Boarding 101 – The Hitchhiker's Guide to BoardingPosted on 4th Mar 2019 in School News, Boarding Tweet
This is a guide for all those out there that are yearning to know all that really matters about boarding, writes Regan Schrieber, Head of Boarding at Hazlegrove Prep School.
Not where to sew the label on a towel (although that may be important) but the really important stuff: who will look after your child when they are feeling sick, and will your child’s laundry be done – even if they forget to put it in!
This is a guide for all those out there that are yearning to know all that really matters about boarding. Not where to sew the label on a towel (although that may be important) but the really important stuff: who will look after your child when they are feeling sick, and will your child’s laundry be done – even if they forget to put it in!
I am not in the habit of writing in bullet point form – this would be heavily frowned upon in my English lessons – but I feel that this may be the easiest way to digest it all. After all, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
• Get to know the houseparents. They will be looking after your most precious possession and a healthy relationship, built on trust and honesty, is not to be underestimated.
• Just as important, get to know the matron – she will be the one sorting out laundry, taking your little one to the doctor and finding the lost wellie boot.
• Ask your child to show you around the boarding house or at least explain how everything works – your child needs to feel proud of their new home and it builds confidence.
• Get to know your child’s friends in the boarding house and introduce yourself to their parents.
• Ask lots of questions. Eventually, you will be an expert and that will be a good feeling.
• Be honest. Tell the school and the adults who are looking after your child, everything they need to know about your child, no matter how small it may seem.
• Your child’s teddy is more than welcome – send it in.
• Help your child set up their personal space, stick up plenty of photos of home, yourselves and the family pet.
• Give your child a letter writing kit and self-addressed envelopes. At least you know that the letters will make it to you!
• Write letters to your child and keep them involved in your life.
• Communication and trust are key. Trust that your child is in good hands and communicate this with your child and the houseparents.
• Stay involved and speak to your child – call as often as you can, if it works for your family and the routine of the house – again, your child’s houseparents will let you know what works best for your child.
• Let your child settle in, especially in the beginning. This helps them settle in to the routine of the house and helps establish friendships.
• Try not to project your anxieties on to your child, this can be hard especially for the first-time boarding parent! They are going to have a huge amount of fun, enjoy that with them. You decided that boarding was a good decision for your child. It is a partnership and you are part of their journey; and all the value that it gives to their school experience.
• Consistency is key in the messages that the children receive both at home and school.
• Trust the school. Communicate and stay involved in the life that you have chosen for your child.
Most importantly, enjoy seeing your child grow in to a confident, tolerant individual who can shower, shampoo hair, clean teeth, make a very neat bed, and get changed without needing a pestering parent! You will be so amazed and proud of your little one.