The search for a school

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Claire has happily been attending an informal play school set up by a group of parents for 2 years now. We’ve really loved it, but she turns 5 next year, and so we have begun the search for a “real” school.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been keeping my head in the sand about school. I had a hard time swallowing the astronomical fees for most international schools, many of which were at least 4 times the cost of our informal play school. I refused to believe the hype about wait lists, though schools would have you believe that you must put your unborn baby’s name on the list as soon as you have your first ultrasound. Then again, maybe I’ll regret those words when I realize that Claire won’t get into school until she’s 10 years old… 😛

We’ve started trying to make arrangements to visit the various schools in our area that we’re checking into. I think I’ll get a much better feel for what schools would be a good fit for our kids once I get my feet on the ground and see them first-hand.

So, wish us luck as we embark on the search for a school!

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8 Responses to The search for a school

  1. Tess Kuri says:

    I totally know the feeling…and i was also a strong believer that i would find the best school, at the best price, in the best location with the greatest ease when i needed to….and i did- for my 3 kids…and you will too.

    So wish you luck- you will find the perfect fit!!!

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Thank you! School searching can cause such anxiety! Trying to be calm about it all…

  2. alice says:

    I wish you all the luck.. please update us on what you find out in your search. Which area are you looking at? what system are you looking at?

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Thank you! We’re looking in Lavington / Kilimani / Kileleshwa. I’m not sure yet on curriculum. I love the idea of International Baccalaureate / PYP, but there are so few schools in Nairobi, and none where we live. I’m also strongly considering Waldorf for Kindergarten and first years, because I love the creative play approach!

      • Millicent says:

        IB is only offered at Aga Khan academy, from PYP to MYP, I prefer it but I couldn’t get it for the grades I was searching for as the waiting list was crazy, but good luck

  3. Codou says:

    1) Closeness to home is important in the choice of schools for the little ones. There is no point shuttling young kids to schools located very far from home in Nairobi’s congested traffic. They will be sleepless and tired due to the long conmute and may end not performing well.

    2) At this age, socialization is as important, if not more than, academics. If you find a school that promotes good social values such as collaboration, caring, inclusiveness, cultural diversity, sharing and language learning near you, go for it. Especially if the staff genuinely demonstrate such values in the way they teach and interact with the children. There are too many pseudo Montessori schools in Nairobi and a lot of posturing by both administrative and teaching staff…

    3) Check out the French School at Yaya. They are progressively bilingual and use French and Englush(70/30). Their fees are not as high as many of the “foreign” schools and your child could have the opportunity to interact with children from a wide range of backgrounds, races and ethnicities, while becoming bi-lingual and bi-cultural. Sure there are plenty of other schools that offer the same in different languages. It’s just that i know this one and have enrilled both our 3-year old and 15-year old there.

    Good luck.

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I really agree, across the board. We’re hoping to visit the French school in November!

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