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International school pre-school/infant programme

Discuss various schooling options for your children here.
cilla_pp
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International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby cilla_pp » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 8:34 am

We are a Hong Kong family planning to move to Singapore in early 2016, and I’m just starting to do some research on International Schools for my little one who will be 3 years old by then. We are not sure yet if we’ll stay for the long term, and there is the possibility that we may relocate back to Hong Kong after say 2-3 years. We are Australian citizens so we are definitely considering AISS, but we are also exploring other options such as Singapore American School, Stamford, Canadian International School...etc. Ideally, we want to shortlist a few schools and then go for a visit next year.

Some considerations I'm having
- Academic: while I fully agree with the benefits of inquiry-based learning and learning through play in the early childhood years, I’m also worried about academic progression especially in english and mathematics since my child may need to transition back to the HK system after a few years and the primary school curriculum in HK is quite challenging academically. Does anyone know which schools tend to have an earlier academic focus?
- Immersion in Chinese: which school offers a more structured bilingual programme in Chinese? I know AISS has daily Mandarin classes, Stamford has something like 3 classes per week(?), any others? I will teach my child Chinese at home but I would like to know if some schools are relatively stronger in this area.

I'm sorry for all my questions as I’m new here and honestly don't know where to start… but I would really appreciate any help/advice/comments anyone may have.

Ela Gursel
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby Ela Gursel » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 3:58 pm

Hi there,

I can feel your pain… deciding on schools is one of the toughest things to do. As I am going through the same phase, I will try to share my thoughts...

I have been living in Singapore for the last 6 years and have a 3 year old son born in Singapore. As we’re raising our son in Singapore, we want him to learn Chinese. He is currently going to an inquiry-based preschool where he learns Chinese and English through play. I think few parents fully understand inquiry based approach. Because it is learning through play, parents tend to think that it is not well organised or it doesn’t provide a strong learning experience. However, researches prove the opposite. In fact, it is the best way to teach mathematical concepts and language learning for young kids. I do agree with the research on early year education as I see my son’s English and Chinese improve day by day.

In a year time, we are planning to enrol our son in an International School where he can continue learning Chinese as well as strengthening his cognitive skills on maths, reading and writing. We prefer an International School particularly because he can engage in a variety of extracurricular activities such as sports, drama,music and arts. These activities are crucial to increase children's concentration and expand their creativity.

After a thorough research and visits to 6 schools, we’re leaning toward Canadian International School’s Bilingual Programme. It is a Chinese-English immersion programme taught in small classes. Two teachers - one Chinese and one English native speaker - are present in class all day. They teach through play, songs and role play. They learn math concepts, reading and writing with different tools in two languages.

My first foreign language was French then I learnt English. I know how concepts learnt in one language were easily transferred in the second language. In the immersion programme, this knowledge transfer will work even better with both way transfer!

I hope I could address your questions. I wish you best of luck on selecting the best school on your child and moving to Singapore.

cilla_pp
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby cilla_pp » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:39 pm

Thanks for your sharing!! Yep, it does seem like a daunting task but hopefully as I progress through my research I will have a clearer view and feel more comfortable about choosing the right school for my little one. The bilingual programme at CIS sounds interesting and we will certainly be seeking to find out more.

I share your views about inquiry-based learning and believe this is the best for young children. The only problem though is this is not the mainstream approach in HK, so it will be difficult to fit into the local system in case we are moving back. That said, I'm starting to think that there will probably be other alternatives (such as going to International Schools in HK) so perhaps I need not be too concerned about the potential "catching up" required.

Anyways, really appreciate your comments and insights! It's always good to know that I'm not the only one going through this!

cilla_pp
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby cilla_pp » Sat, 17 Jan 2015 12:16 am

Hi Ela, I will likely visit Singapore next month and am planning to do a few school tours. Just on Canadian International School, may I know if you visited the Lakeside campus or Tanjong Katong campus, and would you know the differences between the two?

Thanks heaps.

donil.edwards
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby donil.edwards » Tue, 28 Jul 2015 1:57 pm

Hi Ela,

I know that this school, GEMS World Academy (Singapore) http://www.gwa.edu.sg, provides daily foreign languages classes from Pre- Kindergarten to Grade 10. In the Early Years, all their students undertake daily Mandarin learning, delivered by a specialist Mandarin teacher, embedded into daily classroom learning.

From Grade 1 onwards, students have the option of continuing in Mandarin, or undertaking daily classes in Spanish (or French from 2015/16 academic year).

For Academic wise, this school offers dual curriculum.

Here's what listed on their website:
As an International School with a diverse student population, GEMS World Academy (Singapore) understands how important it is for students to have globally recognised qualifications that enable families to move with ease around the world. To support this, GWA students undertake International Baccalaureate (IB) certified study in the Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and Diploma (DP) programmes.

Additionally, as a certified Cambridge International School, our Grade 9 and 10 students are eligible to obtain a second international qualification through the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). This externally examined programme of study greatly enhances our Secondary Years programme, and ensures that students are being provided with extensive, globally recognised pathways.

letchumigopal1988
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby letchumigopal1988 » Mon, 29 Aug 2016 2:10 pm

We are moving to Singapore in a 2 months time and are looking for a preschool or playgroup class at Grandstand / Turf area. Any recommendations? Preferably somewhere not too stressful to ease my kids into the local academic environment.

tiongleebeng
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby tiongleebeng » Fri, 09 Sep 2016 12:21 pm

letchumigopal1988 wrote:We are moving to Singapore in a 2 months time and are looking for a preschool or playgroup class at Grandstand / Turf area. Any recommendations? Preferably somewhere not too stressful to ease my kids into the local academic environment.


Hey Letchumi, there are quite a few schools along turf club road to choose from. We brought our 2yo girl to little paddington preschool at turf club road last month when they were having an open house and registered on the spot as they were having some early bird discount. :D

Sensei Michael
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Re: International school pre-school/infant programme

Postby Sensei Michael » Wed, 05 Oct 2016 11:09 am

If Chinese is your concern, the Hillside World Academy offers Chinese at the native level, taught by mainland Chinese teachers. Chinese at HWA is not just an immersion programme - it is very much a part of the school culture itself.
Principal, Hillside World Academy
http://www.senseimichael.com


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