Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll face as parents. Are the school’s previous academic results the best way to decide? What about your child’s friends; which school are they going to? Does the reputation of the school mean anything?
A good school will not only launch your child into a happy and fulfilling education journey, but it will also influence their friendships, interests and achievements for the rest of their life.
International Community School Singapore (ICS) is hosting a virtual open house with expert educator, Dr James P. Rader, and two of ICS Singapore’s new incoming principals on Saturday 10 October, where they’ll discuss “best practices” in choosing a quality education for your child. Here’s a taste of what you can expect to learn from the event.
What’s the difference between local public schools and international private schools in Singapore?
The biggest differences between these two categories are affordability and curriculum. Depending on whether you’re a Permanent Resident or foreigner, the local school fees range from around S$200 to $1,000 a month. International school fees range from S$1,000 to $4,500 a month.
The local curriculum offers a rigorous academic focus that immerses the child in the Singaporean culture. International private schools cater to foreign families who are seeking a specific curriculum to help their child transition back into their home country’s school system or to try something that would best suit their child’s learning needs.
What are some of the key criteria parents should be looking for in a school?
- Climate of the campus. (Is it warm and friendly?)
- Academic programme. (Where do most former students attend university?)
- Reputation of the school. (How long has it been in existence and how experienced are the faculty?)
- Size of the school. (How many students are in a class?)
- Proximity of the school to your home. (Is the commute manageable?)
How important are school tours?
School tours are incredibly important for prospective families as they help them get a first-hand experience of the school. Are the teachers friendly? Are the facilities well maintained? How do teachers and students interact with each other? These are all fundamental questions that can be answered on a school tour.
What are five questions every parent should ask before choosing a school for their child?
The top five questions that our Admissions Department get asked are:
- How much are the school fees and do they increase every year?
- Are the fees all-inclusive? (For example, do they include technology, stationary, field trips and so on?)
- Where are your teachers from?
- How many students are there in a class?
- How does your school deal with bullying?
Should extracurricular activities be taken into consideration when choosing a school?
Extracurricular activities are important in educating the whole child. These after-school activities help students gain new passions, bond with other students and teachers, and also develop skills that they can use in the real world. At ICS, we offer extracurricular activities such as competitive and non-competitive sports, bowling, Lego club, Little Readers Club, Minecraft, photography, SAT tutoring, taekwondo and robotics.
What about core values and community?
The core values of a school reflect the essence of that school and are the motivating factors behind all of its policies, programmes and decision-making. At ICS, our core values are:
- Biblical worldview
- Caring community
- Academic excellence
- Personal excellence
We pride ourselves on infusing “community” into our core values; we care about our ICS family. Each and every student will experience this level of care from teachers, peers and administrators.
What distinguishes ICS from other schools?
At ICS, the curriculum is designed to grow our students into lifelong learners and critical thinkers who will engage the world from a perspective that is built on a Biblical worldview. This is embodied in the ten Expected Student Outcomes that we work toward with our students:
- Living Productively
- Godly Self Image
- Cultural Sensitivity
- Problem Solvers
- Quality Communicators
- Critical Thinkers
- Appreciate God and His Word
- Obeying Biblical Authority
- Modeling Teachers
- Imitating Christ
Our hope is that at the end of their time with us, each student will embrace these qualities as they move forward in their academic lives.
How has the pandemic impacted the way prospective parents evaluate schools?
Due to COVID-19, prospective families now tend to ask about online learning options. They also what to know the best practices schools are implementing to ensure their child’s education needs will be fulfilled from home and to prevent them from digital fatigue.
Finally, what can parents expect from the ICS virtual open house on 10 October?
At our ICS virtual open house, parents can expect to hear from Dr James P. Rader, Director at ICS, who will share his thoughts on how to choose the right school for your child. They’ll also hear from our two new principals, Mr Darryl Harding (Middle & High School Principal) and Mr Lance Kershner (Elementary School Principal), on their respective school divisions. There will also be a live Q&A session after each principal’s presentation where parents can ask any questions.
To find out more about ICS or to register for the virtual open house, visit ics.edu.sg.