Not only does Overseas Family School meet all four of the Kraan family’s criteria, it also inspires their daughter to achieve her best in both academics and sports.
Having been through several schools, the Kraan family found that Overseas Family School (OFS) offers the best fit for their daughter’s overall development. Like all families, Pieter Kraan and Susan Kraan-Akkerman had a few important criteria when selecting a school for their daughter Casharell. OFS happens to be the only school that meets all their requirements, and they’ve seen their child benefit from its offering to the fullest.
We spoke to them to understand what factors led them to choose OFS, and how it has benefited their daughter.
Hi Pieter and Susan, can you tell us more about the important factors you had in mind when picking a school for Casharell?
We were looking for an international school that suited our daughter’s character and personality best. Casharell is a sporty child that loves and needs to be active to thrive academically. As such, one of the most important factors for us is to find a school that offers both a solid academic foundation and a well-designed sports programme. Not only does being active in a competitive sport help children stay fit and healthy, but it also develops their personality, resilience and courage, and teaches them how to overcome challenges on their growth path.
It’s also important for us that Casharell is fluent in her home language and has the ability to speak multiple languages. As we’re living in a multicultural world, this ability can give her a competitive edge in the future work field.
Last but not least, we wanted our daughter to feel at home in a school environment that’s inspiring, supportive, safe, and caring. We were looking for a school that is great at communicating with its students and parents. It should keep parents well informed, responded to, and involved. We call this a school with a smile.
And has OFS met all these requirements?
It has! We found that all of these factors are present in OFS. It’s an academically-strong school, has a great sports programme, has diverse language offerings, and it’s a school with a smile. It’s worth mentioning that OFS’ sports programme is able to combine both academic and sports development, and students are supported by the school in achieving their best in both.
What are the academic offerings at OFS?
OFS offers the International Early Years Curriculum (IEYC) for Pre-K1 (two years old) to K2 (five years old); the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for Grades 1 to 5, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) for Grades 6 to 12. Model United Nations is also incorporated into the school’s core curriculum.
Here’s a question for Casharell – what do you like most about your school?
I like attending OFS as I have great friends, classmates, and inspiring teachers to learn from. Though it’s a large school, it has a cosy feel, and students receive personalised attention.
I love that the coaches, teachers, and staff support my passion for swimming. I train seven times a week, and they’re always there to help me coordinate academic work and my sports training planning when needed.
Besides that, OFS also has great sports facilities and a competitive sports coaching team to challenge me to be my best and achieve my goals. Where else can students say that they train in the school’s Olympic standard pool, sail on the sea next to school, and pursue gymnastics in a purpose-built gym? The opportunity to dabble in different sports gives me a unique experience, and I love it!
Personally, my experience in OFS is full of highlights. From achieving first place in the national ranking for 800m Freestyle, playing a Lemur in the school’s Madagascar musical, to being able to progress to the Advanced Class for Mathematics. I’ve also helped a classmate overcome certain fears, which boosts their self-esteem. There’s also the school camping trip, which was an awesome experience with my friends.
Sounds great! And for Pieter and Susan, what has the communication experience with OFS been like?
The speed and openness in communication within OFS, including its competitive sports management and coaches, is definitely above our expectations. This gives us, as parents, the confidence that we made the right choice in picking OFS for our daughter.
We would like to highlight that it’s not just communication with the school that’s important, but communication between athlete, coaching team, and parents has to be effective as well. This is especially important when our daughter is pursuing an intensive sports programme along with academic growth. Effective communication and planning enable the student-athlete to evolve in the best way possible. As all these are present in OFS, Casharell is able to keep improving herself and strive towards achieving her goals.
Sounds like OFS has lived up to your expectations!
It has! At OFS, we were welcomed with a smile everywhere – from the staff to its students. Whatever the school has promised us, it has delivered.
As Casharell is very active in sports, she has to have good time management to juggle her training and school work. Smooth communication with teachers, coaches, and staff has made it all possible for her. They’re all very understanding and supportive in helping her strive towards her learning and sporting goals and aspirations. The support from OFS gives her wings to fly and inspires her to achieve the best of herself in both academics and sports. As parents, we’re happy we found in OFS the great fit for our daughter’s holistic development path.
What do you value most about the school?
We value the school’s great IB programme, which consistently produces excellent results. We also value the Study Preparation Program (SSP) for non-native English speakers, as well as the extensive Mother Tongue language programme that Casharell has benefitted from.
Above all, we appreciate that the school is developing a diverse professional competitive sports programme. Casharell benefits from this to the fullest, and is happy to represent OFS at the national level. Its professional swim programme was a large pull factor for her to choose OFS as a school to pursue her dreams and goals. Besides swimming, she has attended the competitive artistic gymnastic and competitive sail team programmes as well. As sports development is an integral part of her educational path, we’re happy that OFS can offer her exactly that.
Last question: any advice for parents who are trying to choose a school for their child?
Our advice is to look beyond advertising and focus on the facts on your selection criteria list. As expatriate parents, we’ve been through the school selection process several times. Experience tells us that you’ll have to pre-select a few schools that fit your selection criteria first before deep-diving into each school’s offerings, vibe, communication, and impression to find the right fit for your child’s personality.
If sports and language development as well as academic growth are important factors in your school selection criteria, then OFS is a hidden gem that you must have on your shortlist.
Thank you for your time, Pieter, Susan, and Casharell!
This post is in partnership with Overseas Family School.