Your “little baby” is growing up, and you’re looking for a nursery school, preschool or kindergarten to start his or her education off in the best way possible.
Singapore has two world-class options: the Australian International School (AIS) or the Stamford American International School. Both offer the globally recognised International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) as well as foreign language instruction, music enrichment, exclusive physical education and more.
It couldn’t get much better, right?
Well, consider this: A brand-new, $200-million Early Learning Campus – purpose-built by the two international schools – is set to open in July 2017.
The Early Learning Campus is truly custom-made for children aged 18 months to 6 years – every detail has been poured over by the schools in conjunction with award-winning design practice Bogle Architects and other academic experts.
The campus will be a flexible, environmentally sensitive space that allows both AIS and Stamford American to operate independently, yet enjoy the economy of scale that joining resources allows.
Specifically, this new 50,000-square-foot campus will contain five buildings, two for AIS students and three for Stamford American students, with each building sub-divided into four-classroom clusters called “peanuts.” Each classroom in these peanuts will have its own dedicated outdoor space accessed by a child-sized door.
The design team’s goal? To make the buildings “feel small, curious and playful – just like its occupants,” explains Ian Bogle, the founder of Bogle Architects.
Similarly, other collaborators, such as Professor of Environmental-Behaviour Studies at Sydney University Gary Moore, have contributed living “green walls” to bring the outside into the classrooms, while collaborator Rosie Long, a Reggio Emilia Early Years Education specialist from the UK, has recommended features like child-height windows so inquisitive children can look out at their surroundings.
The upcoming Early Learning Campus will boast the following features:
– Large outdoor play decks comprising sandpits, bike tracks and water play facilities
– Wide-open, indoor, air-conditioned spaces with lots of room for running, dancing, tumbling and more
– A UV-covered, 22-metre swimming suite with horizontal young swimmers’ lanes and in-water resting benches (family and friends can even relax and watch from an observation deck!)
– Libraries, specialist Inquiry Centres, dance studios with childheight ballet barre, music rooms and more facilities – all designed with young learners in mind
At the Early Learning Campus, there will be more than 2,100 students in total and 400 support staff. The two schools will share various facilities like an indoor hall called The Hive and a 22-metre, young learners swimming pool.
But, as you might imagine, the AIS and Stamford American students will continue to wear their respective school uniforms, and the two schools will follow their separate Southern Hemisphere AUS curriculum (AIS) and Northern Hemisphere US curriculum (Stamford American) with different holiday schedules.
In addition, there will be separate entrances and drop-off points for each school’s students.
Want to peek at the Early Learning Campus now? Prospective students and parents are encouraged to visit a display pod classroom located across from Stamford American’s main campus.
AIS has a specialist Early Years curriculum for children aged 18 months to 5 years, which includes daily maths and Mandarin. Musical literacy is developed through the Orff Musical Literacy Program, and the school’s weekly speech and drama programme inspires confidence and creativity in its students.
All Early Years students at AIS enjoy a weekly Physical Education lesson through the celebrated SMART Steps programme, designed to enhance key movement patterns essential for little ones’ successful brain and body development.
AIS Principal Andre Casson says, “We feel that no two children are the same in their learning style and rate of development. Our inquiry-based Reggio Emilia approach extends beyond teaching and into how we reflect on each child’s growth, ensuring that teachers observe each child carefully and provide valuable insight to parents through fortnightly learning reflections.”
At Stamford American, children from 18 months can choose from either daily Mandarin or Spanish lessons and participate in specialist Physical Education under the SMART Steps programme. From age 3, children enjoy weekly lessons with the world-renowned Suzuki Violin programme.
While both Stamford American and AIS are grounded in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), the Stamford American approach integrates Units of Inquiry Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Innovation, in which everyday moments are connected to discovery learning.
Stamford American Superintendent Dr. Eric Sands says, “The Stamford American aim has always been for our students to achieve more than they believe they can, it academically or as citizens of our globalised world. To further drive their ability and potential to learn, we are excited to offer our students a new unique, world-class learning environment.”
By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder, December 2016
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