1. Have you seen any changes in the number of parents sending their children to boarding schools in recent years?
With the number of schools that offer boarding increasing, it is obvious that there is a demand. Originally, boarding was just for the pre- university students. However, the scenario has changed with parents requesting for children as young as 8. At our school, after looking at our facilities, we had a request for a child who just turned 5. Thus, parents may see it as a safer alternative than baby sitters/caretakers/maids/ day care centres where we hear of abuses, accidents, hygiene issues and little or no monitoring.
On the other end of the scale is the overbearing parents, the ‘tiger mum’ syndrome where nothing less than an A* is acceptable. So, the child is sent straight after school to tuition centres, enrichment centres and so on. Pressure upon pressure is on the child to be better than the neighbour’s child to ace exams.
However, at boarding the child can develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
2. How does attending a boarding school benefit a child and their parents?
You see, in today’s fast paced world with both parents working, rather than leaving the children to baby sitters, caregivers after school, there is a move to consider boarding. We hear of latchkey kids being hooked to the gadgets with no supervision up to all kinds of pranks from online gaming to gambling to vice etc. Homework is ignored or forgotten or there is no one to seek assistance from, and social issues such as cases of relationship issues leading to even teenage pregnancies related issues of unwed mothers, abandoned
babies and abortions. More worrying is the fact that the children get easily influenced and resort to smoking, drugs and eventually becoming dropouts.
There is usually a housemaster/ warden to take care of their needs, to ensure there are hot meals, study hours, free time, gadget time, cleaning time and the likes of it. Both safety and security are observed.
This ensures discipline in what they do and builds a close relationship with
the teacher warden. They can freely share their thoughts and ideas leading to
a healthy bond.
3. How does boarding school prepare children for life after school?
Well, I would boldly say in many ways. Firstly, their educational journey is carved for them, as there is a balanced programme, the students receive a holistic education that includes sports, performing arts, languages, digital literacy and entrepreneurship. Responsibility, caring and sharing, showing compassion, being principled are some values cultivated. They learn how to manage money, how to budget and how not to put train on the parents’ pockets. When they move on in life, they will become resilient in finding solutions to problems intelligently by thinking thoroughly, weighing the odds and ensuring that a win – win situation is created. Lasting friendships are developed, students inspire each other, prod each other on and clearly become the global citizens that the world needs.
4. What advice would you give to the parents who are thinking of registering their child at a boarding school?
As I mentioned, boarding should be an alternative to home, so students should be comfortable. It should be a place they can call 2nd home and a place that provides for lifelong learning – a one stop centre for educational needs for the 21st century.
Having said that, parents need to check out
– Facilities – rooming
– Study programme
Some basics that must be present.
5. What are the key features of City Harbour International School’s boarding facilities and how do they differ from other boarding schools?
At City Harbour International School, a patterned framework of expectations is spelt out to parents, a parent meeting is held and parents are free to survey the place where their children will be. A food menu is pre – set and available to parents.
We have teachers as wardens. That makes it easier for students to clear any doubts that they may have.
As we have a number of sports facilities, students have access to these in the evening and on weekends. Swimming, squash, tennis, basketball, football,
table tennis, badminton etc. The Hall of Residence also is equipped with a
swimming pool, gym and play area. There is an open sky deck where students
can choose to use for study, reading and relaxation.
Saturdays are for house chores, laundry and sports. Sundays are free and easy.
Safety and security are our utmost priority and students are accompanied by
teachers to a ratio of 1: 6.
The students have an option of returning during term breaks or only at the year end. Thus, during term breaks, they embark on educational expeditions to currently, various parts of Malaysia.
The essential element in our boarding is a close relationship established between teacher and student, student to student and it is a novel experience for them as they meet students coming from different cultures, speaking different languages and exhibiting different practices. It takes a few months for them to become one family sharing and experiencing the adventure of a lifetime of independent learning.