In Dubai and apparently in most of GCC when children start school, they have to go through an assessment. Barely out of their diapers, these children as young as 2 1/2 are put into groups without their parents and observed and asked questions. For some the session ends in crying and being bundled off to their alarmed parents. For others it is an anxious wait of 45 min to an hour for the parents until they see their young ones again.
Last year my son went through a similar assessment and fortunately he was one of the children who survived the hour long session. The assessment was followed by a 2 weeks waiting (torture) time after which the school told me that they didn’t have space for him. Why did they assess him in the first place, I will never know.
This year he went through 2 more assessments for 2 schools as I wanted to make sure that he got in at least one of them. He was offered a place in both schools and I chose the one I thought was better.
And then my husband decided to change jobs and move us to Bahrain.
So the process of school hunting started all over again. Most of the well known schools had already closed for admission but I managed to apply in one of the schools which is also known to be good. This time his assessment was less painful as it was an individual one which only lasted 15 minutes and I was told the positive result straight away. I was also not stressed because by now my son at 4 1/2 has evolved into a confident young boy who is ready to talk to everyone and anyone. (If he hasn’t talked to you yet, it’s only because he hasn’t met you.)
And so my son has passed this difficult phase of assessments though I suspect it was far more difficult for me than for him and I look forward to him doing well in the “big” school.