Photographs: North Zealand International School
Text: Shani Bishop, North Zealand International School
Starting a new school is always exciting but can also be scary for children. At North Zealand International School (NIS), we have a tried and tested system to help our learners feel comfortable and secure as soon as possible. On the first morning, as new parents gather with all the other parents to meet each other over a cup of coffee, our new learners are welcomed into their classes to meet their teacher and classmates. Each new learner is assigned a buddy or two who know the school well. The buddies will be their guide and show them where to go and what to do. Our dedicated teachers are experienced at integrating new learners with ice breakers and fun team building activities at the beginning of term and throughout the year.
As the year progresses, there is much group work as the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) encourages collaboration and teamwork. As a result, new learners can meet lots of new classmates and develop vital skills while studying exciting learning-focused units like Fairgrounds or Chocolate.
Trips are another way we enhance integration. Each class visits a field centre in Kagerup, Gribskov, for an overnight team-building trip in the autumn. This beautiful site has accommodation, fields and playgrounds to explore. There’s plenty of space for orienteering and other physical activities. In the evenings, there’s usually a movie night. This fantastic trip is where friendships are created!
Astrid, a mum from Portugal, said, “We chose NIS because when we searched online, the Parents Association at this school stood out as being really active, and we really wanted that close-knit community for our children and us. It hasn’t disappointed.”
Welcoming parents too!
As new learners meet their new classmates on the first morning, parents can make new connections too. The class parent representatives mix and mingle to introduce new parents to other parents in their children’s class. Over the first few days, the school sends communications about upcoming events through the online learning and communication platform, and the parent group ensures all new families are aware of welcome events and social gatherings organised by the Parents Association. New parents are invited to a cosy coffee morning a few weeks later where the Parents Association explain all the events they organise, and Karen Bøttger, Head of School at NIS, welcomes new parents officially. This is an excellent opportunity to ask fellow parents those tricky questions about where to buy those hard to find items and great places to visit.
Integrating Secondary students
With secondary students becoming more independent, the role of the NIS class teacher becomes key to managing the integration of new students to join lots of activities. In addition, a parent from the child’s class will often check with new families to ensure they have all they need and support them in integrating into the school.
“For new students, it’s an easy school to come into because it’s a very welcoming school, and the teachers are going to provide all the help you need.” - Joep Willense, The Netherlands
International Day in September
The first fun school-wide event for families is happening in September. Families group together by nationality or interest into countries and share insights into their culture and traditions during International Day. Each country offers foods to try and games to play. The children are given passports to ‘travel’ to many countries to ask questions and taste the local cuisine. The India table is always popular with amazing curries and sweets to try. International day is a great way for parents to make good friends from home or the other 50 nationalities represented at NIS. Each International day has a theme from the UN sustainability goals, and the school-wide theme in focus this year is Life on Land. The games and displays explain the issues and nurture curiosity into all we can do to think globally and act locally.
Arrived recently and looking for a good international school? If you are interested in NIS, please check the website and apply online at https://ngg.openapply.com