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Local school with international flavours

Discuss various schooling options for your children here.
ribena
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Local school with international flavours

Postby ribena » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 7:40 am

Anyone knows of any local primary school with high % of international student? Heard of Tj katong. What about St Joseph Junior? Any more? Is ACS primary/Junior result orientated or more well rounded?

Will be based near Novena/Newton..may also consider East Coast.

Anyone out there who has primary school age kids with mild Autism studying in meainstream school?

Not considering special school as my son has no learning disabilities..just needs a teacher with good sense of humour and creative mind to educate! He's chatty, cheerful,never ending of WHYS..and into jet engines, motor,fans...just not good in social interactions.. Cant read non verbal cues, takes things literally, likes to play but always get it wrong..just not good at TUNING IN but able to pick out sounds that's quite inaudible for many of us like the humming of the airvent etc

Love to hear from parents who has similar experience.

might have to consider special school for my 3yo boy though as he has ASD and severe social communication disorder.

SIGH....

oh..will be relocating in mid September...Excited but worried about the unknown..

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Postby fristromcan » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 10:44 am

Hi Ribena,

Not sure whether you are aware of the primary school admission system in Singapore. The process is divided into phases. For kids that are not Singaporean nor PR, their application will be considered in the last phase, which by then, the school of your choice may have no vacancy.

You can read all about the system in http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissi ... istration/

Hope this helps.

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Postby ribena » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 2:52 pm

fristromom

Thanks for your reply.

I havent really got a prefered choice of school..the question posted will help me to decide and THEN 'llI start to worry about registration/application. Will have a few doors to knock..and will have hubby's employer to assist as they can open up a few doors for us

For now I just like to find out which local schools have been accepting foreign students..

I suppose ( I hope ) schools that take in foreigners are more open and tolerant of kids of ALL kind

Thanks again

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Postby fristromcan » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 3:48 pm

Hi Ribena,

In my experience, Singapore is generally a tolerant society but sometimes, maybe not so "open".

I am also not sure how mainstream schools due with kids with mild Autism, as my impression is that the school system here is academically orientated.

Going back to your original question, all schools in principle do take in foreign students. Given the system, another way to pose the question maybe: which schools are less popular with locals?

In fact, the primary admission exercise is going to start on the 7th July. You might want to follow:

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissi ... vacancies/

This will give you some idea which schools may still have vacancy at Phase 3.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 6:27 pm

In addition to the above poster, local children who have learning disabilities are often the only exception that the government makes re: allowing local citizens to opt for an International School. It's because of the competitive nature of the local school system that they don't cater generally to those with learning/social disabilities. However, you will find that most schools now have high percentages of expat children in them. The problem is that most of those Expat children are from other Asian countries. My kids went through the local system (one CHIJ- Toa Payoh and the other a local neighbourhood school) however, my kids were here for the long haul (both born here) and have finished their schooling now.

Another poster here might be able to help you more. Boffenl has her child in a local school (she a Canadian/American) and the child is thriving. It's a new school in Clementi on the West Coast towards Jurong and the facilities are fantastic according to her. As you PM is activated, you might send her a PM for further information. That or do a search of the threads using her nick. It should turn up some useful information and well as some heated discussions . :cool:

sms

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Postby ribena » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 10:08 pm

Hi again

I think foreigners in Singapore are lucky to have so many International School to pick and choose from. (I heard stories about parents uprooting their kids to different schools a number of times because they're not happy with the previous school)


I am quite keen to put my son near where we live - Novena/Newton
So will look at schools within this cluster area and hopefully narrow it down to a handfull (with your help I hope)
Quite keen with SJI as I have a back-up plan (hope for the best plan for the worst) if things not going smoothly might be able to transfer to SJI international elementary up the road?? (They are managed under same umbrella I think)

I have my youngest son's needs to consider as well. He's 3 and has ASD and severe social communication disorder. Currently receiving speech&language therapy/Occupational therapy and home education visits from Portage. He goes to local nursery for 3 morning sessions and he's enjoying it.

I'm in contact with Fionna from Chiltern House. My youngest will probably attend one of her units in TurfClub Road as they have therapy unit there that work with children with special needs. (Theone closer in Halifax Road near KKH is full) She's brilliant and been giving me advice about schooling for my eldest as well. Some of the children she worked with includes children attending local mainstream school.(so, there's hope for my eldest)

Chiltern House@ Turf Club Road is not far off from Novena. (think of logistic nightmare with 2 different kids with different education needs!!)

I just hope to hear more from parents who put their kids thru the local syetem and tell me how their kids cope. Also it'll be nice to know what other local primary schools many expat send their kids to. Anyone from SJI..it'll be nice if my son will spot familiar accent and not feeling alienated/isolated?! (He's told his class teacher he's worried about the move..but wont say much to us)

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Postby fristromcan » Sat, 04 Jul 2009 10:55 pm

Hi Ribena,

Looking at my friends, the "coping" part is more related to the parents than the kids. Kids being kids, they adapt fast. The stress is often on the parents, in particular, if they think that their kids are not coping well. Seems that the key is to manage the parent's expectation.

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Postby ribena » Sun, 05 Jul 2009 1:40 am

I copied the following fr a kiasuparents forum about preparing kids for smooth transition to Primary 1 local school.

I found it disturbing! Tell me it isnt true!!?!!

. Mental Preparation
- Your kid needs to learn to listen and record instructions from teachers. Normally, the teacher will get the kid to write down homework or instructions to their parents in a Parents-Teacher booklet which YOU need to check religiously everyday. That is the main way by which you know what is happening in school, besides the occasional handouts. You probably need to get the email addresses of at least the form teacher.

- If your kid goes to school in the morning, it is necessary to condition him/her for at least 3 months before school starts. Sleep no later than 9pm and wake up at 6:30am.

- Train your kid to operate a regular schedule with specific timing. Wake up, brush teeth, eat breakfast, exercise, and then lessons. If your child is already in a PCF or similar kindergarten, you have your job cut up for you. But make sure you follow up on the teachers' comments on homework and stuff.

- Train your kid to be self reliant, confident and independent from a young age. This is the TRUE key to success and it will save you a lot of heart ache and stress later. I'm not just talking about teaching your child to order his/her own food. A child that is self-driven will accomplish much more than one with very high IQ. You should attend parenting courses yourself to learn how to do so. Mindchamps comes to mind.

2. Academic Preparation
There are only 3 subjects in Primary 1 and 2 - English, Chinese and Maths. While there are variations, in general the following can be expected:

a. English and Chinese
P1 kids are expected to do:
- spelling, 听写 and dictation every week (word list of 10 words)
- show and tell every term
- tests involving multiple choice grammar, comprehension, and picture composition
- oral tests involving picture compositions.

To prepare for this, it will be good to encourage kindergarten kids to:

- read voraciously to build up grammer and vocabulary. It is a given these days that kids are EXPECTED to know phonics and all 26 alphabets BEFORE they enter P1.

- attend speech and drama classes to improve confidence and presentation skills

- learn to write simple Chinese characters properly in terms of all the basic strokes 笔画 (heng, shu, etc) and in the proper order. Some teachers are VERY sticky such that even though the character looks correct, if the strokes are wrong, it will still be marked wrong.

- For Chinese, make sure there is a strong foundation of Hanyu Pinyin. I would recommend that you consider sending your child to group-based learning such as the Hua Language Centre as soon as he/she reach 4 years old - it is VERY difficult otherwise to build an interest in the language unless you constantly use it at home.

b. Mathematics
P1 students are expected to:
- Add/subtract up to 100
- Number bonds
- Times table up to 10 (some 12)
- Abstract modeling to solve problems
- Read analog time (half past, quarter to, etc)
- work with numbers in numeric and alphabet form: eg. 10-8=? or what is the difference between ten and eight?

It is very different from during our times, where all we need to do is to memorize by heart the 12 times table. Kids are required to really UNDERSTAND the logic behind the math.

Take a peek at the P1 assessments when you drop by a Popular bookstore to get a feel for what your child is going to be up against.

To prepare for P1, the main thing to focus on would be to work on the speed of doing the fundamentals of addition and subtraction, and multiplication. Then your child can focus in class on the more complex and abstract logic and modeling processes. I highly recommend Kumon for this job... if you start your child in Kumon by K1, you can be sure that he will well prepared for P1 (and even P2!)

3. Parental Preparation
You must also prepare yourself to support your child! At least one parent has to take time out to guide the child on a daily basis on his schoolwork. It is VERY unlikely the child knows how to manage all the work thrown on him by himself. Nowadays, the schools EXPECT parents to do the job, or at least outsource the job to tutors.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 05 Jul 2009 2:04 am

Actually it is very true. That is why Singaporeans top the academic competitions around the world in Maths & Sciences with astounding regularity. Of course the crusader on the other side of the fence, road.not.taken poo-poo the Singapore method in favour of the "well-rounded" but not able to win any academic olympiads methods of the International Schools. Which is okay as well. Each to their own. Mostly one needs to think along several parallels at the same time. Length of stay here, whether you will be returning home after leaving here. Age of children and level of insertion into a system and whether or not you can afford a top of the line International School with it's 16-20K/child/year fees like the American School. There are other, cheaper International Schools and some are good and other, well, do a search for comparison and on the ground reports.

Some expat children thrive other don't. If you have a special needs child I personally don't think the local route is the way to go. So you might want to think about renegotiating a contract as the alternative is going to cost some extra clams.

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Postby skye » Sun, 05 Jul 2009 3:14 pm

Hi Ribena, sent you a PM.

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Postby road.not.taken » Sun, 05 Jul 2009 6:23 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Of course the crusader on the other side of the fence, road.not.taken poo-poo the Singapore method in favour of the "well-rounded" but not able to win any academic olympiads methods of the International Schools. Which is okay as well. Each to their own.


At least try to be accurate SMS.

A. I am not a 'crusader' as you say, and

B. I am referring to our own preference as a family and not imposing my expectations for what constitutues a good education on other posters. The Singapore system is fine if, what is it? winning 'academic olympiads' is your goal.

Ribena,

Thank you, that excerpt you posted turns my stomach and validates our decision to keep the kids at SAS despite the cost.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 05 Jul 2009 6:47 pm

road.not.taken wrote:
At least try to be accurate SMS.

A. I am not a 'crusader' as you say, and



A rose by any other name....... :P

Your many posts precedeth you.

Anyway, I hope you had an enjoyable 4th. :wink:

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Postby boffenl » Mon, 06 Jul 2009 11:26 am

Hi Ribena,

Just sent you a PM as well.

Local schools aren't for everyone. My daughter is mathematically inclined, so the local option was the best for her. She is also a 3 minute bus ride (yes, I put her on the bus for 3 minutes!) to school from our apt. There are some local kids who do exhibit some autism related issues at her school (focus on some sounds, constantly going, etc) and they do have a counseling office to help ease the transition.

My best advise is to call the local schools in your area, meet with the principal and one or two of the teachers and get their feedback on your son. Take him with you too. My daughter loves her school so much she's disgusted they gave her a day off today for the Asia Youth Games. :)

I've said it before, but the local school are the best deal in Singapore--less than $15 per month. She's taking Mandarin and science (in P2 they introduce science) in addition to music, art, math, English and PE. It's an incredibly well rounded curricula, and I am thankful everyday that we got a "spot" at her school.

Do your research, go on visits and ask around. You've done one of the three. Keep at it and I know you'll make the best decision for your boys.

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Postby fristromcan » Mon, 06 Jul 2009 6:31 pm

boffenl wrote:Local schools aren't for everyone... but the local school are the best deal in Singapore.


I think this sums it up well. =D>

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Postby ribena » Tue, 07 Jul 2009 12:16 am

Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and views and also those who pm me. It's getting harder to keep up now!! Mind you I've got 2 specials boys to tend to. And foolishly, I've chosen this time to train my non verbal son to use the potty!! I heard preschool there dont accept children still in nappy??!! Hope Green Room @ Turf City will take him! Hopefully he doesnt need nappy by then! Wish me lots of luck!!

As for schooling for my older AS boy. . I'm still keen to put him on the local system despite worrying about the kind of support we'll get from the school but I heard more and more schools now have learning support/special education staff. That's is reassuring to know! But I must stress that my son doesnt require any learning sopport, just wondering how the school staff is going to react when they see my boy putting his face close to the air-con compressor so that he can see the motor/fans working!! Or when he insist that the teacher must write his/her Capital I with 2 short lines on top and bottom of the vertical line...

Other factors play a major role too:

Length of stay : Long term

Returning to UK : Unlikely. Although we still keep our house. Only because not a good time for sale (blame the economy crunch)

Age of child : 6+ still young. Kids are very good at adapting. Although I must say that most AS/ASD kids are very rigid with routine and doesnt like change. I'm counting my blessings as my son doesnt show severe sign of AS. Also I think kids from local school will adapt better in International School. Transition for kids from International School TO local school will be harder especially when they are older.

Affordability : Like boffenl pointed out $14/month is very economical! I am also counting my blessing because if things not working, hubby can afford private schooling for kids! I'm cheap to maintain too! So money saved will all go to the kids fund..especially the youngest is our major worry!


A local mum said what I've cut and paste is quite extreme. And her kids go to Tao Nan (one of the Top local school I was told) isnt as bad as written! Will try to post her comment when I have the luxury of free time!


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