For most parents, choosing a school for kids in Singapore means weighing multiple important factors. Amongst our all-time favourites, is Australian International School Singapore. We spoke to the Principal of AIS, Mr. Andre Casson, who gave us an insight into the school’s teaching philosophy, new developments, and how they recreate the ethos of Down Under here in The Red Dot.
- Could you tell briefly tell us the history of AIS in Singapore?
The School opened on 1 February 1993, with a campus on Mount Sophia. It started under the leadership of Miss Coral Dixon, with 32 students and seven teachers. As the school grew, the campus moved to Emerald Hill, then Ulu Pandan, before finally shifting to a purpose-built campus at Lorong Chuan in 2002. In 2007 AIS was purchased by the Cognita Group.
- Tell us about your journey in the field of education? How long have you been associated with the school?
My own positive experiences at school, perhaps inspired my career in education. I have been a teacher for almost 24 years now! I worked in independent boys’ schools at Perth and Brisbane in Australia, and two international schools – Dulwich College in Shanghai, and the Australian International School (AIS). I joined AIS in September 2012 as the Head of Secondary School, then moved into the position of Principal in July 2014.
- What do you enjoy about being at AIS?
The last four years at AIS, have been amongst my most professionally satisfying and rewarding. There are challenges that arise, but a great community of students, teachers, and parents makes working here a pleasure.
- Could you tell us what differentiates AIS from other international schools?
What distinguishes AIS, is that we are a southern hemisphere calendar school offering a choice between the IB and Australian curriculums. Being an Australian school, we greatly value the education of the whole student. We are a non-selective school offering equal opportunities to all our students, and consider sports and arts as integral to our education program. What really sets us apart though, is what our Head of Secondary School call the “AIS Spirit” : I think this best sums up what makes us special.
- Are there any interesting developments we can look forward to?
We are incredibly excited about the opening of our Early Learning Village this July. This purpose-built environment has been designed especially for our youngest learners, from 18 months to six years old. It features Reggio Emilia inspired classrooms, a fully covered 22m swimming pool, a library & inquiry centre, a large Smart Steps movement room and three other multi-functional classrooms.
- What are the challenges students face today? How does AIS address these?
The challenges that face young men and women today, seem so much greater and far reaching than the tribulations that I faced growing up, and I can’t help but worry for our students. Despite these concerns I am filled with hope because I see the passion and inclusive nature that is ubiquitous in the AIS community. At school, we have children from 52 nations. When our students interact with their peers, they learn about their beliefs, their fears, and their aspirations. These interactions lead to understanding, understanding leads to respect and respect leads to friendship.
- What are some of the things you have learnt from your students?
I would say that the most significant lesson for me, is to look at the world with a sense of wonder, excitement and awe. The world is a remarkable place if we are open to its gifts.
- What would your students be surprised to know about you?
I love to sing… I am not very good though, and feel sorry for the person standing next to me when I butcher a song.
- What are your fondest memories from your school days?
I am originally from Perth in Western Australia, and attended an all-boys school called Trinity College. My fondest memories, are those of the friendships that I developed through my school years, meeting people through sports, camps, and community service.
- Any words of advice to parents looking for an international school in Singapore?
Singapore is a country that is blessed with many excellent educational opportunities – both local and international. The key is for families to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children. A student once described AIS as having “a vibe of kindness”– statements like these make me proud, and make me believe our school is awesome.
Like this story? Here’s more information on Australian International School
Kylee Smith’s parent testimonial of Australian International School
Full profile of Australian International School on HoneyKids School Selector
Australian International School is building a state-of-the-art Early Learning Village
This post is sponsored by Australian International School