The big move to Singapore is around the corner! You are about to take off and set up home in a foreign country with your children in tow. Naturally then, finding good international schools in Singapore for them ranks high on the agenda.
You prowl the internet for more information, speak to other expat friends in hopes of hearing some good recommendations and invest many dedicated hours in the search for the dream international school. But as you receive more information, you also realise that the search is not necessarily getting any easier!
All that, however, can change when you start conducting your search in a more purposeful and focused manner; it is important for you to concretise your own expectations if you want to arrive at a decision about a school before you arrive at your destination!
Download our free decision making guide to make your search for the right international school easier.
Start with your child’s needs
Not all children are created the same (thankfully!) and what that also means is that there is no such thing as the best international school. Change your focus instead to what is the best fit for your child. Think about what your child’s learning style is like. Are they fast-paced learners? Do they seem to be better engaged through play-based learning? Also, consider their inclinations towards certain things like sports, arts, languages etc. and look for schools that offer opportunities for them to explore these further.
It is also important to take your child’s personality into account when looking for the right school. For instance, some children tend to be more vocal and forthcoming in smaller group settings and it could be counter-productive to place them in a huge school with big classes. Similarly, there are children who are not highly adaptable to new environments and in such cases, it is necessary to keep a lookout for schools that have initiatives to address such needs.
Examine what a good school experience means to you
Even before you start consuming the sea of information out there about international schools, start off with some introspection! What does a meaningful school experience look like to you? What are the values you would like to see the school inculcating in your children? What are some things you would absolutely not tolerate about a school? On top of good academic standards, what kind of enrichment activities do you believe will create a holistic school life? What kind of community do you want your child to grow up in (Tip: follow a school’s social media footprint to get interesting insights into the community life)?
There are international schools that offer a choice between International Baccalaureate (IB) and a national curriculum while there are others that focus singularly on the IB curriculum. There are also schools that offer the IB curriculum in languages other than English. When picking a curriculum, consider what will benefit your child best in view of the foreseeable future– will your family be moving back home eventually or will there be more globetrotting? It also helps to find out whether there are additional academic programmes that could be of value to your child in the long run. For example, at GESS, IB students can enroll in a German language diploma programme that gives them easy access to German universities.
At the end of the day, each international school out there has something to offer! But it is key that you consider these offerings within the larger context of your child's needs, your own expecations and future plans to find the one where your child will thrive best.