Moving to a new country can be overwhelming and finding the right school to support the needs of a child is an integral part of the jigsaw to ensure children quickly find a sense of stability. Anna from HSV explains how a school can help support your children, especially those with additional needs.

Looking for quality education alongside growth and development in a safe, dynamic and engaging environment is vital. For international parents with children that have complex learning challenges, these considerations are even more at the forefront. In this article, we explore some of the benefits of educating children with special educational needs within the framework of mainstream education.

What are the challenges for parents with children that have additional needs?When your child requires additional support, finding an international school that will nurture and continue to help them grow can be challenging. This is especially true if you live a life where you are required to travel every few years due to work.

How can a school support your child?Today, special education is a field of education that is paramount to the success of the educational system. It gives children with learning disabilities the opportunity to get quality education in line with their unique needs in small classes taught by highly-trained teachers. As classes are small there is a higher ratio of adults to children to provide the highest level of support.

The focus should be on helping children learn academically but also ensuring there is an emphasis on developing communication and social skills. Children should be taught how to cope with change, learn in a school setting, listen and follow instructions, maintain attention, and complete tasks independently.

Children will have an individual learning plan (IEP), which is based on the child’s specific educational needs as well as their emotional needs. The plan is written by the teacher in collaboration with additional therapists and the child’s parents to ensure consistency across as many settings as possible.

What benefits are there for children transitioning from special school classes into mainstream classes?When children are ready, there should be opportunities for them to integrate with their peers in the mainstream classes. Finding a special school that is attached to a mainstream school can be hugely beneficial. Parents will have peace of mind that their child is in a familiar environment; being supported by teachers that know them, and mixing with peers they recognise. Relationships can be formed helping develop important social skills. Children will also learn how to cope with the variations between the two learning environments.

For children already in the mainstream, opportunities are created to learn about diversity, patience and inclusion. This can become the cornerstone of developing an understanding of equality at a young age; balancing the needs of all children, regardless of their ability and educational requirements.

Haagsche Schoolvereeniging (HSV) is proud to be the only school in the Netherlands that provides special education for international families with children aged 3 to 13 years. Lighthouse Special Education (LSE) and the preschool, Three Little Ships (TLS) are located at the VHS location of HSV.

Children who attend LSE are integrated whenever possible with mainstream classes. Onsite therapists support children with speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and sensory integration. To find out more about HSV and organise a tour, please visit the website.

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