Singapore offers a wide choice of international schools, many of which have multicultural environments with students from diverse backgrounds and countries. Add to this a variety of curriculums, great facilities and extracurriculars – there’s not much more that a parent could wish for.
While visiting a school is often the best way to make an instinctive decision based on the individual needs of your children, hearing the opinions of other families can be invaluable. Hear from 25 expat families about their experiences at international schools in Singapore – it might just help you make that choice!
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
Daniel and Belinda Marshall, Australian; Nelson (6)
“We have enjoyed our experience with GEMS. The facilities are fantastic and it was an easy decision to enrol Nelson at the school. He has benefited in many ways during his day-to-day school life. The facilities include a 50-metre and a 25-metre pool where he learns swimming as part of the curriculum, as well as a soccer pitch where he plays with his friends. There is also a large auditorium where I have attended many presentations by Nelson, and music rooms where he learns the violin.
All of Nelson’s teachers have been fantastic and easy to speak to, and they care genuinely about his needs. The school environment is also very personal. From the time we had a tour of the school we were made to feel valued and welcomed. The curriculum doesn’t just focus on academics; it also supports interests in sports and music. I like that all students are encouraged to learn a musical instrument from Grade 1. At GEMS, children learn about the different cultures of students in the school and celebrate the traditions of different countries.
We learnt about the school from friends who enrolled their three sons. We really like the friendly approach of the leadership of the school and would definitely recommend it to other families. We’ve now been at GEMS for two years and have no regrets. Nelson is loving school and has made many friends.”
Stamford American International School
Lynndi Peters-Hardy and Kevin Hardy, South African and British; Grace (11) and Olivia (8)
“Grace (Gracie) and Olivia have been at Stamford for three years. In Hong Kong, our kids spent over an hour a day on Mandarin reading, writing and speaking. We were keen to find a school with an equal commitment to Mandarin. Stamford was the 15th and final school on our list in a three-day search. On our first visit we liked the transparency, friendliness and professionalism of the staff.
We were particularly interested in the curriculum as our older daughter Gracie’s strengths are in the Arts. The IB curriculum sits alongside a traditional curriculum so it was a perfect match for Gracie. Of all the schools we visited, Stamford had the most indepth Mandarin programme. Olivia has successfully integrated into the bilingual programme and her spoken Mandarin has improved immensely.
Stamford has a great music program and extensive options for Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). Olivia plays the flute and piano and loves gymnastics and wall climbing. Gracie loves music; she sings, plays the violin and piano, and has recently taken up baking lessons. The school inspires students to do their best, whether it be academic or through arts or sport.
We heard about the school from our neighbour in Hong Kong. Gracie and Olivia are lucky to be embraced by the culturally rich and diverse community and be able to attend events, like the recent International Fiesta showcase. Plus, Stamford also has parent support groups that provide great opportunities to make new friends and connections.
When choosing a school, take into account your kids’ learning style and needs, as it’s important that your child can adapt well to the school’s curriculum and programmes. Visit the schools, ask questions, explore the campuses and gauge the happiness and engagement of the students and the staff.”
UWC South East Asia
Ashley and Bill Bryant, Australian and South African; Erik (15) and Kayla (13)
“We’ve been living in Singapore since December 2014; it’s our second stint, as we lived here for four years from mid-2005 through mid-2009. Kayla (Grade 8) and Erik (Grade 9) are at UWCSEA Dover and both adjusted quickly and easily to life at school. This is due to the excellent attention that UWCSEA pays to newcomers, especially when they join mid-year as Erik did. The buddy system that was highlighted during our orientation sessions proved to be excellent at ensuring that Erik quickly became part of the community. That was seen again when Kayla joined.
The commitment to looking after students is not just a slogan at UWCSEA; teacher Matt Singer conducts home visits, which is a great example of his dedication, given the many students he manages. It’s clear to us that the school emphasises academic rigour and offers students real world training. International schools can start to look and sound pretty much the same – we have been at a good number in the last couple of years – but UWCSEA really stands out from the others.
During our first stay in Singapore, I was involved in the settlement of new families with a relocation company. I visited schools almost every week as part of that process. Based on feedback from other parents and through my own observations, I highlighted to Bill, my husband, that UWCSEA would be our first choice if we ever came back to Singapore; the standards, ethos and approach are everything we wanted in a school.
When choosing a school, it’s important to know its requirements and focus; if IB is something new for you, get fully acquainted with it.”
Australian International School
Charmaine and Paul Keogh, Australian; Xavier (15), Stirling (12), Zara-Catherine (9) and Phoebe-Jane (5)
“Our children started at AIS in 2015 when we relocated from a two-year stint living in Melbourne, Australia. I’m impressed by the passion and commitment shown by the teachers to help our kids achieve their best. AIS has high-quality teachers and delivers a world-class programme. It’s reassuring to know that in the past few years the Year 12 results have been excellent.
Our children are also very passionate about sport. The AIS Sports department provides a wide and inclusive programme and our kids have loved being a part of different teams, participating at varying levels in Singapore and overseas. Sports include basketball, rugby, football, netball and volleyball, to name a few. Senior students also have the opportunity to participate in the Athlete Development Program, which teaches kids about setting fitness and performance goals, the importance of strength and conditioning, as well as nutrition and personal commitment to achieving individual goals.
Having four children, it was important for us to find a school that could meet their various interests. We wanted a school that is caring and nurturing when needed, but also challenging and dynamic. We wanted a school that would prepare our kids as much as possible for university.
I would recommend AIS to families who are looking for a well-rounded and solid education. Learning covers many areas – music, language, art and drama, sport – but without neglecting academic performance and social responsibility. The AIS parent community is also welcoming and embracing. Finally, AIS is a school with a heightened vibe and energy – there’s always something interesting and fun going on.”
Avondale Grammar School
Kylie Barry and Richard Foltin, Australian; Georgia (13) and Sophie (10)
“Both girls have been attending Avondale Grammar School for two years. Georgia is in Year 8 and Sophie is in Year 5. One of the most noticeable things when I first visited the school was the warm welcome I received from the staff. The teachers at Avondale have a certain ethos that I have not seen at other schools. They care about the kids and want the best for them – it’s a real partnership between the students and the teachers. As the class sizes are smaller in the secondary school, this allows teachers to spend more time with students and aid them in areas they may need help – almost like having your own personal tutor.
A friend referred me to the school as I was looking for a smaller and more holistic school. I ended up choosing Avondale for its small class sizes, the friendliness of the administrative staff and the caring nature of the teachers.
I would recommend the school to other parents, especially if you feel your child is getting lost in the large international schools. I moved the girls from a larger school to Avondale as I knew they had potential. They just needed to be nurtured and this is what Avondale is good at. It was the best decision I made.
Both girls have excelled due to smaller class sizes which enables them to be more engaged in their lessons. While the school may not have all the bells and whistles of other schools, it does have a wonderful community feel. When you are new to Singapore or changing schools, this is extremely important not only for the kids, but for the parents as well.”
Canadian International School
Evelyn and Brian Abbott, Swiss and American; Jessica (18) and Mark (16)
“Jessica (Grade 12) and Mark (Grade 10) have attended CIS Lakeside since October 2013. Our experience at the school has been good. The children like the school and their classmates and teachers very much. There’s a wide variety of performing arts and athletic programmes to join. The campus is new, modern and offers the latest technology. Every floor has study pods that provide students with a great atmosphere for group study and socialising. I’ve also been an active member of the PTA from almost the beginning, helping to bring the parent community closer and organising activities for parents, the faculty and students.
The children came from a full IB School in Munich and were only looking at full IB schools in Singapore. The middle school principal at Bavarian International School in Munich had once worked at CIS in Singapore and recommended it to us. After visiting CIS, we felt very welcome. The school was a good fit for our children, both in academics and extracurricular activities.
We would definitely recommend CIS to other families. Our kids were welcomed by the other students right away, even though they started in the middle of the year. The administration and faculty are very approachable. One faculty member I would like to mention is Katherine Ross, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) coordinator and my daughter’s class advisor. She has been the “go-to person” for my children as well as us parents. She is one of the special people that make our experience at CIS very enjoyable. Another thing we like is SMART Time, one period of personal time after lunch, which can be used by students to meet teachers, join clubs, study or exercise.”
Chatsworth International School
Yohan David and Roshika Ranasinghe, British and Sri Lankan; Yevan (9), Yanik (7), Yevin (7) and Shanara (5)
“Yevan, Yanik and Yevin have been at Chatsworth since January 2016. Our twins Yanik and Yevin were taken under the wings of experienced and caring teachers who welcomed them into their classrooms and helped instil a sense of confidence. The foundation provided in Year 1 has helped them enjoy their schoolwork and learning experience.
Yevan joined the school from a local primary school in Year 4. His teachers helped him gain confidence and he is enjoying his studies. They have helped Yevan to understand the importance of schoolwork and to inquire and understand things for himself. We believe this is an essential skill which can be applied later in life to any situation.
Yevan has been racing for two years in competitive go-karting and Yevin has commenced as well this year. Sessions can sometimes be during school hours, but the school is extremely supportive and understanding, ensuring that they don’t miss out on their schoolwork. Furthermore, Chatsworth recently had an assembly to celebrate the achievements that students had outside school. This shows an interest in the students’ dreams, aspirations and achievements within the school and beyond it.
We’ve always known of the school as it’s near our home, and the Chatsworth community is more like a family than a school. The principals happily greet parents and students each morning, there is a supportive family atmosphere, and our kids have grown in confidence and personal understanding.”
Dover Court International School
Catriona and Brad Condon, Australian; Tommy (13), Billy (11) and Sophia (7)
“We moved to Singapore for my husband’s work, and our children started attending Dover Court in January 2017. We were amazed at how warm and open the school was. On the children’s second day, Ms Rinaldi asked me how my children were settling in. I was amazed that she even knew who I was, let alone my children’s names since we were so new.
My husband and I have been impressed by the level of care the teachers have shown towards our children. Moving from a large school to a smaller one has shown us how much more personalised and family-oriented the school is. Our kids love their new school experience. The class sizes for upper levels are small with a low student-teacher ratio – this is extremely appealing to us. The students themselves have also been welcoming to our kids and support one another’s achievements. Dover Court is very family-friendly and we feel very grateful to be part of such a wonderful community.
When I was searching for an international school, I liked the fact that the school wasn’t as big as our previous school, as impressive as it was. We felt that we didn’t want our kids to get lost or overlooked in a large school. We would definitely recommend Dover Court as the level of care and teaching is outstanding – we feel that our children are in a very caring, supportive and non-judgemental environment that encourages them to do their best. The moment we walked around the school, we were convinced that we wanted to be part of it. Just take a look and see how happy all the children are!”
Dulwich College (Singapore)
Aaron and Michelle Simmons, American; Madie (14), Izzy (12) and Katie (11)
“All three girls have attended Dulwich College (Singapore) since it opened in 2014. Prior to moving to Singapore in that same year, we were in South Korea for three years. We also had an earlier stint in Singapore, from 2010 to 2011.
Our experience at Dulwich has been nothing but positive. We feel our children are getting a true education. There’s no focus on rote memorisation of facts, or testing just for the sake of testing. The school challenges our children to make good decisions and to be responsible. The teachers and staff talk to and listen to the students as equals. Their belief in pastoral care and a challenging academic programme has definitely brought out the best in our children.
When we moved to South Korea, we met numerous families who sent their children to Dulwich College Seoul and they all had great things to say. Based on that experience and the recommendation of a friend in Singapore who sent his daughter to Dulwich, we made the choice to enrol them when we arrived here. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dulwich to anyone. The school offers academic rigour and fosters personal responsibility among the students.
Dulwich has amazing facilities, but I believe that as parents, we need to look past the playgrounds, climbing walls, science labs and gymnasiums and talk to the teachers. The teachers are truly what makes a good school great. If the teachers have passion for the school and their students, you’re at the right school. This is how we feel about Dulwich and how I hope every parent in Singapore feels about the school their children attend.”
EtonHouse International School
Myra and Keithley Ner, Filipino; Kimi Alexa (12)
“Kimi attends Secondary 1 (Year 7) at the EtonHouse International School at Broadrick. She started in Year 1 and then left towards the end of Year 4 due to our family relocating. She rejoined EtonHouse in Secondary 1 when we returned to Singapore.
The staff and teachers at EtonHouse are incredibly professional and dedicated. The school helps us in every way to make Kimi’s campus experience enjoyable. We also often have get-togethers with other parents and their children outside campus. In terms of teaching, the learning is made fun. We like that the school is educating and developing the children holistically, not just for academics.
At the Secondary level, the school has an Outdoor Education programme that Kimi is enjoying very much. This includes a variety of adventure challenges such as orienteering, archery and rock climbing, which has helped test and develop her physical, social and personal skills. She always comes home happy and with many stories to tell. She has gained much confidence and independence through her everyday interactions with teachers and classmates. The school also keeps parents up to date with our children’s progress.
When we arrived in Singapore, we checked out schools in the East area and shortlisted EtonHouse. When we visited the campus, we felt that it was the right school for Kimi. We were very impressed with the school’s values, philosophy, and cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as its solid and well-rounded curriculum. The school is warm and welcoming, focusing on each individual child and their talents. EtonHouse has pushed the boundaries of Kimi’s capabilities while still making it enjoyable for her.”
Huub and Nienke Dashorst, Dutch; Emma (14) and Carlijn (11)
“Both of our girls attend GESS (German European School Singapore); Emma is in Grade 8 while Carlijn is in Grade 6. I like the open classroom mornings where parents are invited to attend lessons. It’s a good way to see and talk to the teachers and observe the classes. GESS organises a few of these each year and it’s great for potential students and their parents to join.
The IB programme is very different from the curriculum we were used to in New Zealand, where we lived previously. It took some time to get used to the different way of presenting knowledge and answering questions. But with some help from classmates, Emma managed to catch up pretty fast. Carlijn has received the guidance she needs and even made some jewellery and a nice chopping board in the shape of the North Island of New Zealand during her design and technology lesson. Carlijn’s co-curricular activity is football and she has a great coach. Emma plays volleyball and is in the school orchestra. The conductor has helped her a lot, especially since she had only played the violin for six months when we joined. They also have an exchange programme with an orchestra in Kuala Lumpur.
We chose GESS as the school teaches Dutch during regular classroom hours. We felt that it would be a good opportunity for the girls to improve their Dutch, which is the language we speak at home. The Dutch classes are small and students get individual attention. Also, the school celebrates Dutch holidays, and even holds movie nights with students from other schools. If you’re Dutch, consider GESS as your kids will be able to learn the language within school hours.”
Hillside World Academy
Norman and Ruth Li, American; Jasper (8) and Winnie (4)
“Our son Jasper has been attending primary school at Hillside World Academy (HWA) since January 2016. Winnie attends a different kindergarten. Our experience has been lovely so far. Every year, there are several celebrations for both Western and Chinese holidays and festivals. As it’s a small school, the kids have many opportunities to perform and showcase their skills. In the last year or so, efforts have been made to promote Chinese culture through co-curricular activities.
I continue to be impressed with the HWA kids’ fluency in the Chinese language. Through extensive effort, we have managed to raise our kids in a largely Mandarin environment in Singapore. Our four-year-old, for example, can recite the entire San Zi Jing (“The Three Character Classic”), a classic Chinese text. The main thing that we looked for in an international school was a strong Mandarin programme and environment, and HWA offered that. Many schools offer bilingual programmes, but often they lack that cultural element.
HWA is the only fully bilingual Mandarin-English international school in Singapore, and when I visited I heard Mandarin being spoken not only in classrooms, but in the playground and along the hallways. The school also has a relatively large proportion of native Chinese speakers. We also liked that it was a small school with a lovely community feel. The parents here are very like-minded – they’re all looking for the best Mandarin education and experience for their kids. I would recommend the school to any family that is seeking exposure and immersion in both Western and Chinese language and culture for their children.”
Hollandse School Singapore
Willemijn Hamaker-Dorrepaal and Jasper Hamaker, Dutch; Thomas (10), Maartje (7) and Charlotte (5)
“Our three children have been attending the Hollandse School for three years. Thomas is in Group 8, Maartje in Group 4 and Charlotte is in Group 2. The school offers a fabulous learning environment, focusing not only on academic achievements, but also social-emotional development. There are usually about 20 students in one class but the teaching approach is individual, with personal learning objectives for each module.
The English programme is outstanding. When Maartje and Charlotte were starting to read and write their first letters simultaneously in Dutch and English, we were a bit worried that it would be confusing. It’s wonderful to see how well it has progressed. Thomas’s English has also progressed very well. The school offers a large variety of after-school activities, including sports, music and art, and special activities are held around local, Dutch and international festivals.
We were anxious about our children’s acquisition of Dutch as we wanted them to be exposed to Dutch culture and heritage. We heard about the school when we were living in Nigeria and Indonesia; we knew that it provided high-quality education and excellent academic results.
We believe that choosing the best school for your children is one of the most important decisions you need to make when you become an expat, or embark on a new posting. It’s important to visit the schools, and speak to some of the faculty and parents (or students) already attending these schools. We would highly recommend all Dutch (and Belgian) parents with children in the elementary school ages to consider the school. The teachers are extremely dedicated and visibly love their work, which obviously has a very positive impact on the learning of our children.”
Integrated International School
David Geiling and Minah You-Geiling, American and Korean; Nathan (12)
“Nathan has been attending the Integrated International School (IIS) since July 2016. IIS is a small school in the Clementi area that, in addition to a mainstream programme, specialises in teaching students with special needs such as Asperger’s, high functioning autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. Lessons at IIS are based on the New South Wales curriculum, a holistic approach whereby different disciplines are merged together in one experience.
An objective of the school is to prepare students to be successful in larger classroom environments in high school. There is a nurturing and affirmative approach to teaching, with a low student-teacher ratio and close parent-teacher communication. The school also teaches social interaction. At the end of the year there is also a school performance, a huge source of pride and camaraderie for the students.
Nathan has had continual difficulties learning in a large classroom setting. When we were transferred to Singapore, we began researching different educational possibilities and were quite intrigued. We definitely recommend this school to other families, particularly for children who find large classroom environments challenging.
For years, I would ask Nathan “How was school?” and the most I could get in response was “good”. Now Nathan will call me when I am away on business travels to tell me what happened in school that day – usually filled with laughter or joyful comments. Moreover, I can see the results of his learning as he has opinions about world events, an interest in science and enjoys playing basketball.
Ultimately, children learn differently and what works well for one might not work well for others. For children with social or learning difficulties, IIS is ideal – the staff are dedicated and have genuine concern and love for the children. We look forward to seeing Nathan’s continued growth with the school.”
International Community School Singapore
Michael and Andrea DeBolt, American; Rylee (10), Ayla (7), Amelia (4) and Adalyn (2)
“Rylee and Ayla have attended ICS for two years and are in Grade 4 and 1 respectively. From day one, our school experience has been a dream for us as a family. Both girls’ teachers were sensitive to the fact that they were homesick and feeling vulnerable. Their teachers Miss Richards and Miss Clark truly love our girls. The close-knit community makes it possible for families and teachers to share the life-changing experience of moving to a new country. The teachers are more invested in the students and the community than any others I have known.
Once we found our footing, the girls started getting involved in extra-curricular activities such as Lego club, percussion club and treble choir, as well as sports like basketball, tee-ball and volleyball. The opportunity to learn Mandarin has also been a gift. Due to small class sizes, they get one-on-one instruction. The two things that stand out to us about ICS are its welcoming community culture – demonstrated by the entire staff and embraced by all ICS families – and the staff’s care for our children and their academic, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
When we learned that we would be moving to Singapore, finding the right school was a top priority. After researching a handful of schools, we were contacted by an ICS family who shared their personal experience at the school. We would highly recommend ICS to new families in Singapore who are searching for a school to call home. It’s a place where we can entrust our children’s holistic wellbeing to teachers and staff who truly care for them for who they are.”
ISS International School
Paul and Avis, British; Grace (15)
“This is our fourth year living in Singapore, and Grace has attended ISS since 2013. Grace is dyslexic and we’ve had terrific support from the school and the school counsellor. Some teachers have changed the way they teach to accommodate Grace’s learning style, so her dyslexia is no longer the problem it once was. The IB curriculum also suits her learning style. She has grown in both confidence and ability due to the strength of the Performing Arts Department and participates regularly in musical and dramatic productions, often in prominent roles.
The size of the school is also a great advantage. Your child will not be overwhelmed and will quickly get to know (and be known) by everybody, from classmates to head teachers. The teachers, support staff and management are very approachable. Should any problems arise, they have an excellent pastoral care system and matters will not be blown out of proportion, but dealt with using clever and imaginative ways. The PTA is also strong and plays an active role in the dayto-day support of the school. All parents are encouraged to come along for the meetings.
We did some online research for schools with dyslexia support before moving to Singapore and ISS stood out. We visited the school as well as others before we made our decision. The “family feel” of the campus and the learning support that is in place made the decision easy. We also heard good things about the school from people we knew in Singapore. I would recommend this school to other families. The support system is great and parents are kept well-informed. Come and see for yourself how happy and engaged the kids are!”
Marlborough College Malaysia
Kevin and Sue Chan, Malaysian and British; Jet (11) and Finn (9)
“Jet and Finn joined Marlborough College Malaysia (MCM) in August 2016. Our experience has been first class, and the quality of teaching is excellent. As my children are two years apart and both attended international schools previously, I have been able to compare the curriculum taught for specific year groups at MCM and at other international schools.
My older son is a weekly boarder at MCM. We made this decision as we believe that the experience of boarding prepares children for the challenges of the future. The school encourages children to explore through compassion, companionship and conversation, and from that point to build confidence and communities for good. Sport is a part of daily life and children are encouraged to participate in a wide range. Drama, art, music, design technology and all activities are celebrated, not as “extra-curricular” (as with many other schools), but as part of the curriculum. Children are given the opportunity to try new things such as participating in school plays and being part of an outreach programme for less fortunate communities. The learning of languages is encouraged, and Mandarin is compulsory for all children.
I previously attended Marlborough College in England. When I discovered that MCM was opening as a sister school, I decided to relocate to Johor and enrol my children. The Master of MCM, Robert Pick, was one of my teachers when I was a student at Marlborough and I’ve always held him in the highest regard. I trust his judgment and decision-making and believe that he can establish and build a successful school. I would highly recommend MCM to families seeking a well-rounded education, and an environment that nurtures confident and happy children, and emphasises core values that can be applied later in life.”
79200 Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia
Melbourne Specialist International School
Ellie Sakrzewski, Australian; Otto (14)
“Otto has attended Melbourne Specialist International School (MSIS) for over a year. We’ve had a fabulous experience with the school from the start, and I love the location! There seems to be such a lovely energy at the school with all of the teachers and students – they’re like one big family. I heard about the school through friends who had children attending.
Life skills are taught to the students. Otto is starting to learn about money, and each week they visit the café at Loewen Gardens and purchase snacks for themselves. In the past, they’ve also visited the supermarket. For the past month, Otto’s class has also been exploring the neighbourhood by taking the bus and using an EZ-Link card. All of these tasks, while easy for us, are new for the children. They are learning to walk to a bus stop, wait for the bus, use their cards and alight at their destination.
The school works on individual strengths and builds on them. They also keep the subjects and curriculum very relevant. At the moment, the children are learning about recycling and the environment. There is a holistic approach to teaching at MSIS; for example, when the kids learn about trees, they will draw trees in art, look at real trees or grow seeds.
The school also offers different sports, and crafts such as pottery. Otto has been playing basketball after school and is enjoying it. He has also gone bowling at the Temasek Club and really likes it. He loves going to school – honestly, during the holidays he is grumpy as he would rather be at school!”
One World International School
Anna Capitanio and Alessandro Adriani, Italian; Leonardo Ryan (8) and Lisa Chloe (11 months)
“ Leonardo has attended One World International School since he turned four years old. He started in EC1 and is currently attending Grade 3. Our experience has been extremely positive. Over the years, the teachers have been really helpful in matching the academic curriculum with the interest of our son, which has made his appetite for learning grow.
The school has enabled our son to develop his confidence through participating in school and House activities, giving his best every day, developing and maintaining strong friendships as well as positive relations with children and teachers. Additionally, we are very pleased with the co-curricular activities, which range from karate and football to origami and mime. Finally, we have enjoyed the community of teachers, administrative staff and parents. OWIS has been a great school for our son and we recommend it wholeheartedly.
When we were still living in London, we learnt about the school by visiting the website. The values, mission and approach aligned with what we were looking for. So, we short-listed OWIS and went for a look during our pre-move visit. The small class sizes, daily Mandarin lessons and community feel drew us to the school. We have and will continue to recommend OWIS. If you want your child to be treated as important, to know and be known by all kids and teachers, to grow his or her confidence both academically and socially, and to be in a truly international and diverse community, then OWIS is the right choice.”
Singapore American School
Stephanie and John Bradshaw, Singaporean and British; Keira (7) and Leila (5)
“Both of our children attend SAS; Keira started in Kindergarten in August 2015 and Leila started in Pre-Kindergarten in August 2016. My girls are lucky to have great teachers who have contributed to their development in many ways. Keira had an amazing first year – she thrived, developed in confidence and formed friendships. She finds technology and science classes very fun, and enjoys science experiments as well as her daily perception motor lesson. She also loves music lessons. Keira absolutely adores school and looks forward to going every day. We endorse the school’s education philosophy and the five core values of compassion, respect, honesty, fairness and responsibility.
Leila was also very fortunate to have started in the newly renovated Reggio Emilia style Early Learning Centre. Her teachers are great with the children. Leila loves school and often asks if she can have longer days, showing how much she enjoys it. She also learns Mandarin daily and comes home singing and dancing to the songs. She loves her “move and groove” classes, and the caring teaching assistants are also always there for the children.
My sister, who has been working at SAS for more than 20 years, asked us to do a school tour and we were thoroughly impressed with the teachers, environment and facility. We highly recommend SAS as our children love the school and are thriving and learning – there’s not much more a parent could ask for!”
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
Natalie and Guy Pozniak, Australian; Joshua (8), Jordan (7) and Toby (3)
“We have been living in Singapore for four-and-a-half years and it’s our first expat posting. We moved here from Sydney in September 2012. Joshua and Jordan have been at the school since we moved to Singapore, and Toby started attending when he was 18 months old. SMM is a warm and welcoming school with a strong community feel.
We received a warm welcome from other families, and we were quickly drawn to the caring nature of the staff and teachers. It made our transition to Singapore so much easier. The small size of the school allows all kids to shine. Whether it’s in a musical or out on the sports field, the kids are able to get involved and try a variety of activities. This is wonderful for their personal development and confidence. They are excited to see their friends each morning, and return home happy each day.
We wanted an international school that had a sense of Jewish identity and heritage with a good, well-rounded academic programme. We also wanted a school that has a warm, nurturing, friendly environment for our kids. We love the small class sizes that give our children the attention they need. The facilities at the new campus are extraordinary and we feel lucky and privileged that our children are able to benefit from them. SMM provides a soft landing for families who are relocating to Singapore.”
St Joseph’s Institution International
Valerie Du Toit-Low and Adriaan Du Toit, Singaporean, and Dutch and South African; Anna Francine (15) and Sophie Helena (14)
“Both girls are currently attending SJII, in Grades 9 and 10 respectively. Our family is very happy with the way the school adopts a student-centric approach in its pedagogy as well as the variety of after-school enrichment activities. The school is flexible in its teaching approach and students are encouraged to speak up in class. Class projects are conducted in a variety of methods such as making a poster to illustrate learning points rather than writing a traditional essay. SJII also values and welcomes parent feedback.
Students are encouraged to take part in more than one activity or interest group. This is complemented by the school’s emphasis on service learning, community engagement, and the National Youth Achievement Award scheme, which promotes growth and learning beyond the formal curriculum. Both girls have performed in school music concerts, as well as the much-lauded musical Hairspray last year.
We heard about the school through the media, and conversations with some of the board members and management in its early days. We went on a tour of the school back then, even though our children were still very young, in order to see if it was a place where we would want to enrol them later. As Catholics, we also wanted a school environment that would echo our spiritual beliefs. Our decision to enrol our children at SJII was further encouraged by positive testimonials from close friends.
I would strongly recommend SJII to other families for its holistic teaching approach that has delivered good results, plus its wealth of after-school activities, the diverse mix of international and local students, the excellent staff and school facilities, and the nurturing environment the school has created.”
Tanglin Trust School
Penny and Gary Hall, British; Ben (16), Emma (14) and William (12)
“All three of our children have attended Tanglin Trust School since Nursery. Ben is currently in Year 12, Emma is in Year 10 and William is in Year 7. The school challenges the children academically within the classroom, but also gives them so much more beyond it. Ben achieved excellent GCSE results and has gone on to study four A-level subjects. Students have the choice of doing A-level or IB, and it’s the only school that offers this dual pathway at Year 12.
A huge part of learning goes beyond the classroom. The older kids have travelled each year with the senior school to Tioman, Gopeng and India, and both did an Outward Bound trip to the Australian Alps National Park in Year 10. Ben is off to Ladakh, India on the Year 12 trip in June with Himalayan Healthcare and then trekking in the Himalayas. All three children have played in sports teams and the older two have travelled extensively for sports competitions throughout Asia. William started playing the trumpet as part of the Year 5 wind instrument programme, and has since taken Grade 1 and joined the wind band and orchestra.
We learnt about Tanglin through friends in Singapore whose children attended the school. We originally sent Ben because studying the British curriculum would make the transition back to the UK easier, and we also like that subjects are adapted to be more international and to reflect the school’s location in Asia. Little did we know that 14 years later he would be in Year 12 and still be at Tanglin! From time to time, we ask the kids if they’d want to go back to the UK and board, but the answer is always a resounding no. They love where they go to school and we all feel very much part of the Tanglin family.”
The Winstedt School
Anton and Charné Van Der Westhuizen, South African; Liam (8)
“We have been in Singapore for 10 years. Liam has been at Winstedt since August 2015 and he started in Reception 2 (Year 1). We were so blessed to have started at The Winstedt School with Ms Karina; she made learning for Liam fun and has a friendly and caring attitude. Together with other teachers she made a huge difference in Liam’s life and he has grown so much. The school tailors every student’s learning according to their needs and abilities.
Liam is now in Year 2, and we can see how he has changed in the last six months, becoming more focused and able to complete more challenging tasks. The teachers are amazing with him, and they care about his progress and wellbeing. The school integrates different international school curriculums into its own. There’s also a therapy centre, the Asher-Solomon Centre for Development, and regular therapy sessions are built into the curriculum, undertaken by a dynamic team of occupational and speech therapists. Since we moved to the new campus, you can see the children enjoying the bigger space and new facilities.
I initially got in contact with a Winstedt parent through a mutual friend and scheduled an appointment to visit the school. Winstedt is different to other schools in many ways; it upholds a sense of community, love, passion and commitment as it grows. Before this, school was a struggle for our son, with constant meltdowns, anxiety and trying to cope in a system that didn’t allow him to be different. Winstedt has been an incredible journey for us, but more so for Liam; to see him smiling and thriving again is priceless.”
This article first appeared in the International School Mini Guide in the May 2017 edition of Expat Living Singapore. Subscribe now!
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