CNIS - The Chinese International School
. Hmmm. I have 2 kids there in kindergarden, they have been there for 2 years now. If your main priority is to have them learn Chinese, I think of all the places I have seen in Singapore for exposure to Chinese, it is a good choice. I have not however checked out for example the Julia Gabriel on Evans which apparently is 100% Chinese from this year, that wasn't around when I wanted to enroll my kids. I think Patschoolhouse may actually have also quite a good chinese program if supplemented with Berries.
What I am 70% happy with the school... the chinese teachers are dedicated. They do teach the kids alot of chinese and chinese culture, like painting and chinese poems etc. My two kids have had alot of improvement. Having said that their chinese content is only 60% of the time in a day and only about 40% when they get to primary. If I have an alternative of 100% Chinese content school, I would switch them, without a blink of an eye (esp. having seen some really good and superbly well run comparable schools in Beijing).
The Chinese parents whom I have gotten to know now who have kids in primary are very happy with the school as the chinese apparently keeps ups with Beijing curriculum in China, but there are 2 streams so unless your child gets into the more intensive stream, there is no chance of them getting to that standard, having said that, the chinese they pick up is of quite good standard.
Other pro's, the small classes ensure that alot of Chinese is taught. Also because the school is small, they have dedicated language teachers and as much as I am pushing for math in Chinese (a definitely advantage in learning math), it does not seem apparent to the administration.
Which is probably the biggest problem of the school, the administration is rather weak. The owners have been trying to address that with external consultants. The teachers on the whole are overworked and choose not to stay after their contracts are up. Many of them are good and dedicated but do not have the support of the the administration / leadership.
I am also not happy with the canteen food provider. You need good food to nourish the child for them to learn. The food provider needs to go on a nutrition course (actually probably so do the administrators).
Having said all that, I would still send them to CNIS primary for the Chinese content. I am peeved that the govt does not allow for Chinese helpers as that would improve the kids chinese tremendously and I hear that was stopped by women's group for fear of their husbands being stolen.