br><br>Overall fair and equitable treatment of all students and families:
A - The student body is very international, and we felt the environment was very inclusive.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A - Excellent via both daily student journals and email
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
About gifted students, I don't know.
B for those with learning difficulties. BGE is inclusive and kind and they have a learning support staff that is involved at each level. Resources are slim here, though, and we were not able to arrange occupational therapy, speech, etc. However, the school would gladly have allowed these to take place during the school day, and they welcomed my son's personal aide and worked closely with her to help my child succeed.
5. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
Lunches and uniforms are paid for by parents but students can bring lunch from home and uniforms are not expensive here.
6. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A - see above
7. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
A - They seem to take each student at his own level and encourage him to improve.
8. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
We felt it was appropriate for our child, perhaps up to 2 hours a week including reading aloud to parents.
9. Administration-parent communication:
A - Excellent.
10. Teacher-student communication:
A - Excellent.
11. Does your child receive any special-needs assistance or instruction at this school? If yes, what types? Who provides services and where:
Pull out support twice a week with learning support staff, classroom monitor/aide to help him stay on track.
12. Do you believe the special-needs assistance is appropriate and fills your needs? Explain:
They have a pretty good department which is better than many others in the area. I hope they continue to expand and add specialized staff such as speech therapists and OTs, as well as more training for the teachers.
13. Does the gifted and talented program meet the needs of students? Please explain:
14. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
15. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
We were completely happy.
16. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
No, all the field trips were included in the school fees.
17. What activities do you feel are missing?
18. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
19. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
20. Please describe any problem areas or challenges in social interaction at the school:
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
3. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
4. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
A - Good. We were pleased that our son had P.E. once a week, swimming once a week, and another afternoon of outdoor games. He is very active and needed that exercise. Plus, there were sports offered nearly every day after school.
5. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
6. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
7. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes . . . We consider this an appropriate amount. Some parents would expect more, but our child needed to be able to play after school.
8. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
A - Many options from voice lessons to African drums (during school) to roller blading, art, soccer, rugby (after school) . . . They try to provide a wide number of options and a broad education.
9. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
10. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
11. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Many of the students are expats, so integration is not a problem.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Openness and enthusiasm. We felt they all, including the headmaster, genuinely cared about the kids and wanted them to succeed. They also seemed very realistic about child development.
2. Would you choose this school again? Why?
Definitely! Our child thrived here and we are sad to be leaving the area.