Kampala, Uganda Report of what it's like to live there - 09/10/18
Personal Experiences from Kampala, Uganda
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
Starting in 2018, our kids were in toddler group (3yrs old). Now in new school term they are in pre-kindergarten (4-5yrs old) and playgroup (18=month old).
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
Work - US government
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Plenty of schools are available, especially at preschool age. This school is truly play-based, however. At these young ages, I wanted my kids to socialize and have fun and get used to a school environment but without flash cards or long circle times; rather lots of play and exploration and teacher attention. KCIP provides all that.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
Yes, partially through website but school Director and admin staff are extremely responsive via email.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Extremely good. The school puts a lot of focus on helping new kids integrate and feel comfortable. The school accepts little tiny toddlers up to pre-k, so the welcome/integration is both for new kids to Kampala but also little ones who have never before been in a school environment. The teachers and school involve the parents and the families a lot, communicate a LOT at the start about how things are going, and really help more than I've seen before for parents to feel comfortable that the kids are doing well. And, of course, they really help the kids to actually do well and settle in quickly.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Very strong. The school admin and teachers are very committed to engaging parents and having good communication. They are still testing out new things, like sending weekly reports that describe what the kids are doing and learning that week, etc. But in general they are open and happy to meet whenever needed and make strong efforts to engage families.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
No fees other than standard term fees. Website has costs.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
Yes, both. And there are after-school 'clubs.' Website gives fees.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes. They have a nice library with a large variety of books. The toddler through pre-k classes borrow books as a weekly activity to take home.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
None. It's a preschool.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
No - it's a preschool.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
No gym. No courts. It's a preschool, so there's a large play area. They have some small swimming pool that they use to help the kids get used to being in water, but not really proper swimming lessons.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
My 18-month old has a 5 kids and 2 teachers in the class that she is in. My pre-K kids class is around 5-1 or so I believe.
8. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
9. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
Yes. The curriculum is nearly entirely play-based, which is absolutely perfect for the pre-Kindergarten ages. Yet through play they are learning shapes, colors, counting, measurements, letters, etc. In all the right ways. My kids come home begging me to play with them games that involve naming what letter things around the house begin with, etc. The school also focuses a lot on emotional regulation, manners, getting along, etc, which - again - is perfect for this age group. SO many preschools I visited were WAY too 'academic' focused, promising to have kids reading by pre-k, etc. Kids need to learn emotional regulation, social skills, and love of learning at the pre-k age - actual academic learning should wait. KCIP focuses on just what this age group needs, very well.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
No homework - which is perfect and appropriate for this age.
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Everything, at a preschool level. Lots of art, music, dance, etc. Plus amazing after-school clubs that go further with gymnastics, capoeira, etc.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The school is a preschool, with a small student-teacher ratio. The teachers are able to, and do, give individual attention to each of the kids, whether showing signs of being 'gifted' or of being behind the curve. Each kid gets the encouragement, attention, and help that they need for the stage that they are at.
15. What services are available for students with physical disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
16. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
17. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
There are after-school clubs such as cooking, gymnastics, capoeira, team sports, etc. My kids did dance and gymnastics for a few months and had a good time. Only thing missing is that it is quite sad that the school does not have a proper swimming pool and so the 'swimming' that is offered is less than ideal.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes and yes.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
Not that I've seen or know of.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
A. And yes, I would definitely choose it again and am, in fact, choosing it for my youngest (18-month).
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
The school is fairly new, and the director and admin team are very receptive to suggestions, parent and family input, and feedback. It can be a bit of a challenge to figure out what the kids are actually doing on an ongoing basis, as my kids don't talk much about their school day (or at least not in ways that tell me what I'm looking for). They recently started a weekly update report to try to fill that gap, however, which will hopefully help me figure out what the teachers are focusing on more and make more sense of what my young kids are talking about when they get home.