Mon livret de déménagement

Summertime Publishing is pleased to announce the French edition of My Moving Booklet by Valérie Besanceney.

“Comme chaque voyage, un déménagement génère de l’excitation et de la peur. Déménager sans carte émotionnelle est cependant terrifiant. Où vais-je ? Qu’est-ce que je ressens ? Qu’est-ce qui se passe ? Suis-je normal(e) ? Avec une écriture efficace, Valérie Besanceney balaie ces questions troublantes pour chaque enfant qui a la chance de recevoir ce livre. Mon livret de déménagement trace les contours du paysage de chaque déménagement en laissant la liberté au jeune explorateur de colorier les montagnes et les vallées qu’il rencontre. Chaque page renforce un peu plus le message le plus important adressé aux enfants dans ce livre : “Quelqu’un sait où tu es.” Déménager n’est pas facile. Être rassuré que l’on est encore sur la carte facilite les choses. Et parce que les enfants se raccrochent aux personnes et aux choses qui leur procurent un sentiment de sécurité, Mon livret de déménagement sera le bienvenu dans de nombreuses petites mains partout dans le monde.” 

Douglas W. Ota, auteur, Safe Passage : What Mobility Does to People and What International Schools Should Do About It.


Top 10 Ways to Help New Students Transition at Your International School

This time of year means Back-To-School for most kids, but for internationally mobile children it often means Start-A-New-School. A transition to a new school, country, language, and culture can be overwhelming, and children need time to adjust. Teachers and administrators can contribute to a smooth transition in many meaningful ways. The ten points outlined below can make a significant difference in the emotional and academic well-being of a child who is already dealing with all the challenges of a move. Although these points are meant for primary age children, they can be adjusted as you see fit for older children.

1. Show them where the bathroom is and give them a tour

Show them where the bathroom is within the first ten minutes of meeting them. For obvious reasons, I cannot stress how important this. When we do forget, this can be a huge source of stress for a child the first day of school! On the first day, classmates can give the new students a tour or the school. If you teach the early primary years, some older students could do this. Feeling lost emotionally on your first day at school is one thing, but to be lost literally adds a whole lot of unnecessary anxiety.

2. Find a way for them to express themselves if there is a language barrier

If the new student does not speak English or any other language that you speak, try to find another teacher or student who does. If a student is able to type, you can use Google translate or something similar, but finding a way to communicate with them is key. Also, make sure they immediately receive EAL/ESL. When new students have no previous knowledge of English whatsoever, receiving additional English support from the start provides them with the necessary foundation to begin communicating with those around them.

3. Get to know your new students

Make sure to ask questions about their family, previous home(s), school(s), and how they are experiencing their move. Sometimes the days are over before we know it, so a good alternative to conversing with new students is to give them a small journal they can take home. Every day you can jot down a few questions which they can respond to, in writing or using illustrations, at home. Not only will their responses give you insight to each new student as a person, it will also provide you with some immediate feedback on (some of) their academic strengths/weaknesses. It might also indicate if the move is causing stress. Acknowledge their emotions in a supportive way, but also make sure to communicate any concerns through the appropriate support channels within your school.

4. Learn about their academic background

Should they need learning and/or EAL/ESL support, inform all necessary parties promptly. If nothing is mentioned on their transcript, it never hurts to check with the administration and the parents in the first week of school. Parents with children with special needs may have very useful ideas and tools for modifications that worked well in a previous school. A transition can be challenging for any student, but when a student falls between the cracks academically, it will be even more difficult.

5. Make sure the other kids get to know the new students

A new school year usually means a round of get-to-know-you games. In a bigger school, classes might get mixed around and even though the students already know of each other, many of them do not necessarily know all of their classmates. Finding out they’re not the only one who doesn’t know their classmates can be a relief for a new student. Nevertheless, don’t underestimate how much more a new student needs to adjust in those first days. If a new student is willing to share, encourage them to do a Show & Tell/ or PowerPoint presentation with pictures or other items that help explain where they are from, what their background is, and what their interests are. This will not only give them an opportunity to connect with their classmates, but it could also contribute to the global awareness of all the students, foster open-mindedness, and mutual appreciation.

6. Give the other students a chance to help them

In turn, have the other students make a list of things a new student should know about the school/area/after-school activities. Also, put a buddy system in place. Assign a couple of classmates to each new student and ask them to involve them during playtime at recess, sit with them during lunch, and walk with them to any other classes. Try to gauge if the students you paired up connect in any way. If not, match them with some others the next day. This will also give the new student the opportunity to get to know other classmates a little faster.

7. Explain school rules, procedures, routines, and expectations

Most of the time, these will be reviewed with the whole class at the beginning of the school year. However, some rules, procedures, routines, and expectations that may seem clear to your school culture might not be so obvious to a new student. This could cause some serious misunderstandings, so make sure to be patient with them the first couple of weeks. Also, go over emergency and lock-down procedures early on in the year. Given the change and/or lack of many daily routines during a transition, new students will most likely be grateful for a classroom routines. However, they need to be given clear explanations of what is expected of them and possibly additional time to get used to them.

8. Put up a wall of fame

Create a wall of pictures in your classroom of other people they will be seeing often. For example, the principal, vice-principal, their PE/art/music/drama teachers, the school librarian, the school nurse, and any other support staff they might interact with. So many faces, so many names! A visual reminder without having to ask can be helpful for everyone, even returning students.

9. Connect with the parents

Most likely, the parents are super busy trying to settle in. Should you not see them during the first orientation days or a parent information meeting at the beginning of the year, a friendly line from their child’s teacher usually is very much appreciated. Also, an ‘Open House’ at the beginning of the year gives new parents an opportunity to meet the other parents and often triggers many first play-dates. Should they express any concern about their transition, make them aware of any in-school counseling available.

10. Give new students a story to identify with

It is absolutely wonderful to see a growing list of resources about third culture kids (TCKs) available for parents and educators (please click here for a list). With B at Home: Emma Moves Again, I hope to give younger TCKs (in particular 8-11 age group) a story they can identify with while they experience their own move and search for ‘home’ and ‘belonging’. Also, I would like to encourage them to enjoy a passage in life that can be such a rewarding and enriching journey. By giving your students a story they can identify with and relate to, you can make it easier for them to express themselves about their own experience.

B At Home 72dpiAbout Valérie Besanceney

Over the past nine years, Valérie has been a primary school teacher at five different international schools on four different continents. Valérie is also the author of the recently published children’s book B at Home: Emma Moves Again. It is a fictional “memoir” about the experiences of a ten-year-old girl and her teddy bear who have to move yet again. During the different stages of another relocation, Emma’s search for home takes root. As the chapters alternate between Emma’s and her bear’s point of view, Emma is emotionally torn whereas B serves as the wiser and more experienced voice of reason. For more information on her book and the topic of Third Culture Kids, please visit her website.

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This article was first published in International School Community.



Valérie Besanceney, My Moving Booklet

Through creative and fun exercises, Valérie Besanceney’s “My Moving Booklet” (Summertime 2015) helps young children negotiate a relocation.

My-Moving-BookletMy Moving Booklet is designed to help children through the initial stages of an upcoming move. Moving usually means going through quite a roller coaster of feelings. It can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. It can be very sad to say goodbye, but it can also be incredibly fun to experience new things and meet new people. Everybody experiences a move differently, but it is very important that you are able to say goodbye properly. This will allow children to truly welcome the new challenges and adventures that lie ahead of them, together with their parents and teachers. In many parts of this booklet, they will have the opportunity to either write about it, to draw a picture, or to glue on a photograph. This is their own unique story that one day will serve as a keepsake of a life-changing event.


Special for Schools: 
Discounted bulk purchases available to schools (with an option to personalize with school logo and a letter from the principal for an additional fee).





“Like any journey, moving induces excitement and fear. Moving without an emotional map, however, induces terror. Where am I going? What am I feeling? What is happening? Am I normal?

With efficient strokes of her pen, Valérie Besanceney sweeps these troubling questions aside for any child fortunate enough to receive this book. My Moving Booklet traces the contours of every move’s landscape, freeing the young explorer to color in the mountains and valleys he or she encounters. Each turn of the page quietly reinforces this book’s most important message to children: someone knows where you are.

Moving isn’t easy. Being reassured you’re still on the map makes it easier. And because children clutch tightly to the people and things that make them feel safe, My Moving Booklet will earn its title in small sets of hands everywhere.” – Douglas W. Ota, Author, Safe Passage: What Mobility Does to People and What International Schools Should Do About It

“Valérie Besanceney has come up with a perfect addition to any classroom or family that deals with the comings and goings of our citizens of the world. Not only will the child enjoy the beautiful emotions icons but they will be easily able to label how certain parts of this move is making them feel.

If a child can easily share their honest emotions they will more readily be able to make the most out of changes whether it is across town or across the world.

It is exciting to see that caring adults now have a tool that can really benefit a child in transition. When a child is going through a move, he or she might be going through many different emotions. As Besanceney says, ‘Sometimes it is easier to identify with illustrations and words than to come up with your own words.’ This is why My Moving Booklet is perfect for your young child.” – Julia Simens, Author, Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: practical storytelling techniques that will strengthen the global family

“Helping a child prepare for a successful transition has just become much easier! Valérie Besanceney’s booklet is a great tool for schools wanting to collaborate effectively with every child and his or her parents to help ease them on their life journey. Straightforward, and well structured, it also provides lots of room for the creativity of the individuals involved and keeps the child at the centre. Thank you!” – Jennifer Armstrong, Principal of Primary, La Châtaigneraie Campus, The International School of Geneva