NIS Stories

Nurturing New Beginnings: The Meet and Eat Program at NIS

IMG_6160Embarking on a new academic journey can be both exciting and challenging for students, especially those adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings. At Nagoya International School, the Meet and Eat program stands as a beacon of support, ensuring that every new student feels heard, understood, and equipped to overcome the hurdles that may arise during their transition.

The Meet and Eat Program

NIS has developed a unique initiative where the Secondary School counselor engages with new students three times per quarter during lunch periods. These sessions take place in the iSpace, creating a comfortable and confidential environment for open conversations. The program is structured to address not only academic concerns but also the subtle, often 'invisible' challenges that may impact a student's adjustment. For example, sometimes the barrier to learning might just be an unfamiliar accent spoken by one of a student’s teachers. By identifying various barriers to learning - both subtle and more glaring, the counselor can then help students develop tools to solve their issues. For example in the case above, simply asking the teacher to re-explain, or slow down their speaking can have a significant impact. Such small, seemingly simple approaches are anything but when the outcome is a student being able to engage more actively in the classroom. 

Breaking Down Barriers

The Meet and Eat program is not just about addressing immediate concerns; it's about preventing potential challenges from becoming larger obstacles down the road. By fostering communication among students and the counselor, small issues can be addressed before they escalate. The observations and information gathered during these lunch sessions help the counselor support students with pointers, skill sets, and tools to help them adjust both emotionally and academically, whether it be a minor adjustment or having to coordinate a bigger school plan involving the student, parents, and teachers. The ultimate goal is to make sure the students are confident that they can have a successful and happy school experience.

Creating a Safe Space

The program is structured to cater to different grade levels, with Grades 6 and 7, Grades 8 and 9, and Grades 10 and 11 meeting separately. This group-based approach allows students to connect with peers facing similar challenges, creating a supportive community within the larger school environment.

Of course, each student’s experience is different and some students have little to no discernable issues as new students. But as a transition period, the students welcome the opportunity to connect and speak openly with others going through the same circumstance of adjusting to an unfamiliar environment.  As the semester progresses, the need for these sessions diminishes, and the students can leave the program feeling supported. The counselor's ultimate goal is to create this safe space for open discussion about school and personal challenges, knowing that they have the resources they need to navigate the complexities of their new environment. 

The Meet and Eat program at NIS exemplifies the school's commitment to inclusivity and care. By addressing the unique needs of each student during their initial adjustment period, NIS ensures a smoother transition, laying the foundation for academic success and personal growth. This thoughtful and proactive approach reflects NIS's dedication to nurturing a diverse and ever-changing student body.


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