Surprise! This Boutique International School In Singapore Uses CREATIVITY To Prepare Students For Life BEYOND School

Sustainability, empathy, critical-thinking — at The Grange Institution, these are more than just buzzwords. They are core to its philosophy and curriculum. Read on about its super-cool end-of-semester showcase!
13 August 2019

One of the best parts of enrolling your child at a new international school in Singapore?

The class sizes tend to be smaller. Meaning? Your little one gets much more personalised attention from teachers and staff.

That is the case at The Grange Institution, which opened the doors to its leafy Yio Chu Kang campus in April 2018. (Read more about those early days here.)

Currently, the boutique primary school’s student-to-teacher ratio is less than 10 to 1 — and you can see the results in the level of engagement and excitement of its young students!

There’s no better example of this than its Creative Expressions showcase, which culminates at the end of each semester. The school-wide project involves students of all ages and grades, from 6 to 9 years old and spanning Years 1A, 1B, 2 and, in the coming school year, 3.

Why is the showcase so special? As part of The Grange’s Cambridge school curriculum, it focuses on three key forms of creative expression — literacy (including creative writing) plus visual and performing arts. Through it all, the showcase imparts inspiring lessons about environmentally-conscious practices.

“As a relatively new, intentionally small school, we are able to experiment with different ways to teach kids how to express their creativity,” says Ronald Stones OBE (Director of Schools). “We integrate as many elements as possible into our biannual showcases.”

Because Creativity Matters

Starting with a literacy unit that spans five weeks, students at The Grange Institution are tasked to compose a play, drawing inspiration from a specific picture book – most recently, it was Bamberina, the Turtle. Classroom teachers guide the early learners through this process, meant to expose them to both creative writing and global issues like ocean pollution. (See more about the students writing efforts about Bamberina here!)

Then, to help the students turn their script into a live performance for families, the school brings in a drama professional. Over five weeks, she introduces the students to the basics of stagecraft and theatre, from what it means to “enter stage left” to proper speech techniques like projecting and enunciating words. While some students are given the opportunity to narrate the story, others are assigned roles portraying various sea creatures.

This is where things get really interesting! The drama pro and teachers don’t dictate or explain how the different animals should act. Instead, students are encouraged to research the movements of their specific animal, be it a sideways-walking crab or a roving shark. “We allow our students to take ownership in learning through research, and are given the creative freedom to develop their own characters,” shares Ronald Stones OBE (Director of Schools). In the end, every character is a unique creation of the student actor him- or herself!

Teaching Sustainability through Art

In about week 4 of the drama unit, students start to design props for the play. Again, students are given the freedom of expression to imagine what set features they’d need to create an under-the-sea world.

Teachers use this as an opportunity to incorporate the school’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include the importance of reusing, reducing and recycling disposable materials. “By using recycled materials to make the props, students learn they can create beautiful things from used items,” says Ronald Stones OBE (Director of Schools), who shares that many families at The Grange happily bring in their own properly cleaned recyclables from home.

For the most recent showcase, students chose to paint cardboard tubes in vivid colours to represent various types of coral. Another “aww!”-inspiring example: Students designed sea turtle “egg” hats out of papier-mache, which they then used to depict Bamberina’s baby turtle hatchlings.

They’re Just Getting Started!

Going forward, the school plans to integrate even more creative forms such as musical performance. The goal? Create original melodies and sound effects for future showcases! And, while the Grange currently offers keyboard instruction, the children will be challenged to create music or sound effects without using only traditional instruments. For a rainforest-themed play, for example, they’ll be encouraged to use recyclable materials to mimic the sound of insects or the wind through trees. Further on, The Grange plans to introduce digital elements into its showcases.

At the end of the day, it’s not about how children score on standardised tests or their grades, it’s about their quality of character – and The Grange Institution takes this role very seriously.

“We believe that providing an inclusive and cohesive environment allows our future generations to have a holistic education,” says Ronald Stones, OBE, Director of Schools.

Contact the caring team at The Grange Institution today to learn more or take a school tour!

The Grange Institution
449 Yio Chu Kang Rd, 805946
Tel: 6817 3630

By Melodi Ghui, August 2019 

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More on The Finder:
The Finder Kids’ DEFINITIVE Guide To Top International Schools In Singapore
Find Out How This NEW International Primary School In Singapore Makes SUSTAINABILITY Anything But Boring!
This International School Provides An ENRICHING Experience Like NO Other In Singapore

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