Parents, we know you’ll agree with us when we say that finding the perfect school for our kids can feel a tad overwhelming. There are just sooo many things to consider! With everything from the curriculum to location, environment to the facilities and teachers – making a choice can be mindboggling. That’s why we think that getting the opinions of people who know the school best – the parents of students themselves – makes a whole lot of sense. With that in mind, we spoke to mum of two, Ana Carla Martins about why she chose GESS for her two children.
Tell us about the children you have attending the school
I have two children attending the school. Gabriel is five years old and has been attending GESS since November 2016 and is in Pre-Primary now. Marina is two years old, in Pre-Kindergarten and has been at GESS since 2017.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school?
The IB curriculum (taught in English) offered by the school, the school’s German roots, and its new campus were key factors. But most importantly, its principles and its way of thinking fit in very well with our family’s culture: students are encouraged to be risk-takers, they are taught how to respect the environment and learn through hands-on activities and experiences.
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
I wanted a school where the children would, first of all, be safe and healthy with good teachers guiding them and GESS fulfils these expectations. The teachers are very conscious about safety. Also, its infrastructure is built with safety in mind.
GESS provides a safe environment with a lot for freedom to take risks comfortably and explore. There is also a good balance between technology-led education and more classic education. For example, my son who is in Pre-School, recently learnt how to sew his very own pillow using a sewing machine.
What do your children like most about attending this school?
The teachers, their friends and the excursions. Marina recently went on a class trip to the supermarket and the teacher created a very interesting activity for them. They were given shopping lists with photos of ingredients needed to bake a cake and they had $10 each. They had to go around the supermarket and find these ingredients using the photos, think about the quantities needed to make a cake and decide if they had enough money to pay for them. It was definitely a fun way for them to learn.
What sort of curriculum does this school offer?
It provides an IB curriculum taught in English as well as the German curriculum.
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
Parents sometimes come to Singapore and think they will find the perfect school but there is no such place. Parents should instead prioritise their requirements e.g. educational standards, principles, safety and health etc., and then pick a place that meets the most important ones. Instead of looking for the best school, they should look for the right school that suits the child and fits with the family values, rules and beliefs and reflects the family’s way of thinking
What do you value most about the school?
The atmosphere in the school is great and children are taught values like inclusiveness, openness and respect. The teachers are also very capable; last year my son Gabriel had an English teacher who taught him to speak English and he actually has an English accent now! His teacher also taught him how to meditate and calm down when he got too agitated. As for Marina, the teachers have been very patient with her and know how to deal with her. And they create a very positive environment for the kids by, for example, playing a lot of music in class.
Are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from the school and how they engage parents?
The level of communication is good so far. There are regular meetings between teachers and parents, the Head of Pre-School is also very open to meeting parents. The teachers also use the online tool Seesaw to keep us updated on what our children do in the classroom. Previously when my daughter was crying every day in class, the teachers also made an effort to update me with photos of her to assure me that she was alright. There is also a weekly newsletter called GESS Weekly for other updates.
How much homework is expected of your children?
There is no fixed amount of homework. Every week the teacher sends a summary of everything they have covered in class and what is coming next so I use this information to do things at home to help the kids relate to classroom lessons.
To find out more about GESS, contact the admissions team to book a tour.
This post is sponsored by GESS