Education Outside The Classroom

August 6, 2009

Remember that what your children learn outside the classroom is just as important as what they learn inside. Relocation is an excellent time to remember this fact.

When choosing a school, make sure to pay attention to the programs offered in art, music, dance, theater, athletics, and after-school activities. Do any of them seem to exist simply to meet national or other requirements, or have the programs been developed thoughtfully? These programs may go a long way as far as helping your children through the process of settling in their new school, and they will grow in the process.


Do the schools you are looking at offer field-trips for the students? What kinds and how often?

Many schools might be limited in their offerings outside of the classroom. Still, recognizing the importance of this sort of education, there are some easy things you can do with your child that will go a long way:

-Learn folk songs of your new country and teach them to your child. Sing them around the house. Challenge your child to think about them: in what ways are they different from or similar to folk songs from home? Are they in a different language? Do they have a different mood? Can you sing a melody and have your child guess if it sounds like a folk song from home or from your new country?

-Once settled in your new home, don’t rely only on old familiar recipes. Explore, with your child, the cuisine of your new country. What familiar tastes do they use? What tastes are new and surprising? Does the kitchen smell different from how it smelled at home?

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa

-When possible, museum trips, walking tours, etc., are great ways of teaching your children about their new surroundings. These don’t have to be boring for your children. Focus on the things that interest them (the natural history museum isn’t inspirational for everybody!). If your young child is fascinated by fire trucks or playing war, take them to visit the local firehouse or a museum about an important war in your new country’s history. If your child loves animals, take them to the zoo or aquarium can teach them about local species that might not have populated your old home country.

Suffolk Regiment Museum

Parents know that activities like these are great for any child, but it’s easy to forget about them during a difficult transition and move. If you can find time to explore them, though, they can go a long way in both easing the transition for your child and teaching them in the process.