There are plenty of international schools in Singapore to choose from, but is there one which is truly international? You know, students drawn from all over the world, no one dominant nationality, globally recruited educators and a strong internationally-certified curriculum from Pre-K to Grade 12, that kind of thing? GEMS World Academy (Singapore) (GWA) ticks all of these boxes and more – way more, in fact, with their state-of-the-art Yishun campus also linked to GEMS Education, the world-leader in K-12 education with a global network of over 80 schools in more than 10 countries.
It’s this melting pot of internationalism, along with state-of-the-art facilities, their focus on a balanced education of Sports, Arts and Academics, and an emphasis on parental engagement, that really sets GWA apart among Singapore’s many international schools. Read on to find out more about what GWA offers, as well as get valuable first-hand insight into school life from GWA parents. It’s just the sort of nitty-gritty you’d get around a dinner table with old and new friends!
Plus, scroll down to register and find out more about GWA’s Open Day coming up on Saturday 16 April 2016. It’s the perfect chance to have a nosey around the campus and meet members of staff. See you there!
1. International educators
GWA teachers are as global as their student base, with British, American, Australasian and many other nationalities in the school. One thing they all have in common though is their impressive qualifications, experience, love for teaching and commitment to a child-centred approach
Mum Mona Dange echoes this. ‘My son Arnav shared with me that he feels very engaged with what he is doing. That everybody is interested in what he is doing means so much to a child. GWA employs teachers who are specialists in their field and this really makes the difference.”
2. Balanced education
GWA isn’t just focused on Academics, with learning extending beyond the classroom to stellar Sports and Arts programmes. Couple this with the school’s strict policy of participation for children from Pre-K through to Grade 12 in Sports and Arts, and parents can rest assured that their child will receive an all-round education to rival the best.
Get an eyeful of the amazing on-site sports facilities during the GWA Open Day on 16 April 2016. There’s a 15-metre climbing wall, 50-metre Olympic swimming pool, an all-weather learner pool, four badminton courts, an all-weather full-size football pitch with spectator seating and an indoor sports hall complete with a championship volleyball court. Add a well-designed Sports Programme (with multiple lessons each week and Sports Science topics for Secondary students), extra-curricular activities (ECA) and plenty of competitive sports teams, and you can be guaranteed your child will be stretching their bodies along with their minds!
Equal emphasis is placed on the GWA Arts Programme covering the Visual Arts, Music and Drama. Early Years students receive guided music training by specialist teachers (Juilliard-trained), while Grade 1 to 5 students are provided with a violin or cello for use in the compulsory instrumental string programme. From Grade 9 onwards, students may select an Arts domain which best suits their interests and strengths, while ECAs offer further opportunity for children to flex their artistic and sporting talents.
Says Michelle Dabbs, mom of Chloe, Penelope and Taylor: ‘My eldest daughter has joined Drama and Rock Band and my middle daughter has signed up for Football and Track and Field, all of which they really enjoy. The school is working hard to accommodate all the students’ requests for ECAs, with more variety planned for next year. I believe GWA is an amazing school for the children!’
3. Parent engagement
When there’s a Parent Engagement Programme in place, you know a school means business. You can expect monthly workshops aimed at helping Mum and Dad work hand-in-hand with their child’s teaching team, with topics including the nature of the International Baccalaureate (IB) education and the use of technology in contemporary teaching and learning environments. There’s also an emphasis on the ‘3-A-Day’ approach (‘talk about learning, share learning and encourage learning’) to pave the way for an ongoing and open dialogue between parent and child. Oh, and a Parent Cafe because a coffee and a chat after drop-off never hurt anyone!
4. Internationally-certified curriculum
Whether you’re looking for a place for your child for Early Years, Primary or Secondary, GWA’s strong curriculum, governed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation), is bound to appeal since this globally recognised programme makes it a breeze for expat families to move around the world. The benefits to students are huge – intellectually, personally, emotionally and socially – with a real focus on encouraging them to think critically, challenge what they are told and drive their own learning. Head over to GWA’s website to find out more about the International Baccalaureate (IB) certified study in the Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and Diploma (DP) programmes.
What’s more, GWA allows Grade 9 and 10 students to add a second international qualification to their CV through the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Special mention of GWA’s remarkable Language Programme, offering after-school mother-tongue classes, English as an additional language and foreign language learning (including daily Mandarin)
Mum Joyce Fitzgerald loves the fact that GWA is an IB World School and has placed her three sons here. “We wanted them to be in a school that would foster their curiosity, creativity, and passion for learning, and inspire them to look beyond simple answers and facts. My youngest son now writes pages and pages of stories, entirely from his own imagination, which is fantastic given his young age of 7,’ says Joyce. When we asked our second son what he liked so much about school, he responded, ‘When I speak in the classroom, my teacher really listens to me.’ This was the best testimony ever. As for my oldest son, he has been trying to understand advanced concepts, such as the Bermuda Triangle, and he will debate and defend his viewpoint vigorously. We have never seen this side of him before.”
And so back to that Open Day on Saturday 16 April 2016 from 10am-2pm. Chat to the School Leadership Team, interact with GWA educators, listen to parenting talks and master classes, and have a tour of the facilities. There’ll be plenty to keep all children entertained, with a bouncy castle, face painting, rock climbing and more, so bring the brood along. Register here and flick through the gallery to view snaps from a previous GWA Open Day for a taster.
Can’t make this date? There are also weekly school tours every Tuesday where parents can get a chance to meet with educators, including the Head of Education, and snoop the campus.