When it comes to selecting an international school, it has become necessary for parents to consider more than the location of the school. Singapore has a significant number of international schools, providing a wide range of curricular. It can sometimes be overwhelming for parents to determine which system is best suited for their children, and why. Before deciding on the curriculum to use, it is important for parents to appreciate what the different international school curricular entails, and the impact it will have on students.
The Montessori curriculum is an education system that focuses on the independence of the children. Students who use this curriculum get involved in activities that enable them to learn through experience. Whatever their age, the students get to choose the activity they prefer. They are encouraged to explore, work independently, and to be creative as individuals, and as part of a group.
This system of education follows the innate interest of the children. This means that the framework keeps changing based on the changing need of the student population. The lessons this system is integrated with include language, maths, communication, science, dance, art, and music.
An expatriate who has school-going children moving from the United States to Singapore will naturally consider the American curriculum over the others offered in other international schools because they seek continuity, especially for children transferring from schools in the US. Additionally, children to adjust better to a system they are familiar with.
The international schools using the American curriculum follow the framework given by the Overseas Schools Advisory Council and The United States State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools. This is done to ensure there is consistency in all schools using this curriculum anywhere in the world, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Universities in Canada and the US recognize the American High School Diploma.
This system of education, specifically the high school level, allows students some freedom when it comes to choosing some of their courses based on their interests and strength. Classes below Grade 10 have a set course which students must follow but contribute significantly to their personal and educational growth.
This curriculum, like all the other country-specific systems, is perfect for Australians relocating to Singapore, or those that expect to move to Australia in the future. This curriculum caters for children in the foundation years of their education up to Year 10. The disciplines this curriculum covers include English, Science, Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education, and Languages.
The Australian Curriculum aims to improve literacy, numeracy, communication, technology capability, creative and critical thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural and ethical understanding of the students.
The French nationals predominantly use the French curriculum. This is primarily because of the language challenge. The French curriculum has two levels. Level one covers children from nursery to elementary school. Level two covers lower secondary and upper secondary.
Level 1 includes the acquisition of knowledge from the children, considering some of them are below six years of age. The students are also expected to get skills through lifelong learning leading to success later in life. The priority areas in this curriculum are French and mathematics. Other subjects include science and information technology, history and geography, sport, art, and foreign languages.
From the age of 11, students enter level 2. This is Lower Secondary School (Le College) where students are expected to gain more knowledge and skills. Once the students get to Upper Secondary School (Le Lycee), they have the option to follow the general and technological path (voie generale et technologique) or the vocational path (voie professionnelle).
The German curriculum, just like the French curriculum, is favored by German nationals moving to Singapore, or those intending to continue with the system when they relocate to German universities. Kindergarten is option for children between the age of two and six years. Grundschule is a compulsory level for students between six and ten years. From secondary school, the German education system gets a little complex.
There are five different schools that students can attend for their secondary education. The Gymnasium where Year 12/13 students seat the Abitur final exam, the Realschule, the Gesamtschule, the Hauptschule (vocational education), and Forderschulen/Sonderschulen. Students who intend to go to German Universities must sit the Abitur examination. If vocational or apprenticeship is an option a student is interested in, the Duale Ausbildung is an option such a student should explore.
Before enrolling a child to an education system, it is essential for parents to consider the content of the curriculum, and the plans they have for the advanced levels of education levels.