Preparing for Jasmine’s School Days

As early as May of this year, we have already prepared our minds and our selves for the challenges that’s up ahead when our little Jasmine starts to go to school here in Qatar. Preparations include cost, the daily hurdles, and more. But amidst all these preparations, we still expect a lot of mistakes and adjustments.

The following article is an attempt to give idea to new parents on what’s up ahead when our child goes to school for the first time. We do not claim being an authority over this subject but our readings and talks with other parents gave us more information that will be very useful to others as well. We are sharing these in the hope that we could also encourage a healthy exchange of ideas and tips on how to make our child’s school days very meaningful.

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Cost of Early Childhood Education in Qatar

When we talk about cost, one could immediately refer to the current exchange rates and you can easily see the difference. Qatar Riyals to Philippine Peso stands at Php13.8 to QR1 (http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=QAR&To=PHP). It is not only so with the cost of education but the cost of living here in general.

We are listing down some of the schools whose fee structures for KG1 (Kinder Garden 1 – for children age 4) are publicly shown on their website (representing the annual tuition fee only):

  1. Pearling Season International School – QR 48,000 (Source: http://psisd.com.qa/psi-fees/) 
  2. Newton International School D-Ring QR 20,589 (Source: http://nisdring.newtonschools.sch.qa/Uploads/PDF%20Files/Fee_Regulation_form_DRING_2015_16201612060145493564000.pdf)
  3. The Cambridge School Qatar – QR 16,960 (Source: http://www.tcsqatar.com/admission/fees.php)
  4. The Springfield Kindergarden  – QR 6,870 (Source: http://www.tskqatar.com/admission/Fees-Structure)

While there are also some Filipino schools offering early childhood education in Qatar, the cost could still be about double or quadruple the price than back home. The only consolation includes having Filipino teachers that we are more accustomed to as well as the familiar kind of care and attention that they can give our children.

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Why do some parents choose to send their children to school here?

Many OFW/expat parents still bite the cost and decide to send their children to school here for many reasons. Along with other inconveniences like transportation and the need for guardians or nanny especially by parents who are both working, there are some who were able to sort things out well.

  1. THE EFFECTS OF SEPARATION. One of the primary reasons is due to the fact that many new parents would rather spend money than let their children experience the pains and anxiety that is brought by separation (see related post here).
  2. BEING A HANDS-ON PARENT. Especially for first time parents, many would like to experience having to help their kids on their assignments or home works and be able to oversee their school developments. This is one important phase that is really very hard to miss.
  3. COMPANY-ASSISTED EDUCATION FEES. For those who are really blessed to be employed in companies where child education is part of their remuneration package, it is but automatic to enjoy all these privileges.

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How to prepare for school days

As school days (British standard) start on September 10, most of the schools are opening up along with many government officials coming back to work after a long Eid break, we should be expecting really heavy traffic especially on areas where there are schools.

BEST LIFE QATAR would like to outline some tips that could be of help to many parents:

  1. DO NOT USE FORCE ON YOUR CHILD. Mornings can become very stressful for both parents and kids. Waking up can be extra challenging if we haven’t trained them to wake up early few days before school days. Excite them before going to bed so they will look up to the next morning with eagerness. I am always reminding my self that the kids will bring the morning atmosphere from home to the school. So if we want them to have that positive mindset at school, let’s do our best to start it the moment they wake up.
  2. PREPARE THEIR SNACKS CREATIVELY. Some schools would allow kids to bring light food during their break. Check out suggestions on how to make a creative bento box where you can arrange their food on their favorite cartoon characters. Pinterest has a big galley of bento lunch boxes for your reference. Bear in mind also that packaging or storage plays an important part so we have to make sure that it is safe and very convenient to carry.
  3. PREPARE THEIR UNIFORMS FOR THE WEEK. As working parents, it will be very difficult to wash and iron cloths during working days so it is advisable to buy uniforms enough for the week, as additional set of uniform will not really cost that much. Keep it all together in a separate area where all their accessories are in place, including their socks, shoes, bags, etc.
  4. HAVE A CONTACT NUMBER OF THE SCHOOL, TEACHERS, DRIVERS AND THEIR NANNY. Keep all these numbers on your smartphones and a list that’s visibly displayed in your house. For emergency purposes, it is best to keep an updated list of these numbers. However, refrain from unnecessary calls as it may cause lines of the schools to be busy for a more emergency one, disrupt the teachers from their lessons, get the driver on an accident while on the road, or make the nanny uncomfortable by answering calls while carrying many articles of our children.

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The first day of school is indeed a very exciting phase of our child’s development. We were told to expect cries and a bit of hesitation and struggle as they go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar group of people. But as it goes by, kids will have a normal tendency to adopt with the schools program and with their new found friends. Parents or guardians should always exercise maximum tolerance and patience.

I would also like to end this post by sharing a parenting lesson that I read somewhere. It says that in public, parents tend to discipline their kids for fear of “them, as parents” being judged by other parents. This should not be the case. Kids behave that way simply because they’re kids… and it has little to do with parent’s pride. Giving them a spank or shouting at them in public won’t help lift up our egos as parents. Rather we have to keep our calm and try to embrace them or talk to them in a subtle manner. Good behavior must be repeated to them until it becomes a habit.

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