Choosing a School in Singapore

We have two children, 10 and 9 years old respectively, and choosing their school was one of our top priorities. It is very likely we jumped the gun on this one (much like rehoming the pets) but we were nervous the schools would fill up and there wouldn’t be space for us. I mean, really, there’s no question about it. We did jump the gun on this one because as it currently stands my children have been enrolled in an international Singapore school since about June. It’s December. Despite our inability to be patient we did manage to do a fair amount of research though it was made easier for two reasons: 1. We are moving as United States government employees and as such the tuition is paid for and, 2. We made a connection almost from day one with a woman who has similarly aged children and lives in Singapore as an expat. Our Singapore contact (and dare I say, first new friend) was very helpful in listing some of the International American schools she was familiar with along with their relative location.

There are 64 International schools to choose from in Singapore and all of them have impressively high ratings. To be honest, you’re looking at two parents who were products of public schools and figure you make of it what you will…in other words, we never considered where to send the girls to school because it was always going to be the public school for where we live. Needless to say, the number of schools available to expats is a bit overwhelming. For us, choosing a school with an American curriculum was important because we have every intention of moving back to the states. There are also Canadian, English, French, Australian, Indian, etc. international schools.

Singapore has five types of what I would define as “public schools:” Government schools, government aided schools, independent schools, specialised independent schools, and specialised schools. I do not know what the difference between them is but if you’re curious, check out this link: The Singaporean school system is administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE). From what I could gather it is complicated as a non-Singaporean to apply and be accepted into the public school system and I’m not even sure it was an option for us.

Another factor we had to consider was the location of the school. Singapore itself is not a very large country (281 square miles to be exact) but we didn’t want our kiddos traveling for hours to and from school. In the end, this consideration went out the window when we realized we weren’t going to know exactly where we would be living. We actually won’t know where we will be living until a few months after our arrival due to a lack of housing within the embassy’s pool.

In the end, we left it to the girls to make the final decision between the two schools Marcus and I had chosen. They chose the school with a rainforest as part of its campus, and I do not blame them. Even if it turns out to just be a fantasy, I’m sure the idea of sharing a common space with monkeys and other animals of the rainforest is very enticing. One thing I cannot wait for is that they will be wearing uniforms. I may have unrealistic high hopes that this will solve the “I have nothing to wear conundrum” that our 9-year-old, going on 15-year-old, experiences every morning before school.

Published by Lauren Tepaske

I am a full-time mom and wife with a penchant for writing a humorous point-of-view of daily life.

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