The Australian International School (AIS) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. As its community of international students celebrates its milestones through the years, the school offers an exciting curriculum and co-curricular activities planned for the Australian education of the future.
Head of School KARRIE DIETZ takes us through the school’s development since its founding in Singapore.
The beginning of Australian education in AIS
AIS was founded in 1993 to provide international learning to students in Singapore, with a focus on Australian curriculum and education, co-curricular activities and values. We started as an outpost for Australians relocating to Singapore, under the leadership of Coral Dixon, with 32 Australian international students and seven teachers. We’ve grown to over 50 different nationalities of teachers and students.
Co-curricular activities beyond an Australian curriculum
AIS celebrates diversity and community in several ways. One of the most prominent ways is through the school’s annual celebrations on International Global Festival Day, formerly known as ICE Day. This event promotes cultural understanding and inclusivity among students and staff. Additionally, it encourages everyone to embrace and celebrate their own unique cultural heritage, beyond just Australian international students.
The school also offers a range of co-curricular activities and programmes that celebrate diversity and foster community engagement. For example, our International Prefects programme gives students the opportunity to share their cultural traditions and learn about other cultures from their peers. We also host cultural performances and events throughout the year, including dance performances, food festivals and art exhibitions.
Over the past 30 years, the school has significantly expanded its Australian curriculum and education to better meet the needs of our students and community. This includes the addition of new buildings and facilities, as well as a wider range of extracurricular, co-curricular activities and programmes for students.
We have also become more engaged with parents and the wider community, with an on-campus coffee shop, regular events and initiatives aimed at fostering greater involvement and collaboration.
Giving back locally and beyond our shores
AIS also has a strong commitment to community service – the school regularly partners with local organisations and charities, and students are given opportunities to participate in service projects and volunteer work. The most recent student lead project is a Book Drive, collecting books to build a community library in Cambodia. Through these initiatives, AIS aims to instil in students a sense of responsibility and empathy for others. It also creates a strong and supportive community that values diversity and inclusivity.
Famous faces in Australian education
Our school has had the opportunity to host many famous individuals.
These include former prime ministers, wildlife educator and entertainer Steve Irwin, the Valencia Football Club, Nobel Prize winners and many sporting professionals. We recently had Australian cricketing great Justin Langer and former Australian cricket coach talk to AIS students about the value of practising core skills and valuing teammates.
We also held talks with Professor Robert F. Engle III, who received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2003, and Professor Bruce A. Beutler, the 2011 Nobel Laureate for Medicine. Another example is the meeting between some of our students with Anna Green, the Head of Small, Midsize Businesses, Asia Pacific and Japan at Amazon Web Services. AIS has established strong partnerships with several organisations, including the Australian Chambers, New Zealand Chambers, and ANZA.
By engaging with partners and experts from different industries, students gain a wider perspective on the world and understand how they can apply their knowledge and skills in different contexts.
Upcoming developments in Australian education and co-curricular activities
AIS is always looking to improve what we can offer to our students and teachers. We also need to continue to remain at the forefront of our teaching facilities. In the upcoming year, the campus will be improved through significant investments into world-class teaching and learning environments, with a focus on holistic education.
The school is in the early stages of planning these exciting projects:
● Construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool
● Refurbishment of the library and media centre
● Establishment of an examination and exhibition centre
● Complete refurbishment to create state-of-the-art science laboratories
● Creation of dynamic and innovative learning spaces
With this refreshed campus, we hope to foster greater engagement with our community. The swimming pool will update the offerings of our Sharks Club while the media centre and library will provide specifically designed spaces where parents and academic staff can engage and collaborate.
Karrie has been in education for almost 30 years, teaching and leading schools around the world including Hong Kong, Thailand and Bangladesh. She lived in Singapore previously and has been back since the beginning of 2023.
Karrie can be seen meeting students and families in the morning as they come to school when she’s doing traffic duty. She says, “It’s terrific! I get to chat with parents as we wait for the lights to change; as one family walks off to school, I get another to talk to. It’s nice to see the students’ smiles and eagerness to get to school in the morning.”
Australian International School
1 Lorong Chuan
6517 0247 | ais.com.sg