Kind people create a positive culture, which is exactly why this couple chose St. Joseph’s Institution International School for their boys…
A school is like a child’s second home. Not only do they spend a significant amount of time there, it’s also a place where children learn how to interact with others, and of course, receive a great education. That’s why choosing a school with a strong positive culture was really important for Vanessa and Pete Murray. We spoke to them to find out how they found the perfect school for their boys at St. Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International.
Hi Vanessa and Pete, can you tell us a little about your children?
Both our sons Jock (eight years old) and Blake (five years old) attend SJI International Elementary School. Jock started in Prep 2 and is now in G2; while Blake started this year in Prep 1.
What were the most important factors for you in selecting a school for Jock and Blake?
There were three important factors in selecting a school for our sons:
- The school environment – we wanted a multicultural school, where our boys could meet kids and teachers from all over the world.
- A balanced curriculum with a strong academic core but also with an equal focus on sport and physical education (PE), art, music, and technology.
- A Chinese programme. Our sons have been learning since they were 18 months at their local kindergarten and we wanted a school where they could further their Chinese with regular classes.
What made you finally decide on SJI International Elementary School?
It was meeting the teachers and staff of SJI International Elementary School and seeing their passion for the school. We loved that it was a truly international school, where the boys would have the opportunity to be friends with and learn from kids from all around the world. But it was the teachers and the staff who really made the difference.
What sort of curriculum does the school offer?
The school offers the International Primary Curriculum along with Singapore Maths. Mandarin is taught every day, with wonderful PE, music, Religious and Moral Education, and art programmes rounding it out. Whilst the boys love their interaction with the Technology curriculum, we really like that the school is focused on embedding the foundational building blocks of education and not over-reliant on technology devices. For example, the boys have benefitted so much from things like the Writer’s Workshops, which taught them how to construct a story.
What do Jock and Blake like most about their school?
Jock loves any and all aspects of the PE department, and Blake loves outdoor play. The recent pirate swimming gala has been his highlight. Both boys bound off to school in the morning, eager to see their friends, play, and learn.
How did the school make them feel welcome?
Again, it all comes down to the people. The teachers and staff of SJI International Elementary School are the superheroes showing kindness, friendliness and positivity to the boys, making sure they settle into their respective classes and the community. The people create the culture and that is why we are so happy with SJI International Elementary School.
How have the school facilities benefited your boys?
The school facilities give the boys everything they need and are very well balanced. When we went on our school tour we loved that the learning environments were warm, inviting, and communal. The music room, art room, and outdoor play areas are all great and the fields, swimming pool, and sports hall round out fantastic, and well-balanced facilities that still respect the classroom as most important.
What does the school do in terms of building a community for parents?
The Elementary Parent Support Group committee fosters a wonderful community for parents to be part of. We, unfortunately, have not been able to be at the campus as much as we would have liked during our time at SJI International Elementary School, yet the community still makes a big effort to involve parents in activities such as the school community Global Family Recipe Book and Lockdown Trivia Nights.
Are you satisfied with the level of communication you receive from SJI International Elementary School and how they engage parents?
Yes! During the period of Covid-19 restrictions, whilst we have not been able to be on the physical campus as parents, we feel very connected to our kids, teachers and the broader school community. The introduction of the Seesaw app has allowed us a closer look into the daily school activities which we appreciate.
What do you value most about the school?
The dedicated teaching staff and sense of community the school offers. We really value The Virtues Programme that underpins every aspect of the kids’ life at school and also filters through to their home life and daily communication with us as parents. It has created a common language for all of us. The boys use their Virtues words at home as part of their natural communication with us, and we feel it is genuinely shaping them to be respectful, kind and honest young men.
Here’s a question for the boys: what makes your school a great school?
Because there are lots of wonderful kids, who are very friendly and nobody is left out. The teachers are so joyful and they always make each day different and enjoyable. (from Jock)
Finally, for Vanessa and Pete, what advice would you give other parents in choosing a school for their children?
Choosing a school is such a personal decision. You need to select your school based on your kids’ personalities, their learning needs, what aspects of learning are most important to you and finding the school that best fits with these. Whilst it may be difficult with restrictions, we found huge benefit from campus tours, which gave us a really strong feel of the school culture and community.
This post is in partnership with St. Joseph’s Institution International