Part of a batch of affordable international schools to recently open in Singapore, The Grange Institution just celebrated its one-year anniversary. We checked with the school to see if the first year of classes made the grade.
The Grange Institution is one – congrats! Any notable achievements since the school opened?
In a 2018 WhichSchoolAdvisor survey, 100% of all families agreed that their child enjoys school at The Grange. In addition, all families felt that their child has a sense of belonging in the school. We’re proud to achieve such levels of satisfaction among families during our inaugural year, and we believe that every child should be happy at school. Choosing the right school that fits a child’s personality allows that child to be nurtured in a positive way.
How are parents adjusting to your new school?
Being small allows us to form a closely-knit community and a family-oriented school. From students to the administrative staff, everyone knows each other. We welcome parents to be actively involved with school activities. Rein, a Year 1 student, is one of our pioneering group of students, and the school is privileged to have her mother, Dima Abbas, conduct Thursday morning Zumba classes for our students. Dima recently told us she still remembers her first visit to our school. She said Rein was really excited about the library and the art studio. Dima said since starting school Rein has shown more interest in reading and has become a more confident speaker, too.
We hear you’ve incorporated the 17 UN Sustainable Goals into your curriculum – tell us more.
Yes, that’s right. One example of this would be a project we did in conjunction with a Unit of Inquiry called “Our Global Village”. Our Year 1 and 2 students adapted their own version of the picture book Bamberina, the Turtle. The story educates students about the dangers of excessive pollution in the ocean. During their Visual Arts lesson, the students created new characters and brought them to life through 2D illustrations. Then in Performing Arts class, students collaborated with our Creator-in-Residence to brainstorm a play using the new characters they created. The project focused on the students’ writing, reading and comprehension as well as creative abilities.
Singapore gets a lot of press about stress in primary schools. How does The Grange measure achievement and progress for your youngest students?
Children are encouraged to be children at The Grange. We believe that every child should experience a happy childhood with a balance between academic, social and emotional development. To this end, we’re not an exam-driven school. Instead, we use assessments that focus on the process and product of learning. Students have formal assessments at set times throughout the year, as well as ongoing assessments; they also have self-assessments and peer assessments where they are encouraged to reflect on their learning as a means of progressing. At the end of each school day, we have a reflection period where students make a daily entry about their learning in their personal Reflection Journal. This is shared with parents on a daily basis.
What’s a typical day like for your students?
We are intentionally small in size and intend to keep it that way. Currently, there is one class per year level with no more than 24 students per class. There is one teacher and one teaching assistant in each class.
Our school hours are from 10am to 4.30pm. These unconventional hours take into account the heavy traffic along our perimeter road during rush hour. Parents feedback to us is that their children get more rest, feel more energised and never want to miss a day at school. We also understand that school bus services are a primary concern for many parents; our bus provides island-wide services, which means that families living anywhere in Singapore have access to the bus. A mobile app tracks the bus location, so parents know where their kids are at all times.
Any parting words?
The Grange is an international primary school. Currently, we don’t offer year levels higher than that. However, we are looking into creating a progression path for students to enter middle school and high school in the years to come. Regarding facilities, we have a large grassy field at the rear of our campus, and we’re looking into building a field with newer facilities soon.
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