Singapore American School already has a great reputation for its innovative approach to education, its strong community and excellent support for students, but when you’re choosing an international school that’s the right one for your family, we think the best advice comes from a fellow parent. Georgina Bach has been part of the SAS community for six years now, where her three daughters are loving school life. “SAS felt like the perfect fit from the first visit,” she told us – read on to find out why…
Can you tell us a little about your children attending the school?
My husband, Jeremy, and I have three daughters at SAS. Sara is in 7th grade, Julia is in 5th, and Naomi is in 3rd. This is our family’s sixth year at SAS.
What was most important to you when you were selecting an international school here in Singapore?
We looked for a school that would provide a global educational experience, while still having some of the familiar comforts of home. A sense of community and a strong parent association were extremely important to us. We did lots of research and toured many of the international schools. SAS felt like the perfect fit from the first visit.
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
More than I could have imagined! Singapore American School has challenged my children to explore different ways of learning, some conventional and some more progressive, but always focused on deep thinking rather than answering test questions correctly. It has also challenged us, as parents, to think outside the box of the old-fashioned schooling of our youth and understand the necessity of a modern, forward-thinking education.
What do your children like most about attending SAS?
Our girls love the opportunities to try new activities and sports. They love the relationships they’ve made with teachers and other students. They love Mr. Hoe’s delicious cafeteria food. But most of all, they love feeling like part of a community.
What do you value most about the school?
Without a doubt, it’s the teachers and the support services. The teachers and faculty are exceptional – there are many teachers who have been at the school for 10-20 years, and others who have lived all over the world and have brought their experiences with them. Our girls have been so inspired by their teachers.
The support services at SAS have been extremely valuable to our family. There are programs to assist the kids who need a little extra help, and other programs to support the kids who need an extra challenge. There are speech therapists, psychologists, and learning specialists who are all there to help each child do their best. One of our daughters benefited from two years of speech therapy at SAS when she was younger. We are very thankful that they were able to diagnose her during the screening and give her the help that she needed.
Do your girls use the school bus service? What’s their journey like?
We decided not to live near campus, so the girls do take the bus to and from school every day. We live in a big condo with lots of SAS children, so they know everyone on the bus. The sweet bus Auntie keeps an eye on the kids, making sure seat belts are fastened, etc. There are buses that depart throughout the later afternoon that give the kids flexibility to stay and participate in activities and sports after school.
Are you happy with the level of communication you receive from the school and how it engages parents?There are so many ways to stay in the loop. The school sends a comprehensive newsletter every Friday afternoon, and the same information can be found on the school’s website. For class-specific information, each teacher manages their own blog with details about homework and class calendars. Parents can also contact any teacher by phone or email at any time. There are one-on-one parent teacher conferences twice a year to review each child’s progress. The PTA and Booster Club send their own messages regarding parent volunteer opportunities and community events.
How much homework is expected of your kids?
All three girls are required to read for 20-30 minutes per night. Naomi and Julia (3rd and 5th grades) usually have 10 minutes of math and 10 minutes of Chinese homework. Sara (7th grade) spends about an hour each night on homework.
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
Visit the schools in person – you can’t really get a feel from looking at the websites. Look at the whole picture of what the school has to offer, not just the academics. The art, music, and sports opportunities can be just as important. Lastly, if you like to be engaged in your school’s planning and development as a parent, you should investigate the school’s organisational structure and corporate status. For us, choosing a non-profit school, governed by a parent-led board of directors was very important.
This post is sponsored by Singapore American School.