Since moving to the eastern province and enrolling my son in a small school here, I have noticed something. He is more relaxed, more confident and definitely more focused. You see, he is in a class of 13 children now when he used to be in a class of 30.
Come January, we move back to Riyadh again. Where’s the dilemma? Well, the school I want to enroll him in will only have 3 other people in his class. It’s a new school that is just starting up. I know the woman who runs the school and have followed…her progress since she had a small daycare in her house. I like her principles and ideals and the way she runs the school. Second dilemma, he really loved his old school.
His old school is huge and has everything a good school needs: a great campus, state of the art facilities, an Olympic-sized pool, huge library. What it doesn’t have is discipline. I mean the children aren’t running around like monkeys (not all the time at least), but they basically do not expect as much from the kids as I would like them to (if that makes sense). They are also a little shaky while implementing the IB program. They do have competent people trying to implement this program, but it’s just not yet at the level it should be.
The new school I want to enroll him in is small. It has one tiny playground for all the students (there aren’t that many). It teaches English, Arabic and French. The owner is passionate and devoted to the children and knows each one by name (again, not many children).
Both are good schools with a high level of education. The big one still has to shake off the old-fashioned views on education that some of the teachers have, which remind me of the school I went to when I was a kid. While the small school is more modern in its approach, it emphasizes the individual strengths of the students.
My son and I were counting how many schools he has been to since he started formal schooling. He went to preschool in Riyadh, then a British school in London, then an American school in London, then an International school in Riyadh, then to the school here. So obviously, when we move back, I would essentially like to put him in one school and keep him there.
He is such a good kid and has a good sense of responsibility. He is hard-working and eager to learn and, as far as 8-year-old boys go, he is really easy. I don’t want to mess that up with all the change we keep going through.
What does my son want? To go back to his old school. To his friends who he constantly asks about. And he has good friends there. Can I say for sure that one school is better than the other? Honestly… no.
So what’s more important: a child’s social network at school or how good the school is?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mama B from Saudi Arabia. She can be found writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa.
Photo credit to Norman Ack. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.