Garden International School (GIS) is delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted for the Relocate Awards 2018 for the ‘School Offering Outstanding Relocation Support’ award.
With an international and mobile school community, GIS know that the school becomes a vital component of family life and security when families make Kuala Lumpur their home. GIS take that responsibility seriously and it is telling that Relocate’s award is a new one as it recognises the increasing importance of schools supporting families in transition. The award nomination is recognition of GIS providing an excellent service and significant contribution to the successful relocation and transition of pupils and their families in to the GIS community.
Since 2016, GIS has been guided by a parent engagement vision that was formulated in partnership with its parent community. This vision has then guided their cross-school transitions team and aims to build a safe, sustainable community for their families regardless of where they are coming from or going to. The nine-member transition team focus specifically on ensuring the more effective management of transitions into, within and out of the school.
This award nomination is a source of pride for the school. The Relocate Awards were launched by Relocate in 2007 as the very first awards scheme for the global mobility and relocation sector in order to recognise excellence and to reward and promote best practice. As such, they are one of the few quality measures out there for how well international schools support their families.
The school’s pride mainly comes from the commitment to parental partnership that underpins this work. The school’s staff work on a daily basis with their committed and talented Parent, Teacher and Friends Association (PTF) to ensure new and existing GIS families are welcomed and supported by the wider GIS community. This work has led many experienced international parents to state that they have never known such a warm, welcoming transitional experience when they have started at a school. Most importantly, they have also noticed the huge benefits for their children. As a result of feeling welcome, children new to GIS settle into their learning quickly and securely.
GIS Principal Mark Ford said, “We are delighted with this award nomination as it recognises the excellent work of many members of our staff and parent community. We hope to ‘link up’ the school’s good work in supporting transitions as so many transitions involve different aspects of the school working together.
We think this is necessary because we are an international school, there is always movement in our community. Supporting these transitions can have a huge positive impact on those involved, turning potentially difficult changes in people’s lives into rich, transformative learning experiences. This nomination is welcome recognition of this work and also a great spur for us to continue to improve our provision in this vital area.
Garden International School’s transitional support offer to parents and families:
Helping Parents learn and develop
New parents are introduced to the community through the New Family Induction Day at the start of each term as well as a New Parents Workshop which provides a more informal setting for new parents to get to know each other and have their questions answered. Once settled, they can join the rest of the parent community in the schedule of weekly parent workshops conducted by school teachers and international speakers.
Non-English speaking families are supported extensively in the following ways:
Working in partnership with Parents
Parents, Teachers and Friends (PTF) also provides a communicative platform that covers key areas such as newcomers, health & safety, cafeteria, communication and community events for members of the community to develop closer relationships with each other. These are particularly useful for new parents as they introduce key cultural visits and experiences in and around Kuala Lumpur in a safe and friendly setting.
Supporting new overseas staff
For their staff, GIS offers a two week residential induction programme for all new relocated staff. The school arranges for partner relocation agencies to join the first week of induction, allowing new staff to make informed accommodation choices. GIS also leads sessions on local culture, transition and wellbeing management.
Supporting non-working parents with young children
GIS also runs a Mother Toddler Group for free for its staff and parents twice a week. This group enables non-working parents and staff’s spouses to bond and develop friendships for them and their children below four years old.
Supporting community wellbeing
GIS has three full-time qualified counsellors to offer wellbeing support and counselling for students.