When selecting an international school for their children, expatriate families should consider what type of curriculum the school adopts. There are a number of different types of curriculum, which range from play-based learning to structured curriculum, as well as country-specific learning. It is also important to consider things such as the convenience of location, how easy it will be for children to make friends and what extra opportunities are available, such as sports, trips and extracurricular activities. Combining these things will ensure that children are getting the most holistic education possible.
International schools in Singapore have the freedom and flexibility to decide which curriculum they choose to align with. The most popular options available are detailed below, the first 3 of which are available for children up to age 6.
Montessori schools cultivate early learning by promoting children’s intrinsic motivation and self-discipline, with an emphasis on values such as kindness and self-respect. Teachers harness children’s natural curiosity by integrating their interests into the curriculum and encouraging an independent exploration of their environments. The teachers are highly trained and will offer age-appropriate opportunities, activities and support to guide the children. Children are able to make creative choices about their learning, and the classroom environment is beautifully crafted to support this. Montessori classrooms support all aspects of a child’s development by creating links between the child’s natural interest and the available activities. This helps them to build a foundation for lifelong learning and skill development. Children gain a deeper understanding of subjects such as mathematics, language, nature, science, social interactions, communication, music and much more.
Reggio Emilia schools take a highly-versatile approach that can be adapted to the particular needs of schools and communities. Their curriculum focuses on hands-on learning and social collaboration, providing plenty of outdoor for children to explore their own interests. It takes the view that young children are inquisitive and curious about the world that they live in, and by harnessing this within their education, it gives them a much greater learning potential. Teachers give children a huge range of schooling opportunities and expose them to a range of experiences which encourages communication, self-expression, critical and logical thinking, problem-solving and much more. The topics are shaped around the children’s interests and encourage learning through exploration.
Singapore National - Nurturing Early Learners
The NEL uses a kindergarten structure to emphasise a holistic development for children, by nurturing their confidence and laying a solid foundation for their ongoing learning. Teachers use this structure to encourage children to relate well to others and know the difference between right and wrong. They also practice healthy and nutritional lifestyle habits, explore their environment, and communicate with a level of understanding relative to their years. While this model includes teacher-facilitated learning, there is enough flexibility for educators to customise the curriculum according to students' needs and interests. The curriculum helps to develop children’s competencies that are relevant to the 21st century. It helps to equip them for lifelong learning while supporting their curiosity and confidence.
International Primary Curriculum
This thematic framework establishes specific learning goals for children aged between 5 and 11 years old, promoting personalised learning, creativity and open-mindedness. There is a strong focus on embracing integration and multiculturalism. There are 80 different themes of learning which are all child friendly and support children in their development. They include modern-day topics and themes that work to engage the children and make learning exciting. These themes run through different topics, allowing children to remain motivated when learning subjects such as geography, mathematics, science and language. The children learn how they all relate and integrate together. There will be many different types of learning, such as role play, teamwork, project-based work and home learning. The learning goals allow teachers to clearly distinguish different areas of children’s learning such as knowledge, understanding, communication and skills.
Intended for students aged between 3 and 19 years old, the International Baccalaureate Programme supports all aspects of child development and offers a trans-disciplinary approach with a challenging and engaging curriculum. This framework equips students with the skills and knowledge to pursue higher education and rewarding careers at prestigious Universities. Throughout the programme, children reflect their learning through theory, creativity, practical activity and academic study.
Among exploring the excellent schools Singapore offers international families, parents should consider their longer-term plans, and whether they plan to return to their home country in the near future. If so, they may opt for a schooling curriculum which aligns with their respective home country; country-specific curricula available in Singapore include American, Australian, German, French, Indian and British. For a lot of parents who expect to stay 1-2 years in Singapore before they repatriate, it makes more sense to choose a national curriculum so their children can return home without having any gaps in their education that could be problematic down the road.
For families that are highly mobile, it may be an advantage to send their children to a school with an internationally recognised curriculum, such as the IB PYP, IGCSE or IB DP.
To put this into perspective, there are now 5,284 schools offering IB programmes across 158 countries. And this number will only continue to grow.
So even if you return to your home country after joining an IB school, your child can easily pick up where they left off at an IB school back home (or anywhere else in the world).
Because these curricula are globally accepted and recognised, you can rest assured that no matter where your next destination takes you, your child’s education will not be disrupted in any way.
At OWIS we can support your child throughout this type of learning and guide them through the varied curricula options. We have students from all over the world and our main goal is to support them in whatever route they choose to take.
Interested in how OWIS can be a part of your child's growth and development?