With school applications season approaching in Egypt, a huge wave of stress and panic reaches every parent whose kids are enrolling next year. And oh boy, if they were first-timers. Honestly, they have every right to panic, with so many school options and education systems, and don’t even get me started on school fees.

Apart from the school application process itself, parents usually worry a lot about the child’s assessment and parents’ interviews. They try to ensure that the child is very well-prepared for the school interview/assessment. Based on what I see, they tend to stuff the child with so much information and try to get them to use the pen more often, without considering the age of the child. I’m not judging this approach or saying that it’s wrong. However, I’m more concerned about the child.

School assessments vary, depending on school requirements and what they look for in a student. There are common criteria that schools generally look for, but it’s way too difficult to list them in an article, due to the big variety of education systems in Egypt, and the huge number of schools in each system. You’ll find that the national school assessment has standards that are different from those of the international school, and the international schools’ requirements differ according to whether the child is interviewed for the British, American, French, German, IB or Montessori system.

However, putting pressure on the child and giving him/her the responsibility of impressing the interviewers is too much for a 3-year-old to handle. After all, they are kids. You can’t expect them to act naturally and behave properly under that amount of stress.

How can I prepare my child for an interview?

Here’s the point, we want our children to be presentable and well-rounded with basic age-appropriate knowledge and that’s completely valid even though it’s something that I personally don’t disagree with, because why are we sending them to school then? – but let’s put my personal opinion aside. The keyword here is to boost their self-esteem.

Image source: Anas Thacharpadikkal

Here’s your list of Do’s and Don’ts:

DON’T: Arrive at school right before the interview.

DO: Arrive a little early at the school, show the child around and let him spend time in the play area if possible, so they can build a connection with the place. 

DON’T: Tell the child that they are going to an interview where he’d be questioned.

DO: Tell the child that they were so good at their nursery and the nursery recommended that they go to this school with elder students.

DON’T: Revise all the “a cow lives on a farm and a lion lives in the wild” data right before the interview.

DO: Tell them the information beforehand while you’re both relaxed in the form of story-telling. Do it multiple times before the interview day. Also, you can spread flashcards with colors and numbers in your child’s playroom, so they get familiar with the names/colors/numbers.

DON’T: Make the child feel responsible for the result, or tell them they’d be asked questions and if they answered correctly, they shall pass it and go to this school.

DO: Get more information on the assessment of the school you’re applying at, and tell the child what to expect in a way that could boost his/her confidence.

And one last word, bear in mind that the process of the interview and assessment can be really intense for a child. Understand that and always ask about their feelings. Let them be themselves and they can show you awesome things.

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