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Parent's Review of De Wassenaard in Brugge, Belgium

What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)

De Wassenaard

In what town or city is this school located?

Brugge

How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)

Local

What grade levels are represented at this school?

Pre-School (Peuter and Kleuter, from 2.5 years) to 6th grade (6de leerjaar)

How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)

The majority of children get to school by car with parents, some walk, some bike and some bus.

How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?

The facilities are average for American school standards, although excellent for Belgian. The school is large with 700 students, however the space is generous and the areas well developed. There is an out-dated but functional playground for the preschoolers and a large wooden outdoor theater and play area. There is a small grass area and 4 large cemented areas open, but segregrated by age. There is a cafeteria with warm meals and a small gymnasium. Extra-curricular activities exist only in before and after school care which is normally satisfactory. Sports and other activities are found in the community and are normally available once or twice a week. I found this interesting in that my child can do many different activites while still getting enough rest and time for family and homework.

What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?

There are programs in the city which provide programs for merging into the society and learning the language. We found however that these programs were segregrated from the other classrooms. Our daughter was in preschool and very social so we enrolled her only half-days for the first months. She enjoyed playing with the children and listening to the songs and games. If you join into a program in a similar manner it helps to have a good English working relationship with the teacher and aids. Tell them what helps comfort your child and leave a picture of the family with her/him.

How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?

There is a parent committee, but this is very limited in my opinion. The schools in Belgium, the best are Catholic (don't neccessarily be dissuaded from this it plays a very insignificant portion of the curriculum and is not imposing) and in the top 3 world wide. Teaching curriculum is of the Belgian standard for all school teachers.

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?

It is a large school, the student teacher ratio is on average 1:23, respectively. I recommend occasionaly being there to speak some words to the director and teacher/s. Learn the language or speak in English.

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