We had a chat with Norman and Ruth Li about their family’s experience at Hillside World Academy Singapore
A truly bilingual and bicultural school in Singapore – does it actually exist? Norman and Ruth Li, parents of two children at Hillside World Academy Singapore, say yes! For parents who are searching for a school that goes beyond a bilingual program or weekly Mandarin classes, it’s a fantastic starting point. And, if a fully immersive Chinese bilingual education is what you’re looking for, you’ll want to hear first-hand, real-life experiences – from the parents of students – to understand how the approach would benefit your family. HoneyKids recently spoke to Norman and Ruth whose children, Jasper and Winifred, are students at Hillside World Academy. Here’s what they had to say…
Hi guys! Tell us a bit about your kids and the sort of school you were looking for them to attend…
Our son, Jasper is in 5th grade and our daughter Winifred is in 2nd grade. We were looking for a school where the kids would be able to learn the Chinese language and also be immersed in Chinese culture.
What was the ultimate deciding factor that led you to choosing Hillside World Academy?
We heard about it from other parents when Jasper was in kindergarten, so we checked out online reviews. He was attending a Chinese kindergarten and we wanted aprimary school that would continue to support his Mandarin learning. The school used to be known as Chinese International School before it changed its name to Hillside World Academy. It always had a great reputation of its students achieving a very high level of Mandarin fluency and cultural awareness, which is why we decided to send our children there. When we visited the school, we really liked the small community feel, and that you could hear Chinese being spoken by students in all the common areas all the time. Unlike other schools, you don’t just hear Mandarin being spoken in the classroom!
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
The school is completely bicultural, representing the best of both worlds through celebrations and holidays. We have had so many opportunities to celebrate Chinese holidays at school, from our large Mid-Autumn Festival gathering to our Chinese New Year specials. The school really feels like a special place for Chinese culture. And, of course, its Mandarin language learning is incredibly strong.
What do your children like most about attending the school?
The yearly trip to the sister school in Beijing! The students have the opportunity to spend a few weeks each year in total Chinese immersion at HWA’s sister school: Beijing Huijia International School. My son is definitely looking forward to that trip!
What sort of curriculum does this school offer?
The school offers the IB curriculum.
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
We would tell parents to visit the school themselves and, if possible, talk to parents whose children are already there.
How have the school’s facilities benefitted your family?
The trip to the sister school in Beijing that my 10-year-old son got to take last year gave the students a wonderful opportunity to use the language they have learned all these years. The school also has typical after-school sports such as soccer and badminton, as well as other offerings like wushu and Chinese calligraphy, which our kids participate in. In addition, the school and parents work together to host regular events throughout the year for our families.
How did the school make your child feel welcome?
It is a very small school, so all of the new students and families are quickly recognised by all of the teachers and staff.
This post is sponsored by Hillside World Academy.