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Parent's Review of American School of the Hague in Wassenaar, Netherlands

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

American School of the Hague

In what town or city is this school located?

Wassenaar

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

American

What grade levels are represented at this school?

Elementary, Kindergarten and 3rd

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

Walk, Bus, Carpool, Bike

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

Facilities are modern, varied and well maintained. Lower Elementary campus (up to 1st grade) is beautiful and welcoming. Main campus houses students by age group (Upper Elementary, Middle and High School) with separate classroom, lunch, library and fitness facilities, giving children a safe and comfortable environment.

Extra-curricular activity offerings are not a strength at ASH. The options for elementary school age children are limited and poorly run, sometimes by parents with little experience or by teachers which charge expensive fees. These are typically dance, some fitness, art and music. Extra curricular activities improve and provide in middle and high school with more robust sports and drama options. Language extra curricular courses are organized by parents and not the school.

The wish for more extra curricular activities and language courses, especially at the elementary level, is captured in parent surveys every year. The administration's position remains unchanged that this is not a focus of the school's educational vision.

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?

Successfully transitioning students and families is an area of excellence for ASH. The school has a strong sense of community and focus on the well-being of the child. Counselors are available for all grades to ensure children are transitioning in and out successfully. Existing students are involved in welcoming new students either as Ambassadors or classroom buddies, therefore quickly building friendships among new and existing students.

The school has a strong focus on transitioning children coming to ASH with gaps in the their academic level. Extra academic support (including 1:1 teachers) is available for students that need to come up to grade level either on language skills or classroom skills. Conversely, there are few options for students coming from more rigorous educational systems or with advanced needs. There is a gifted and talented program that is poorly staffed and managed. At the elementary and middle school level there are no special classes for advanced students. This can be frustrating for students who become bored and unchallenged. The school has provided no indication in their parent surveys or mission updates that there are plans to improve this area.

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

This school fosters a strong sense of community among parents and students. The different communities of families quickly find a 'home' among each other. The PTO and parent organizations are very involved and visible, with strong involvement and leadership especially from the american parents.

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

The school is a good fit for families that prioritize a quick integration into the community for their children and families. The staff is well trained in ensuring kids' needs are identified and recognized early for a successful transition.

ASH is trying to find a balance between its American education mission and its large number of northern European families that prefer a gentler educational approach in early education years - thus, families coming from rigorous suburban public or private schools may find the curriculum less challenging at the elementary and middle school levels. The majority of teachers are very strong and have extensive experience in international schools. However, the school has a difficult time parting with less effective teachers.

For families that prioritize the education of the student as a whole individual and a successful transition to a new country, this is a welcoming environment. For those that prioritize strong educational quality above all else, it is not.

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