To walk into EtonHouse International School @ Orchard is to walk into a school of the future… today.
Here, Year 8, 9 and 10 Spanish-language students take quizzes on their laptops, as a teacher scores answers – in real-time – using a touch-screen TV in front of the class. In lieu of typical chairs, many of the classrooms feature large bean bags and cosy sofas and armchairs. Throughout the school, you’ll find fully equipped, visually appealing MakerSpace and Science Labs, Art and Music Studios and other purpose-built spaces.
“I like all of our campus, but my favourite room is the MakerSpace Lab,” shares Principal Alec Jiggins, who has worked in international schools for more than 14 years, and is originally from the UK (fun fact: He recently moved to SG from Ecuador). “As an adult, I enjoy tinkering, and I know that students do, too. The MakerSpace Lab encourages project-based learning, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving, and develops resilience.”
Intrigued yet? Then, watch this exclusive video about EtonHouse @ Orchard’s innovative campus. After, check out the gallery below to learn more about the school’s cutting-edge approach to learning as well as its caring, tight-knit community.
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Located in the heart of the city, EtonHouse International School @ Orchard is the only international school set right on Singapore’s famed shopping stretch. Not surprisingly, many children arrive at school using public transportation, as it is convenient to the Orchard Road MRT station and multiple bus stops.
The 19,000-square-foot campus has a distinct boutique feel, with clever space-saving features like sliding “walls” between the Music Studio, Black Box Theatre and The Piazza gathering area. An escalator connects the first and second levels, and the sleek, light-filled Art Studio (shown here) maximises the space underneath it.
“As a city campus where space is a premium, EtonHouse @ Orchard’s capacity will be capped around 300 students,” says Jolene Lee, International Brand and Marketing Manager for EtonHouse International Education Group. “We pride ourselves on our level of personalised care and attention – the student is at the heart of what we do.”
To achieve this, the class sizes are kept quite small – with a maximum class size of 20 students for Year 1, 24 students for Years 2 to 6 and 25 students for Year 7 and up. The teacher-student ratio is currently 1:7.
“EtonHouse believes in giving our students a voice,” says Jolene. So, prior to building this new campus, its management team sought out opinions of students from EtonHouse International School @ Broadrick – asking them how they would want to learn in preparation for the future.
The result? EtonHouse @ Orchard is the students’ and staff’s “dream” school, full of many SMART Learning Spaces, designed to nurture children’s creativity and critical-thinking skills.
Just take the classrooms – with names like Campfire, Mountain Top (shown here) and Boardroom (shown above). They simulate real-world environments (e.g., campfire story-telling, board meetings) and stimulate collaboration while boosting self-confidence.
“The students from EtonHouse Broadrick who designed the classrooms are currently our Year 9 and Year 10 students in EtonHouse @ Orchard!” says Jolene, who notes that its Primary students will soon have the chance to paint the back garden. “The school set-up is very much a collaboration between the staff and students.”
Like many international schools, EtonHouse @ Orchard offers the respected Cambridge IGCSE programme. “However, we have chosen to develop the programme over three years, using a project based approach,” explains Principal Alec. “Traditionally, the programme is delivered over two years, with a teacher-led pedagogy. Our approach enables students to prioritise certain subjects and perhaps sit those subject exams earlier than Year 11.”
In addition, EtonHouse @ Orchard has organised its IGCSE pathways to match the subject groupings of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma – “so that students are well prepared in each of the groups,” Alec points out. (This is his favourite MakerSpace Lab shown here.)
For parents of preschool- and Primary-aged children, take note: EtonHouse @ Orchard is officially a candidate school for the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), and on its way to becoming a fully authorized PYP school within the next two to three years. (Just FYI, EtonHouse already has 9 IB World Schools in its fold.)
Beyond its cutting-edge facilities and world-first curriculum, EtonHouse @ Orchard finds ways to bring fun and meaning into every school day. Its performing arts programme is holistic – music instruction is woven into the curriculum (and the music teacher plays the drums!). And, for what it lacks in big sports facilities, it makes up for in enviable fitness experiences, such as taking students to Centaurs sports park. Its in-house Fitness Centre (shown here) boasts a climbing wall and provides opportunities for students to do MMA, TRX, Pilates, boxing, bouldering and more.
“We also have ECAs like cross country and football, where the students have opportunities to go outdoors to exercise and expend their energy,” says Jolene.
Meanwhile, Principal Alec is a big fan of the students’ regular Culture Cafe performances. “Culture Cafe is about showcasing student learning, and what makes it special is that the students choose how they want to show their learning,” he explains. “Research into project-based learning – the approach we use at Orchard – shows that when students engage with an authentic audience, they can see a relevance and purpose for their work and it motivates them to higher standards.”
Though EtonHouse @ Orchard has only been in operation since March 2018, it’s already known for its friendly vibe. For instance, it’s not uncommon to see teachers and students playing foosball or table tennis together! (Also, watch this fun video about students on their first day of school this year.)
Like all of EtonHouse’s schools, much attention is paid to cultivating a caring community. “We ensure that every child is fully equipped with the learning tools that they need to maximise their potential, the interpersonal relationships needed to flourish and the personalised approach so that their voice is heard,” says Jolene. “This results in engaged, all-rounded learners who in turn, grow to become confident and articulate world citizens.”
Currently, EtonHouse @ Orchard enrolls Primary Y1-6 on up to Secondary Y7-11. The tuition fees start at $27,480 per year (inclusive of GST) for the Primary years.
By Sara Lyle Bow, October 2018