Singapore Expats Forum

OFS, Stamford American, UWC

Discuss various schooling options for your children here.
tanusa
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OFS, Stamford American, UWC

Postby tanusa » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 3:55 am

Hello. We're relocating to Singapore from the US at the end of the year. I'm trying to figure out which schools to apply to, which is very hard considering I'm doing all the research from the US and will be unable to tour schools before arriving. Any advice or information would be really appreciated.

My daughter will be five next month and is attending preschool here in the US. She will enter Kindergarten next year. Although she's in preschool now, we'd like to find a school she can continue with next year when she starts Kindergarten. I am familiar with SAS and know it has an excellent reputation, etc. I'm not crazy about it's location and the idea of putting my daughter on a bus for so long at this age. I'm considering the new Stamford American school, but it has been almost impossible to get feedback from parents on any of these forums about the school. I guess there just aren't that many students there yet? I would be grateful for ANY info anyone has on this school.

I've also researched UWC and OFS. I've heard UWC can be difficult to get into, but it has a good reputation. Anyone with children there? What are your thoughts on the school? OFS has very mixed reviews depending on the year of the review. What are people's views on this school recently? The review I've read were mostly from 2005 to 2007. Again, if you have children at this school now, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks in advance for any responses!

carolynW
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Postby carolynW » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 8:44 am

I have 2 friends at the Stamford american school, if you send me an email on Singaporecarolyn@yahoo.com, I'll link you guys up. Their kids are older tho, age 8, I think, definitely not the kindergarden age.

movingtospore
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Postby movingtospore » Fri, 21 Aug 2009 11:40 am

We are in the midst of moving from Canada with a daughter going into kindie as well. We tried for a spot at UWC but their west campus is full with a lengthy wait list. I believe the east campus had kindergarten spots though. Too far for us though as we'll live on the other side of town. So we are opting for the Canadian school for now.

I know some Singaporeans here in Canada who all speak well of UWC and the Canadian school. UWC seems pretty impressive but I was not impressed by the fact they wanted over $2,000 just to go on the wait list...

Good luck.

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Postby Topshelf » Wed, 02 Sep 2009 12:20 pm

We are also from the US, and my daughter is currently at OFS for 1st grade. We arrived last summer, and I was in the same boat you are, with having to make a decision without being able to come here first and not really finding any frank advice on this forum. So, I enrolled my daughter for K2 at OFS because they responded to my e-mails in a timely manner and were willing to guarantee me a spot there, whereas others were not nearly as forthcoming. That was appreciated, but...I wouldn't do OFS again. It's overcrowded and chaotic, the facilities have seen better days, and the academics are weak, at least at this age. My daughter made no progress in learning to read in K2 except the work I did with her at home. I would enroll at UWC if I were you, although I tried to get my daughter in there for 1st grade and I was told they still had a waiting list for k2 and 1st grade, although not for other grades. This is all just my opinion, but there it is, for what it's worth.

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Postby movingtospore » Sat, 12 Sep 2009 6:19 am

Hi Tanusa, I'm just wondering if you decided on a school.

We're arriving in Singapore around mid-October (still waiting for visas, yikes).

Our daughter is starting kindie at CIS but I want to look at other schools as well for her for next year, especially SAS and UWC. Did either of these schools give you a sense of how long their wait list is?



Laura

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Postby tanusa » Sat, 19 Sep 2009 9:27 pm

Topshelf wrote:We are also from the US, and my daughter is currently at OFS for 1st grade. We arrived last summer, and I was in the same boat you are, with having to make a decision without being able to come here first and not really finding any frank advice on this forum. So, I enrolled my daughter for K2 at OFS because they responded to my e-mails in a timely manner and were willing to guarantee me a spot there, whereas others were not nearly as forthcoming. That was appreciated, but...I wouldn't do OFS again. It's overcrowded and chaotic, the facilities have seen better days, and the academics are weak, at least at this age. My daughter made no progress in learning to read in K2 except the work I did with her at home. I would enroll at UWC if I were you, although I tried to get my daughter in there for 1st grade and I was told they still had a waiting list for k2 and 1st grade, although not for other grades. This is all just my opinion, but there it is, for what it's worth.


Hello. Thanks for your reply. Your views on OFS are very similar to the less recent reviews I've read on the forums. Especially about the facilities and it being overcrowded. OFS is so tempting because of it's location. We're interested in the Orchard area, so it would be really nice to be so close. Of course, once we arrive in Singapore, all our opinions about where to live could change. I've read several things about UWC always having a wait list. What is it about this school that makes it so desirable? All I ever seem to read is about how it's difficult to get in, but never anything about WHY it's so popular. Is it the academics? The facilities? The teachers? All of it? Thanks again for your reply. It's really helpful to hear from other parents.

tanusa
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Postby tanusa » Sat, 19 Sep 2009 9:43 pm

movingtospore wrote:Hi Tanusa, I'm just wondering if you decided on a school.

We're arriving in Singapore around mid-October (still waiting for visas, yikes).

Our daughter is starting kindie at CIS but I want to look at other schools as well for her for next year, especially SAS and UWC. Did either of these schools give you a sense of how long their wait list is?



Laura


Hi Laura,

Still no decision about schools. I've decided to at least wait until my husband makes a trip there in October and has a look at a few of them. I may even wait until we arrive in January. My daughter is still in preschool this year, so there's not as much urgency in getting her in a school immediately. Although, I would prefer to have a place lined up for her as soon as we're there. I think it would make the transition easier for her. As much as I can tell, sitting here in the US, I think we're leaning toward Stamford or maybe UWC. I think SAS sounds amazing. I have a friend that went there and absolutely loved it (that was back in the 80s though :) It's just the location that is a major drawback for me. We're also considering just putting her in a local preschool for now until we decide on a "big" school. As far as wait lists, I haven't haven't talked with SAS or UWC. I did contact Stamford, which didn't have a wait list since it's still so new. I've heard UWC depends on the grade and SAS is more flexible now because so many expats have gone home. This is all second-hand information though.

Good luck with getting your visas!

Rachel

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Postby Pentium » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 8:12 am

Hi
I just found another forum that you can read what people think about schools in Singapore. There is loads of info on schools.


expatsingapore dot com

tanusa
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Postby tanusa » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 9:38 pm

Pentium wrote:Hi
I just found another forum that you can read what people think about schools in Singapore. There is loads of info on schools.


expatsingapore dot com


thanks!

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Postby herefornow » Thu, 24 Sep 2009 2:01 am

Sorry, but there is no difference in language instruction 5- 45 minute periods per week and 2-3 times per week. Singapore is filled with children who come from families where the parents are reasonably fluent Chinese speakers, but mostly use English. These kids study Chinese 5 days per week for an hour+ and they have tutorials....and lots of them still don't speak Chinese.

There are lots of reasons for choosing a school-- but your child is no more likely to be fluent studying 5 than 2 days/week. If you want fluent, you have to immerse.

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Postby noodlemama » Fri, 25 Sep 2009 11:25 am

Choosing a school is difficult but it is great that there are these types of forums for discussion. To add my two cents worth to this thread...

I am a very long-term expat here and my children were born here 12 and 15 years ago. One factor to consider when looking at all of these schools is that only three are non-profit and the rest are profit making. To me that is one huge differentiating factor. This means that the non-profits can spend more on staff salaries and benefits and thus are able to attract a higher calibre of teaching professionals.

Second is the idea of moving school. It appears that most of the people on this thread have young children. Please do not be afraid of moving your child to another school. In my opinion, this is not a huge drama until the child reaches middle school and even then, depending upon the child it may not be that big of a deal for a teenager.

I moved my two from ISS to UWC in Grades K2 and Grade 2. The younger one was on a waitlist so I had the two of them in different schools for a year. No big deal – even though the school holidays did not match 100% it was close enough and I simply followed the UWC calendar as it is not a big deal for a K1 student to miss a week of school.

UWC is strong academically, but we choose it for its ethos. I am still impressed how they put these values even into the curriculum. Plus these amazing trips that start in Grade 2. My children are confident and caring individuals – traits that are reinforced at school.

That said – we are lucky in Singapore to have such a variety of schools to choose from and that the overall standard is quite high.

I don’t know if this is of any help to you, but I just thought I would contribute my two cents worth.


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