At ISKL, the strength of the partnership between our students, parents and us sets our school apart and is essential in making our community special. Parents’ engagement is vital to supporting students’ transition and learning.
A transition is not just about coming or going to a new country or joining a new school, it is about different types of change, and we have all gone through tremendous change over the past few years.
ISKL has remained committed to supporting our diverse parent community of over 65 nationalities by building and maintaining strong parents-school partnerships. This commitment has helped us develop a comprehensive series of workshops to equip parents to navigate new ways of learning with their children and remind them that they are not alone.
These workshops are not just providing strategies and insights on new methods of learning and well-being; they provide opportunities to share moments, remain connected and committed as a community and ensure a smooth transition for our families. Parental involvement is encouraged across the grades at ISKL as it helps strengthen our partnership.
From navigating the digital world to the importance of well-being, let’s look at some of our Parent Workshops held by our Elementary School (ES), Middle School (MS), High School (HS) counselors and Faculty over previous academic years.
Finding Balance in a Digital World
Even before the pandemic, parents were seeking strategies and tips on how to manage screen time, which saw an exponential rise due to the pandemic. Our MS counselors conducted this workshop to help parents mediate their children’s technology media use.
Our counselors dived into strategies to help manage children’s screen time, teach parents to be media mentors and how to be mindful of screen time. Parents were also given books and tools recommendations to help with digital balance.
Parenting Students in The Digital Age
On the topic of finding balance in a digital world but adapted for younger group ages, in this workshop, the ES team presented helpful tips on parenting in the digital age to ensure that students continue learning productively and safely.
The ES team discussed tips for successful online learning, establishing online boundaries and privacy, ensuring time away from the screen, technical help, and ES library resources.
Understanding the Learning
The ES Teaching & Learning Team led grade-level focused workshops inviting parents to partner with them to explore resources parents could use to engage their children in rich learning and critical discourse across Mathematics and Literacy.
During these sessions, parents had the opportunity to look at the ISKL ES Parent Learning Connection, strategies and dispositions for learning that will help their children succeed.
In addition to interactive workshops, ISKL has also produced short but insightful videos on well-being strategies for parents to watch at their convenience.
The Art of Mindfulness
ISKL’s ES Counselors conducted this short workshop for ES parents on how being mindful can help children and adults maintain attention and focus on the things that matter.
The session included methods to help the audience ground themselves so they do not get distracted by everything happening around them. These methods included breathing exercises to try and apps popular with children that can teach users mindfulness, such as Cosmic Kids, Headspace, and Calm.
Self-regulation at Home
One of the most significant gifts we can give our children is co-regulation, as we strive to validate their feelings and provide them with assurance.
In this workshop, our ES Counselors shared a video describing self-regulation, its benefits, and some strategies to support young people in navigating challenges and choosing how to respond to different life events.
Strategies to Enhance Well-being
To provide parents with the appropriate information to nurture their family’s well-being, ISKL’s ES Counselors devised this workshop offering hands-on practical strategies that can be carried out both by the parents and their children.
The counselors elaborated on topics related to mindfulness, such as the STOP practice, practices that focus on caring for the self and the power of positive self-talk, which parents and children can use.
We touched on the changes families experienced during this pandemic; the reality is that there are several immense transitions families continue to experience, especially in ISKL’s transient community.
With this in mind, our counselors went a step further by providing parents and students with the necessary support and strategies to help them feel as prepared as possible to get through these transitions.
Supporting Your Child Through a Transition
Providing your children with the necessary support during transitional phases in their life is essential to their well-being, especially as they begin to realize the inevitability of change and exchanging goodbyes.
During this session, ES counselors at ISKL discussed the importance of identifying the telltale signs of a rough transitional period, building A RAFT concept (Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells, Think Destination), and revealed simple activities that parents can do to bond with children.
MS/HS Leaver Workshop
Whether families are transitioning in or out of the ISKL community, children and parents experience many challenges and emotions. To help ISKL’s MS and HS parents and students understand and cope with leaving our community, ISKL’s MS/HS counselors taught the Leaver workshop.
In this workshop, our counselors shared various strategies to equip our transient families with the confidence to get through this transition to their next destination.
Towards the end of the workshop, families took the opportunity to join smaller groups to discuss coping mechanisms and understand whether they were productive. Finally, a brainstorming reconciliation was also conducted for both parent and child.
Transitioning to University
Every year, ISKL’s HS counselors host a workshop for parents of Grade 12 intending to prepare them for their children’s transition towards the next big chapter of their lives.
In this workshop, parents learned about the typical emotional responses to anticipate as their child prepares to enter university, along with other relevant information such as understanding the Cross-Cultural Kid model.
Parents were given tools and resources to navigate their children’s transition into university. These tools showed parents that with proper preparation and clear and open communication, their children transitioning into university could be a smooth and memorable experience.
On Letting Go and Looking Forward
To complement the previous workshop (Transitioning for University), ISKL’s HS counselors, in collaboration with Grade 12 parents, organized a workshop on the topic of Empty Nesters.
This workshop discussed the ups and downs of having your last child leave home and addressed parents’ wellness as they embark on their new identity as Empty Nesters.
In this session, ISKL focused on understanding transitions and building on the principles of RAFT (Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells, Think Ahead) and included discussions focused on issues parents are likely to face when children are leaving home for the first time.
Parents who have previously been through this process shared their own stories and tips to help other parents prepare for the transition to life after ISKL.
Financial Considerations – Higher Education
Every parent with a child entering High School will begin thinking about one thing — University and how it can be costly, especially when considering Universities abroad.
Acknowledging this, one of ISKL’s HS Counselors led a series of workshops and sessions on essential information that parents need to know about financial matters related to higher education.
For families considering enrolling their children in an American University, the counsellor also discussed ways to apply for financial aid for Non-US Citizens.
ISKL’s commitment to building partnerships with our families exemplifies our status as a parent-governed school; a parent-elected board leads ISKL, our supportive, dynamic and active Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Research demonstrates that parent-school partnerships have a significant influence on developing essential life and learning skills and habits.
ISKL uses community data annually to inform the sessions to be offered and curates the content for the school year accordingly. We value balancing our parent partnership program with consistent learning sessions responsive to emergent needs.
In the future, parents can expect more workshops by ISKL teams on various tips and tricks, Parent Learning workshops, university 101s, and much more.
If you’d like an insider perspective on what it’s like to be a member of the community at ISKL, connect with a Panther here.