There is a lot to consider when you choose a school for your little one in Singapore. Curriculum, extracurricular activities, teaching staff, but most importantly, that sixth sense connection which says ‘this school is the one’. We have always loved the friendly, inclusive atmosphere at Australian International School Singapore, the only school in Singapore to offer a combination of Australian curriculum and the International Baccalaureate program. This July, AIS is all set to open a state-of-the-art Early Learning Village for students from 18 months to six years. We spoke to Kylee Smith, mum of Brooklyn and Jackson, who has been a part of the AIS community for two years.
Can you tell us about your children attending the school?
We have two children at AIS. Brooklyn, who is almost five, has just started Prep school. She joined AIS as a three-year-old in 2015. Jackson is almost three and is currently in the Koala nursery class.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school in Singapore?
We wanted a school with ties to Australia and the Australian curriculum. It was important that the school offered play-based learning within a nurturing environment. I strongly believe children should be outside playing, painting, getting messy and learning through experiences rather than sitting inside at a desk. In addition, AIS offered a three-day program that we wanted, so that the kids weren’t in full-time school from a young age. From a parent’s perspective, there is something to be said for the ‘feel’ of a place, and AIS felt right from the moment we walked through the door.
How has the school lived up to your expectations?
AIS is an amazing school that offers incredible opportunities to the children. My daughter talks about being involved in yoga, mandarin, violin, drama, art hunts or that an ‘author of an actual real book’ came to read to the class. I can’t believe what a wonderful environment she is immersed in every day. In addition, we are very happy with the incredible community spirit at AIS that helps you navigate life in Singapore.
What do your children like most about attending this school?
When I ask Brooklyn what her favourite thing about school is, her response is simple: ‘Everything’! Jackson’s favourite thing about school was the swimming pool, (which he most definitely has not used yet) but then he went on to say ‘playing with the big diggers’.
What sort of curriculum does this school offer?
AIS offers the Australian Curriculum, which is perfect for us if we go back to Australia at some stage, but it also offers the IB program which gives boundless opportunities to our children if we continue our expat journey elsewhere in the world. In addition to that, the school is part of the Cognita network, which will help our children go to school in many places around the world and transition with relative ease.
Do your children participate in any extra-curricular activities at the school?
Brooklyn has been doing ballet via Petit Ballerinas. It is so convenient because classes are in the campus after school hours. She was even part of a production that the ballet school produced last year in the school theatre. My children are a little too young to have many CCAs right now, but I am excited to give them opportunities to try a wide range of these activities when they are older.
What advice would you give other parents trying to choose a school?
I think it is important to understand your individual child’s needs and find a school that you feel fits best with that. Trust your instincts. If you take a tour, pay attention to how your children interact with the teachers and staff at the school. After all, your child will be the one attending the school once you decide on one.
What do you value most about the school?
An exceptional educational facility for children of all ages with resources, curriculum, opportunities and a community that is second to none.
Are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from the school and how do they engage parents?
Communication is exceptional and comes in many forms. The school regularly shares news about specific classes, school events, activities, and cultural celebrations. The online system ‘Connect’ is a great source of information and we regularly receive links that help us see how our child has been doing in class. Additionally, teachers are very responsive to emails and are always available to talk to parents during the morning drop off and afternoons at pick up times.
How much homework is expected of your children?
My children haven’t had any homework during their time in the Early Years Centre. Brooklyn has just started Prep and the only homework we have so far is a reading journal to log our story time each night.
This post is sponsored by Australian International School.