With its unique combination of an academically challenging mainstream and a Department of Supportive Education (DSE), the system at Dover Court International School not only benefits students who need assisted learning, it also helps mainstream pupils to understand the needs of others and learn to work together. Alison Ford, a Year 5 teacher and Deputy Head of Primary, explains more:
“We provide a holistic education which focuses on the whole self: that includes academic and social. Children with additional needs are integrated as much as possible within the school, creating a true sense of community. Children learn to communicate with one another using strategies they would not normally experience in other international schools. Everyone benefits.
“For me, every day at DCIS makes me smile. The inclusive approach to teaching and learning provides opportunities for each child to interact with peers and adults with varying personalities, abilities, interests and ages. This social education is invaluable in developing individuals who are kind, patient, tolerant and, most importantly, aware and accepting of individual differences. Children are by nature wonderfully matter-of-fact and accepting of others; they do not see differences until they are pointed out to them. A culture of support and openness is something I strive to create with my colleagues and students.
“The easiest way for me to share what I love about DCIS is to give a real-life example. One of my students (whom I shall call Joe) is on the autistic spectrum and has associated communication needs. One playtime, I witnessed another child without learning needs engaging with Joe, using single words and gestures to help him understand. When I praised the child, he replied that of course he would speak to Joe in this way, as that is how I had taught him. It was as simple as that. This interaction made me smile for the rest of the day (I’m still smiling now, in fact) and reinforced my belief that if we as adults give children the tools for inclusion, then they will do so as second nature.”
Find out more about schooling options in Singapore.
This article first appeared in the May 2016 issue of Expat Living Singapore