Educating your child well is one of the most important job descriptions in a parent’s resume and it’s not hard to see why. After all, you are moulding someone who could be the world’s next Richard Branson, JK Rowling, or Lei Jun (Xiaomi).
That’s why investing in a high quality international education is important because your children are not only equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, they are also given the tools to take what they had learned to an even higher level in the 21st century.
If you are a globally mobile citizen looking for a suitable international school in Singapore for your child, here are some things to look out for:
1. World class educational programme
Educational programmes differ from school to school but in schools like the Canadian International School (CIS), the focus is on the International Baccalaureate (IB) education. This is a continuum of educational programmes that aims to develop “internationally minded young people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.”
What this means is that IB doesn’t depend on rote learning to pass on the knowledge. It encourages students to take ownership of their own learning through inquiry and collaboration via four comprehensive programmes:
- Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students aged 3 to 12
- Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16
- Diploma Programme (DP) and Careers-related Certificate for students aged 16 to 19
Not every school offers the full spectrum of IB educational programmes, but parents who are considering CIS will be happy to know it offers PYP and MYP all the way to IB DP. This means that students will be able to enjoy a seamless educational path from the age of 3 to 19in a stable environment.
2. Learning with STEAM
You may not know this but STEAM stands for:
- S – Science
- T – Technology
- E – Engineering (or Entrepreneurship in CIS’s case)
- A – Arts
- M – Mathematics
These 5 discipline areas complement the school curriculum perfectly as they involve the use of project-based learning that integrates five disciplines and creates an inclusive environment where everyone can learn and contribute at the same time. It complements the IB framework because students are given the opportunity to inquire, collaborate as well as discover connections between the disciplines and the real world.
Take the concept of Pi for example. You might have struggled with it the traditional way back in school but in STEAM, the teacher can introduce the concept through circle art, simple programming or even baking lessons! That’s the beauty of integrating and making practical connections between different disciplines.
And the best thing of all? CIS does all of this in a state-of-the-art STEAM makerspace that’s designed to foster a culture of teamwork, collaboration and design thinking with traditional and cutting-edge machinery.
3. Robust arts programme
STEM used to be just about the hard sciences but with the addition of arts, it evolved into STEAM and has since (in our humble opinion) become more balanced as a result. The reason for it is simple: exploring art in all forms can be the key to nurturing a well-rounded individual who is ready to take on the jobs, challenges and experiences of tomorrow. Here are a few things your child can stand to benefit from a robust arts programme:
- They develop future-ready skills such as observation, innovation, creativity, focus, discipline, collaboration, risk-taking, open-mindedness and confidence— all of which are skills that enable young people to adapt to an ever evolving economy.
- They engage in a full range of body movements that will improve dexterity and ultimately their overall physical fitness through artistic activities such as dancing and acting on stage.
- They pick up valuable linguistic skills that will serve them well in the job market ahead.
- It increases the impact of learning for visual-spatial learners.
With so many benefits, don’t you agree that arts round out your child’s education perfectly? If you are looking for a school that offers a strong arts programme, then be sure to choose one that teaches arts in a two-pronged approach: curricular/classroom experience and extracurricular activities like theatre productions.
4. Promotes bilingualism/multilingualism
As the world economy evolves and blurs boundaries, the need to acquire competence in more than one language has become even more pertinent. In fact, there are many amazing benefits to being multilingual (or at least bilingual) that we don’t even know where to begin from. Nevertheless, here are some of the top benefits:
- Better attention span and ability to multitask
- Faster stroke recovery and lower stress levels
- Cognitive benefits that enhance the impact of learning
- Language skills, which are highly valued in the global economy
- Encourages open-mindedness
- Makes travelling to different countries more enjoyable and opens up new social opportunities
- Helps in learning a new language
With such good reasons to be bilingual/multilingual, why not go for an international school that has not one but two bilingual programmes? One of the first international schools in Singapore to offer the Chinese-English bilingual programme (and subsequently the French-English bilingual programme), CIS ensures that students have an equal exposure to Chinese/French and English with the support of two separate native speaking teachers for each language. There is no translation or repetition, so students are fully immersed in learning English and a second language.
5. Diverse school population
According to studies like this research from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), enrolling your child in a racially diverse schools is a good idea because it:
- Improves students’ skills in cognition, leadership, problem solving, analytical thinking and communication
- Promotes social cohesion and reduces prejudice
- Prepares students to succeed in a global economy
- Creates meaningful relationships between people from different racial and ethnic groups
- Provides opportunities for tolerance, open-mindedness and cross-cultural dialogue that are beneficial for society in general
Sounds good, right? CIS, for instance, has over 80 nationalities across two campuses at Lakeside and Tanjong Katong so its students are definitely in good hands.
The above list may not be exhaustive, but we hope that it will help ease your headache as you search for a suitable international school in Singapore so all the best!