Charlotte – A very young pupil quickly settled down as a full boarder

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Background
Charlotte was only 9 years old when she came to the UK as a full boarder.

Challenges
Charlotte had never been a boarder, let alone a full boarder and was incredibly young. Her parents were worried that she might not be able to settle down and would suffer from homesickness.

WSE Solution: Adaptation to School life

For Charlotte’s age, the biggest concern for her parents was her physical and emotional well being. In this example, we were effectively acting as Charlotte’s surrogate parent who looked after her welfare.

Before starting school officially, we recommended sending her to a carefully selected summer school for two weeks as a transition. Over there, most students were international students like herself. They all had a basic understanding of English culture, so Charlotte would not feel too overwhelmed or different from other children. She quickly got used to the boarding routine. Also, some local students of the same age range came to the school every day to help. Charlotte got exposed to school language.

As the youngest girl in her boarding house, many older boarders gave her all their attention. She did not need to speak much as everything was taken care of by the senior students. It helped Charlotte settle down very quickly but it didn’t benefit her to be unable to find a friend group of the same age as her. We worked closely with the house parent to make sure the senior girls understood that Charlotte would need to make friends of her own age in the house. She was also encouraged to make friends with her classmates. We were delighted when she told us that she was invited to a classmate’s birthday party and immediately gave our permission for her to attend the event.

During half term we selected a host family with 3 children ranging from 10-14 years old so Charlotte could enjoy the same activities with them and bond with them well. We also arranged English tutoring for the morning, so that she would further improve her English. In the afternoon Charlotte stayed with the children at the host family to relax. The host family took all of the children out for meals or kids’ activities.

Medical concerns
Charlotte had gastric problems when she came to the UK. We instructed the host family to cater for her particular dietary requirements. When she was ill, we immediately took her out of school so we could give her better care. When her sickness did not improve we took her to see a doctor. She could always get hold of us via the 24/7 emergency number if she ever needed urgent assistance, whether it be personal or academic. Of course, we also kept in constant contact with her making sure she was physically and spiritually fulfilled in general.

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