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25 January 2019

Language learning at AIS in Singapore

Published by Jessica Anne Tay

Students at the Australian International School in Singapore benefit from a robust international curriculum and a diverse global perspective that encourages children to explore and embrace the world around them. A key element of this curriculum is the global languages program, which allows AIS students to develop fluency in a foreign language and a deeper connection to world cultures.

Benefits of global language learning

Research has proven that children who learn a second language at a young age:

Improve their overall academic performance, outperform non-bilingual peers on standardized tests, and reinforce skills in core subjects such as mathematics, social sciences, and reading.

Build new language skills and achieve fluency sooner and more easily than tweens and teenagers.

Boost their brain development – bilingualism is even thought to play a role in preventing cognitive decline caused by aging and the early onset of dementia.

Strengthen their understanding of how all language works, which can help improve their native language skills.

Improve their memory and listening skills.

Often make better decisions, have better career prospects, and enjoy a higher standard of living as adults.

Connect to a global community and develop a broader, more inclusive worldview.

Why Mandarin?

Many international schools in Singapore offer foreign language instruction in Mandarin Chinese, and the Australian International School is pleased to be among them.

It can be difficult for expat children to feel at home in a new country and culture. Learning the native language can help significantly and Mandarin is one of Singapore's four official languages, alongside English, Tamil, and Malay. At AIS, children will become fluent in a language that will connect them to the community where they live. Your child will be able to navigate his or her neighbourhood and the city at large with increasing confidence and ease as they work toward proficiency in Mandarin.

As China continues to become a global force, with a growing population and economy, learning Mandarin will be incredibly advantageous for your child. Mandarin is China's main dialect and the common language spoken by numerous companies who do business in and with China. Fluency in Mandarin is expected to be a major selling point for employers, both now and well into the future.

Why English?

Nearly 400 million people all over the world speak English, the official language of more than 50 countries, including Singapore, and one of the most widely spoken languages globally. Fluency in English ensures your child can gain better access to careers in the sciences, technology, diplomacy or aviation, helps prepare your child for a future at any number of multinational companies, and offers understanding of a broader range of websites, books, films and other media.

For secondary students at AIS, proficiency in English is also a key component of the International Student University Preparation Program, which readies students for higher education at universities across the globe.

The AIS language curriculum

Students at AIS begin learning Mandarin at two-year-olds in the Nursery program. Our dedicated specialist teachers will guide your child through fun, interactive daily lessons full of songs, games and stories. As your child grows and becomes more confident in his or her Mandarin fluency and retention, the lessons build in intensity to help your child stay focused and engaged throughout the elementary school years.

Secondary students have the opportunity to expand their language learning from Years 6 through 12. AIS students at this level can choose to continue their study of Mandarin, or they can elect to begin studies in French, Spanish, or Indonesian (Bahasa).

For non-native English speakers, AIS offers a well-supported, intensive study of English as an Additional Language (EAL). In this program, students are grouped based on their English proficiency and receive specialized instruction tailored to their specific needs. The goal of the EAL program is to give students sufficient short-term skills in English so they can quickly integrate into academic and social life at AIS, with the aim of eventually building fluency so they can participate successfully in the mainstream classroom without EAL support.

Beyond high-quality instruction, your child will also benefit from a strong focus on the unique cultures associated with the languages we teach. Holidays and celebrations are integrated into language learning, and our secondary students are given the opportunity to experience the culture and practice their skills in person during overseas immersion trips.

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Australian International School, Singapore

The Australian International School is the only southern-hemisphere international school in Singapore that offers an Australian curriculum-based global education for students from the age of 2 months to 18 years.

This truly international education begins with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) from Preschool to Year 5, Australian Curriculum for Years 6 to 8, Cambridge IGCSE in Years 9 and 10, and the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) for Years 11 and 12.

Australian International School has a vision to be known internationally as an institution which represents educational excellence in all aspects of its operation. Our school philosophy commits us fully to the notion of a holistic, rounded education, which cherishes the arts and sports as well as academics as essential dimensions of each student’s education. We are equally committed to teaching our students to have a moral commitment to making our world a better place as reflective, caring, knowledgeable and principled people. At AIS, each child is special, each is important.

Where to find us

AIS on the map of Singapore


1 Lorong Chuan Singapore 556 818
Tel: +65 6517 0247 (Admissions)
Tel: +65 6664 8127 (General enquiries)