If you’re looking for opportunities in school for your child to maintain and improve their home language skills, Stamford American International School’s Home Language Program is designed to do just that. Led by RENA BROWN, Director of English as an Additional Language, the school uses bilingual education programmes, events and activities to create an environment where students and faculty cultivate international-mindedness.
Students and families have opportunities to engage more deeply with diverse nationalities and cultures. This pursuit of inclusion and diversity is evident in Stamford American’s extensive language programmes, which aim to help students become multilingual global citizens.
Rena says it’s important for students to maintain knowledge of their home language in order to connect with their roots. “Language and culture cannot be separated. We often learn about our culture through language and vice versa. When students continue to learn their home language in addition to English, more opportunities open up for them as bilingual individuals, such as future jobs, travel, better communication and much more.”
The school also frequently organises events and activities that express the nationality and heritage of its students, such as the popular annual International Fiesta and the wide variety of traditional student clubs.
Diverse first language classes
Rena explains that a solid foundation in their first language helps students learn English or a new language better. As Stamford American’s student body is diverse, not all languages can be taught during the school day, she explains. So the Home Language Program is a way to give students the platform to continue speaking and advancing knowledge of their first language.
Currently, Stamford American is partnering with five other schools – Svenska Skolan Singapore, Norwegian Cultural Center, APICS Italian Cultural Centre Singapore, LanguageOne and Finnish Supplementary School – to offer this programme at the Woodleigh campus, providing them the space and facilities they need to conduct lessons. Over 250 students have been enrolled across the five language courses.
Second and third languages too
Stamford American’s focus on language also includes its bilingual education programmes for students from pre-kindergarten through to fifth grade, where students receive 50 percent of their instruction in Mandarin to fully immerse themselves in the language. For other students, the school also offers Mandarin or Spanish as part of the curriculum.
Besides incorporating more bilingual education programmes at Stamford American to help students find their community and strengthen their identity, Rena also hopes to encourage them to learn a second or third language.
“In my dream world, everyone would be able to learn their home language during foreign language time or after school.”
Hear from a student
“Taking these classes helps me brush up on my Swedish. There are some students in my class who speak Swedish at home but have never lived in Sweden, so these classes in the bilingual education programmes are a great way for all of us to experience our culture and learn the language simultaneously.” Emma, Grade 7
This article first appeared in the April 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
To make the most of living in Singapore, read our latest City Guide here for free!