Discovering your child has learning or behavioural struggles isn’t easy. Finding out your school can’t help can make things worse. We spoke with Dr Vanessa Von Auer, Integrated International School’s Founding Principal, about ways the learning support the school offers to families in this position.
What’s your approach to kids who might be struggling at their current schools?
We firmly believe that the traditional “one size fits all” approach to learning just doesn’t work in today’s modern fast-paced world. Multiple intelligences and learning styles matter. That’s why we offer two teaching approaches: one for mainstream students, who benefit from our diverse educational expertise and supportive environment, and the other for mainstream students with individualised needs, who benefit from the additional resources and learning support. We’re currently one of two international schools in Singapore that offer both.
Do most of your students arrive at your school after attending other schools in Singapore?
We have students who have relocated from overseas, while others found their former school wasn’t able to provide specialised support. We have great relationships with other international schools who refer students to us as they understand what we offer at IIS. We also have families who felt overwhelmed and under pressure in larger school settings and desired smaller class sizes with individualised education.
Are students mixed together or taught in separate classrooms?
Our inclusive classrooms are filled with diverse learners. We encourage our children to learn from each other, but also to understand that everyone learns and handles situations in their own way – and that this is the “spice of life”. Our school motto is to “Redefine Success”, which means that we teach our students to acknowledge and pursue their achievements beyond purely academic markers, too. With both approaches running in tandem, each student receives the differentiated yet inclusive learning experience they deserve, as well as developing balanced perspectives and a greater understanding of their fellow students.
What are some typical reasons children might need additional support?
In today’s fast-paced society of technological and media advances, children are often portrayed as little adults, and the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming for families. We’re seeing more and more children with ADHD, dyslexia, ASD, anxiety and behavioural difficulties. These students can be overlooked in bigger schools because of larger class sizes and lower teacher-to-student ratios. If support services aren’t offered on campus, they can be found outside of school; however, this means more cost, time and effort for both the parents and child.
What support do you provide?
We endeavour to be a one-stop-shop for families by offering support services such as speech, occupational and behavioural therapies as well as counselling, social skills training and remedial tuition. Our students are provided with individualised sessions during school hours so that they can “just be kids” once school finishes for the day.
What curriculum do you follow?
Our school syllabus is based on the Australian curriculum that provides flexibility for educators to develop bespoke programmes to accommodate each student, while also challenging them academically. We take a holistic approach to teaching and supporting students, and “redefine success” by doing so.
At a glance
- Opened: 2009
- School year: Starts in January
- Student population: 80
- Levels taught: Preschool to Grade 10