Doing what you can to help your expat family feel supported and relaxed is the best way to ensure a successful transfer. One of the biggest stressors for your expat family will most certainly be the school search. Even though 87% of expatriate policies include provisions for education, much of the research is placed on the parents to find the perfect institution to foster their child’s learning. Your incoming family will need your help navigating this difficult and important task. School finding is a nervous time for families, and the search may put a halt on other relocation activities. Supporting your expats in this area is a smart idea, and having a close working relationship with the admissions at the schools can very helpful.
As you read in the Perfect Global Mobility Yearly Planning school searches for the fall happen early in the year – see here
In a perfect world, a school search should start 6 months in advance if you are opting for International schools. It would be helpful to help set up a timeline for your new hire so they can have all the opportunities open for their children, and not be turned away due to the lateness of an application.
Sending in an application to a school (you can do this with private ones but not the public schools or any daycare) as early as you can is a great way to calm a nervous parent. Even so, it’s not unusual that the admission won’t be able to provide you with a confirmation of a place until after Easter.
We have come up with a list of questions that can help your transferring family reach the best decision on how to find the right school for their children.
- How does your child handle change? You need to know what your child can handle in terms of the change. Just because you and your spouse are ready for a new country, when you have children in the house, it is important to make sure that they will be able to handle the changes in their school and personal life.
- How does the curriculum compare to that of your native country? Americans, Brits, Chinese, French, and Germans often want to go with a school with your own national curriculum. If you are expecting to move back to your native country, you will want a similar curriculum.
- What is the mission of the school? How do the values of the school compare to your values? You should be asking questions about the school’s views on character development, social skills and community outreach among other things you feel are important for your child to learn.
- What is the class size?Consider the classroom size. This can make a big difference in how children learn. Does your child need regular one on one support?
- How does the school integrate STEM and the fine arts? It is important to understand how these subjects are integrated into the learning. Are they taught as separate subjects or integrated all the way through the curriculum
- What are the ways the school fosters creative and inspirational learning outside the classroom? Some parents prefer that their child learns holistically. Does the school inspire outside the classroom learning
- What are the reading lists? Are there outside reading requirements? What type of books is on the reading lists by grade?
- Language. How are foreign languages incorporated into the curriculum? This is especially important if your family will expect future travel and cross border moves.
- Cost: How much of an investment will the you need to make & can you afford the school you are interested in? Like it or not, money must play a role in decision making. If there is a less costly option that has the equivalent quality and would allow the kids the ability to stay in the home country, it should be suggested and visited.
- Location: Is the school located in an area that will be convenient to your family’s daily schedule?
Once you have the school research underway, you can offer your new family ideas on how to stay busy and learn more about Sweden. Having family time that is enjoyable and exploratory is a wonderful way to stay close, have fun, and learn more about Stockholm and Sweden.
Your new expat family may like our activities with children handout.
This will help your new family to assimilate familiar with their Swedish surroundings.
Lastly, your new hire’s children may enjoy this YouTube of Lena’s daughter explaining her favorite places to visit in Stockholm.
If you plan on bringing employees to Sweden, you will learn useful information by reading our Guide to Bringing Foreign Talent to Sweden.