Monday, July 30, 2007

Back to School

I can't remember what I even typed before, but let me start by saying that there are a ton of wonderful private schools in Singapore. However, almost all of them have waiting lists. Schools that have never had waiting lists in Singapore before suddenly have waiting lists because of the recent influx of expats. I knew we couldn't get into the top tier schools, but there were still some interesting ones available.

I had personally narrowed our search down to two schools. Both are International schools and follow the IB system, which integrates learning more and focuses on the whole child -- it really sounds like a lovely teaching method. Both schools have children from 40-60 countries. One of them even limits the amount of children enrolled to 30% from each nation.

So, time for the visits! We drive up to the smaller of the two schools and I am pretty sure it is a good 10 mintues before I start breathing. Shabby doesn't quite explain the school. On my off day I would call it a dump to be kind. It reminds me of schools I saw in Belize. The only enclosed areas are the classrooms. All the halls and stairways are open to the outside. It is made of concrete then painted, but the paint isn't very fresh. I feel like we have about as many books as the school's library. It is lacking most all the facilities that a lot of the other schools have like a gym and a pool. They don't even have a cafeteria there -- the kids eat in the classroom. It did have a computer lab though. Most unfortunate is that the person who showed us around did a really poor job of explaining the school. I think if a teacher had been there she would have been able to make us feel more comfortable. The experience was so far from what I expected that I hardly knew what questions to ask.

I have an online friend that LOVES the school. She has two girls that go there now and a third starting in the fall. Tonight we are eating dinner with them so I look forward to hearing more about the school from her perspective since this is the only school with spots available for Jonathan AND Lindsay. It is also a very small school -- only three classes per grade.

Next door to this school is another school that is huge -- 3400 students. There are about 10 classes per grade, but it is also very international and follows the IB program, too. While it was also a shocker to visit, it wasn't quite a shabby as ISS. Still a bit of a dump though. They don't have availability at the moment, but we are on the waiting list. My other friend from home has her kids attending there in the fall.

The American School is out-of-this world. So fabulous that we haven't planned on visiting. We said that we wanted to put our children in a more international school and didn't want to be swayed by the glitz and glam of the American School. The school is also very large (13 classes per grade) and located at the top of the island -- far in Sing terms from where we plan to live.

While we were both floored by the schools we visited, Jason seems to be having a harder time. I'm going to talk to people I know who attend the schools to get a better idea of the education compared to the facilities. Now that the shock has worn off, I think the two small schools are kind of fun and campy. I may be interested in putting Jonathan in the large school (once he could get in) and Lindsay in the smaller school. They are right next door to each other. Lots to think about!

update -- btw these schools are about $10,000 a year
We found out that the American School is 70% American -- just not international enough for us

Three different schools


Anonymous Barbara said...


I'm reading these in order, so you may already be feeling lots better about the small schools after having dinner with a family that can tell you all about it.

Cheers that you're so able to see the good and to go with the flow!! I love campy!

Hugs - Barbara :D

10:18 AM  

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