Did you know that GEMS World Academy (Singapore) is the first and only international school in SG that offers all four International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes from Kindergarten to Grade 12?
It is! That includes the Primary Years, Middle Years, Diploma and Career-related Programmes. In addition, students in Grades 9 and 10 can complete the internationally recognised Cambridge IGCSE course and examinations.
And, get this: GEMS has just opened the doors to its brand-new Design Centre, which is fully equipped with the latest in technologies in the field of design, where students are inspired to think outside the box – or simply build a better box! Beyond that, the school’s unique offerings allow students to fast-track their creative and even aviation careers.
Fascinating, forward-thinking, fun – all of these things come to mind when you step into this cool new space at GEMS’s five-hectare campus in Yishun. “Before, this space was a dark dungeon underneath the school’s football pitch,” shares Design Subject Leader Patrick Lawther-Heard. “Now, it’s a state-of-the-art design lab empowering children to use their creativity to change the world for the better.”
Which isn’t to say the Design Centre is all sleek and shiny. As you can see in the video, The Design Library and Artefacts area is intentionally cosy, with sofas, moulded lounge chairs and bean bag chairs for students to sit and discuss projects or ponder the purpose of good design. Likewise, the tall, industrial-style tables were built by Patrick himself to add a bit of rustic charm to the Design Centre.
“I want my students to not just moan and groan about something that isn’t right or doesn’t work,” shares Patrick, who previously taught in the U.K. and Africa. “Instead, I want them to think, ‘How can I make it better?’”
He and the team of design teachers at GEMS instruct students on proper technique to use the various tools and technologies available in the Design Centre, including Modelling, Textile, Woodworks, Metalworks, Hotworks, Graphics, Plastic Thermoforming plus other CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) Machines. Whenever students design a product, he says, they must always have a “client” to consult.
Not surprisingly, all of the teachers are sticklers for student safety, requiring students to wear goggles and aprons on certain machines as well as doing drills with the emergency stop buttons, which automatically stop all machines in the room.
“The days of starving artists are over!” enthuses Secondary Years Deputy Principal Jonathan Cox, who you can hear more from in the video. “Through our partnership with SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design, students can pursue 9 design tracks – in Digital Media, Interactive Design and others – and finish 15 to 20 university credits by the end of Grade 12.”
SCAD’s Hong Kong campus has an employment on graduation rate of 100 percent and its U.S. campuses are only a couple of points behind. That means that every single student who walks the Graduation ceremony in Hong Kong already has a job. Its recently introduced Major in User Experience (UX) is graduating students into six-figure salaries, Deputy Principal Jonathan shares.
In addition, GEMS has announced a new partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for its Grade 11 and 12 students following the IB Career-related Programme. They can take advantage of university-level courses and credits in Aeronautics, Aeronautical Engineering and Aviation Business Administration, and complete their university freshman year while still at high school!
As a truly international school with more than 60 nationalities, GEMS (Singapore) prides itself on preparing students for success at university and life beyond. It is part of the world-leading GEMS Education group, and aims to blend a caring, child-focused environment with cutting-edge facilities. Bonus: GEMS (Singapore) has a low student-teacher ratio and globally experienced, passionate teaching faculty.
“It’s our job as teachers to teach not just about design, but to teach about life and ethics,” says Design Subject Leader Patrick. Examples in the Design Artefacts – from Dyson vacuum cleaners and old iMacs to shoes made from rubber tires – are there to pique students’ interest in what is intelligent design and what is their responsibility to this planet and society.
To that point, Patrick and the design teachers encourage recycling through Plastic Thermoforming, Woodworks, Metalworks, Hotworks and more. He even notes, “All of the Styrofoam for hot-wiring sculpting [shown here] is recycled from packaging, or pieces I’ve scavenged from around the school!”
If you’d like to tour GEMS in Singapore or see the Design Centre for yourself, call the number below or find out about the school’s next Open House.
GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
2 Yishun St 42, 768039
Tel: 6808 7300
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