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25 June 2019

Head of Inclusion, Kelly Sommerville shares about Internationalism at AIS

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

Transitioning to a new school and a new country is an exciting adventure.  Immersing your children in an international community is an incredible opportunity for them to view the world through different lenses, appreciate diverse cultures and to have great respect and appreciation for all.

As an International Baccalaureate® World School, AIS live the united mission to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Our students have are encouraged to learn from each other in a collaborative and inquiry-based setting where Respect is one of our key values. The effects of ‘internationalism’ should be embraced, your child will flourish by being stretched and challenged by different ways of thinking, living and doing.

To help children get settled in diversified communities, it is important to thoroughly research your impending international move. To best prepare children and yourselves, gather as much information as possible and include your children in this fact-finding mission.  Find out about your schooling options and what schools can offer you both prior to your commencement and whilst being a part of the school community.  Ask about the school’s population and their nationality data.  Discovering which nationalities construct your chosen school can help you to absorb those cultures before you arrive by reading books, watching documentaries, listening to other languages and finding out about their beliefs and cultures.

We have many structures in place to support new and existing families. Our Parents Association (AISPA) are available from the moment you arrive, a Parent Country Ambassador volunteer from your home country can help you with your transition and each class has a ‘Friend of AISPA’ who act as the support network for your child’s class. Students are also supported by the red-ribbon and buddy system for new students that are in-place across the school, and our school counsellors check-in with new students within their first few weeks. Our highly skilled welfare teams are also available across the school. Should Elementary and Secondary students require assistance with adjusting to a new school system or identify language barriers, our Learning Enrichment and English as Additional Language teams are on hand to help students with academic support.

AIS is an inclusive learning environment, we embrace and celebrate diversity and build relationships within our community based on mutual respect, trust, acceptance and care.  All students, regardless of nationality, are language learners in the early years and we help develop their skills through play and social engagement. At AIS, we believe that students whose first language is not English are an asset in our school as they bring unique gifts, skills and culture.

Our Early Years programme is complete immersion in English language, so children coming into our Early Learning Village are at a significant advantage when learning a new language.  All students in our Early Years programmes (18 months - 4 years) are encompassed in a language rich environment where native English speakers can learn from student’s whose Mother Tongue is not English, and all learners have the right to participate fully in their school environment regardless of any language barriers. Students also have access to single subjects where English language is not the focus of the curriculum which allows students to be successful in other areas such as physical education, art, music and Mandarin.

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25 June 2019

​Preparing for application for the 2019 - 2020 school year

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

​Whether your child is starting school for the first time or transferring from an Australian school, preparing for application for the 2019 – 2020 school year is probably a time of mixed emotions. A new start is exciting, but can also be nerve wracking, as you all wonder what the changes will bring. Being well prepared for application will help you and your child to get off to the best start at a new school.

Starting school for the first time

It may seem hard to believe that your baby is old enough to go to school and parents often find this step an emotional one. While you may have mixed feelings, try to keep to a positive approach with your children. They too may be feeling nervous and need to hear about the positive aspects of starting school.

There are many children’s books which deal with the theme of starting school and it is well worth reading some with your child, so they can learn in advance about the exciting topics they will study and the new friends they’ll make.

Transferring from a current school

Many children starting at international schools in Singapore are older children who have already started their education elsewhere. Some of these students may not be happy with the move as they leave behind friends and the school they were accustomed to.

While you will want to promote the move to Singapore as a positive step, do not dismiss your child’s feelings. Find ways to help your child keep in touch with their old friends such as social media and Skype and try not to worry. International schools support many students transferring to their school, helping them to settle into their new environment.

Steps for enrolment

Information on how to enroll at your chosen school will be available on their website. The initial step may simply be filling in a form on the website, to register your interest. There will also be a number of other forms to fill in and documentation to be submitted. These are likely to include copies of passports and birth certificates.

Waiting for confirmation can be nerve-wracking, as you hope your child gains a place at your chosen school. Once it has been confirmed, there will likely be further paperwork and documentation, as well as the necessary fees to be paid.

Visiting a school in advance

Students coming from overseas may not always be able to visit a school in advance, but if you can manage a visit, it is strongly recommended. Many schools have open days where prospective parents can visit the school, before beginning the application process. This can be key to choosing a good school, as you get a feel for the place and can decide whether it is the right place for your child.

Once a child has been offered a place, they will usually be invited for a visit before they start. This is enormously beneficial, as it gives the child a chance to become familiar with the environment before they start, as well as getting to know key members of staff.

If a visit is not possible, at least look through the school website with your child, letting them see the facilities, so getting started is not full of too much of the unexpected.

Make sure your child is fully equipped.

Check what clothing or equipment your child will need when they register for the 2019-20 school year and ensure it is purchased well in advance. Items might include a school uniform, sports kit and equipment.

Make sure you also know how your child will be getting to school. While some parents in Singapore take their children, others make use of school transport options.

On the first day

You can help your child get off to a flying start on registration day by ensuring they are well prepared. The night before, make sure they go to bed at a reasonable time and set an alarm to give you adequate time in the morning. It is a good idea to get their uniform and bags ready the night before, so there is no panic in the morning.

Leave home in plenty of time and be positive about the new experience as you wave your child off on this exciting stage of their education.

At AIS, our Admissions team will ensure the smoothest possible transition for your family. We offer enrolments throughout the year as long as spaces available. Whether a child is starting in the early years or in Secondary school, we look forward to getting to know them.

Apply Now for July

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24 May 2019

​How to increase confidence in your bilingual children

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

​Seeing your child struggle with their self-esteem is hard and you will undoubtedly be keen to find ways of increasing their confidence. There may be many reasons for this lack of confidence, but if you are concerned that it may be because they are a bilingual child, there are some steps you can take to enable them to become comfortable with their fluency in two or more languages.

Try not to worry too much. Generally bilingual children become more confident than their monolingual peers and their abilities in the school language can meet or even outstrip those for whom it is their only language.

Check the reasons for lack of confidence

If you have had some reservations about raising your child to be bilingual, it is easy to assume that this is the reason for the lack of confidence. However, many other factors can cause this, such as a change of circumstances, a physical or learning difficulty or simply a problem with friends.

Children often dislike being marked out as different in some way but being bilingual is common worldwide. If your child is at an Australian international school in Singapore, they are very unlikely to be the only bilingual child, so encourage them to get to know other bilingual children, while you get to know their parents. This can help normalize their abilities in both your minds.

Five tips to increase confidence in your bilingual child

Do not over praise. If you are continually praising your child’s bilingual abilities, you may be making them more self-conscious about them. This can be hard as parents will often think that by praising frequently, they will be building their self-esteem. However it has been shown that it has the opposite effect, detracting from those times when your child genuinely deserves the praise.

Do not over criticize. Like over praising, criticizing can also make your child self-conscious and cause them to lose confidence in their abilities. Bilingual children will sometimes make mistakes, where they mix up their languages, but do not draw attention to it. This will simply make them more nervous in their conversation. By modelling the language yourself, they will learn to navigate their two languages naturally as they grow older.

Do not dismiss their fears. The fear of looking stupid is a very common one in children and adults alike, and if they are upset about an aspect of their communication, it does not help to simply dismiss their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that they are upset, but help them put it into perspective. Everyone makes mistakes and you can demonstrate this to them by pointing out when you too make a mistake.

Let them talk. It is hard to see your child struggling with communication and as your protective instincts kicks in, you may want to take over. However, try not to do this. By trying to communicate, your child will be learning key skills which will enable them to improve. You may also be implying to your child that you are ashamed of their bilingualism, as well as suggesting that it’s best not to even try, than try and make mistakes. It is fine to join in the conversation, helping to keep it flowing naturally.

Boost confidence in other areas. Confidence, or lack of it, is rarely confined to one aspect of a child’s development, so find ways to boost confidence in their life as a whole. Help them develop their strengths and passions whether it is in sport, music, craft or any other subject. Being able to excel at something will encourage them in all areas of their development and this will include their bilingualism.

Seek help if necessary

International schools in Singapore have a large number of bilingual students and will be accustomed to boosting confidence in those children. If you are concerned about your child’s confidence and how being bilingual is affecting it, their school can be a useful resource of ideas to tackle the issue.

At AIS we are proud of our bilingual students and never cease to be impressed with the confidence they gain in two or more languages and the range of skills which that enables them to take into other aspects of their education. We believe in valuing our student’s different languages and are particularly proud of our Mother Tongue program which allows our students to develop their language skills and to immerse themselves in the culture and language of their origins.

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24 May 2019

​Tips to help your child communicate better

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

​Finding ways to help your child communicate better will make parenting easier and allow you to negotiate any tricky times your child faces. As a parent, you want to be able to talk calmly with them about any issues and for them to be able to communicate concerns they have. Even when life is running smoothly, effective communication is still good to ensure you keep up-to-date with what your child is doing at their Australian international school.

Communication problems

There can be many problems with communication. In younger children, it may be they simply do not have the vocabulary or the conversational skills. For the majority of children, this will improve over time, but if it persists, talk with your child’s teacher as to what further support can be given. Older children, and teenagers in particular, can be notorious for not wanting to talk with their parents, but as they become more independent and start to deal with more adult issues, good parent-child communication becomes more important than ever.

Encourage reading

Reading is a great way to build up vocabulary and improve the style of conversation. Talking about the stories can also make you and your child more comfortable with discussing a wide range of topics which will make it far easier for you both if you do need to discuss anything of a more serious nature.

Avoid correction and criticism

No one wants to have a conversation when they are feeling belittled or as if they can do nothing right. Making mistakes in language is common as children develop their skills, but rather than correct their mistakes, instead model language correctly. For example, if a child proudly tells you about the model they ‘maked’, rather than correct them, simply model the correction yourself, such as replying “You’ve made a rocket? Can I see it?” This keeps the focus on their achievement and the conversation they want to have, while still modelling good language.

While discussions can get lively and your child will form their own opinions, try not to dismiss these, even if you do not agree. Criticism and judgement are certain ways to halt the conversation. On the other hand, an exchange of views, where you each respect the other’s point of view even if you do not share it, is a healthy way to develop communication skills which will stand them in good stead for later life.

Asking the right questions

Questions are a good way to draw out a child’s conversation. Try to keep them open ended so your child has to reply with more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’. However, be wary of making them too general. Questions such as ‘What did you do at school today’ usually simply get the answer ‘nothing’!

Give your full attention

Good communication is about listening as well as talking, so make sure your child has times of enjoying your full attention. In our busy lives, when you may be juggling work, family commitments, household and social engagements, there may well be 50 different thoughts in your head at once, making it hard to give undivided attention to one thing. However, when that one thing is your child, it is necessary to focus on them!

If the conversation is a serious one, sit with them so you are at their level, maintaining eye contact and listen without interrupting. For general communication, a more casual atmosphere is better. Children do not need an interrogation on their day but are instead likely to impart bits of information at other times such as over a meal or at bed time. Building in regular time for conversation, will make it a habit, allowing conversation to flow naturally.

Be yourself

As a parent you are well placed to model good communication skills. When talking to your child, keep your responses natural and genuine. There is no need to exaggerate your responses. You should also talk about yourself, demonstrating to your child how communication goes both ways and to encourage the sharing of information.

Comparing experiences can provide fascinating insights for both parents and children. As technology has changed our world, it is likely your own childhood was very different to your child’s. For children at international schools in Singapore, there may also be significant cultural differences. Be sensitive to these differences, particularly when offering advice.

At AIS, we are keen to promote good communication skills and are always impressed by the breadth of conversation our students achieve. If parents have concerns about their child’s communication skills, we are always happy to help.

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15 April 2019

​Developing curiosity in your child

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

​Young children are naturally curious, but it's also important for those around them to nurture this in them. Developing curiosity in your children will encourage them to be keen learners, ever wanting to find out more, and as adults, this trait can continue, allowing them to advance in their chosen field. As a parent, you are best placed to nurture curiosity in your child and there are a number of ways you can do this.

Five ways to develop curiosity in your child

1. Use unstructured play. 
Give your child access to plenty of open-ended play, giving them practical ways to indulge their curiosity. Some examples include craft materials, sand and water play, construction toys and imaginative play, but the possibilities are endless. Often, such activities may involve items you may not consider toys at all, but if it is safe and practical for them to use these things, allow them to see where their curiosity will take them.

2. Books. 
Young children love fascinating facts and the bigger and the more bizarre the better! With books geared towards children available on all sorts of topics, your child can indulge his or her curiosity across time and to the far reaches of the universe. Books for children are mostly challenging reads, with complicated facts presented in a way that children can understand. Read these books with your child and you too will be likely to find out something new, giving you the chance to model yourself as a curious learner.
 

3. Create a stimulating environment. 
Make your home a stimulating and accessible one. If there are too many breakable items your child is not allowed to touch, his or her curiosity could be stilted. However, lots of interesting pictures and objects they can handle will make the home a fascinating place. Make changes whenever possible with new pictures or objects to encourage your child to find out more.

4. Answer questions.
As their parents, your child probably views you as the fountain of all knowledge and will have endless questions, many of which you may not be able to answer. It is important that you do not treat these questions as a nuisance, but instead praise your child for wanting to learn more. If you can answer the question, it may be the start of an interesting discussion between the two of you. If not, you can model to your child how to find out. Thanks to the internet, finding an answer is usually a quick process, although as your child’s curiosity develops, they may start asking questions which even the top thinkers of history have failed to work out!

5. Make use of your child’s passions.
Children are well known for having strong enthusiasms for particular topics. For one child it might be dinosaurs, for another it might be outer space, but whatever it is, this is an area where your child will be particularly keen to learn more. As well as finding books, toys and videos related to their passion, try to incorporate it into days out. Children at international schools in Singapore have access to a wide range of attractions and environments, making it easy to find one to make your child particularly curious.

Beyond the home

Students at AIS have plenty of opportunities to indulge their curiosity and that starts with our very youngest learners. In the Early Learning Village, classrooms include both indoor and outdoor learning areas with a vast range of activities to encourage learning and exploration. Even for older children, where the curriculum is more structured, we continue to nurture our student’s curiosity through our inquiry-based approach to learning. Throughout their time at the school, we aim to see our students grow into innovators who are excited about the world around them, and making their own difference for good.

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15 April 2019

​The importance of playing sports with your child

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

​With children full of seemingly limitless energy, engaging them in sporting activity is generally a popular suggestion. However, there is no need for you to be a mere spectator! Join in and enjoy the benefits this will bring to both you and your child.

A variety of activities

Children at an Australian International School are introduced to a wide variety of sports and may be keen to demonstrate what they have learned to you. You also have the option of trying something new together.

There are plenty of different sports available in Singapore, from team games to water sports. Older children may well enjoy the thrills of an extreme sport, and if you have the nerve to try it, then go for it! For the more cautious, there will also be plenty of gentler sports to try. With such a wide variety available, experiment and find which sport you both like the best. The answer may surprise you!

Five benefits of playing a sport with your child

1. Get healthier and stronger.
Sport is good for you, helping to maintain a healthy weight while also strengthening your cardio-vascular system. If you find it hard to exercise as you juggle work and family life, playing a sport with your child is an excellent way to fit it in. Your child too will become stronger and fitter through doing sports and being active will also help instill good sleep patterns in them. Exercise has also been shown to improve mental health, as it helps to reduce stress levels. If either you or your child is undergoing a stressful time at work or school, you will see the benefits of exercise as a way to unwind.

2. Set a good example.
As sports are so good for children, you will undoubtedly be keen to encourage your children to play a sport. While the majority of children enjoy sports, some are less active, while many find it hard to tear themselves away from their electronic gadgets. The best way to encourage your child to be more active is to participate yourself, demonstrating your own commitment to the activity.

3. Bond with your child.
Being involved in your child’s life has a range of benefits in many aspects of their development and well-being. Playing sports with your child is a good way to ensure you spend regular time with them. While young children generally enjoy this parental attention, teenagers may not be quite so appreciative! Doing sports together in an activity you both enjoy is a good way of spending time with your teenager, helping to keep a positive relationship with them. As well as being a good way to enjoy one on one time with your child, a sporting activity is also fun for the whole family, with many activities easily adaptable for different ages and abilities.

2. Experience challenges.
Both children and adults can find starting something new a daunting experience. Being a complete beginner with all the mistakes it is likely to entail is hard, but at the same time is the only way we can learn. Starting a new activity together with your child takes some of the pressure off as you can support each other and enjoy achieving something together. Gaining the confidence to try something new is a useful skill to master, potentially making both you and your child more confident and willing to experience new challenges.

4. Enjoyment.
Parenting is hard work, but that doesn't mean everyday has to be a chore! Going out and having fun with your child is also part of parenting. Childhood should be a fun part of life and participating in an activity your child enjoys will help achieve this. It is true that life can be stressful for both parents and children. Parents might be having a tough time at work, while children may be worrying about exams. Heading out for no other reason than to have fun is a valuable antidote to this.

There’s no reason to delay in starting a sporting activity with your child! Ask them today what sports they would enjoy or search the web to discover opportunities together. At AIS, we enjoy hearing about the sports our Students play in their free time and encourage them by offering sporting opportunities in School. We are sure that among our students there could be some of the top athletes of the future.

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05 March 2019

Raising Sporty Children

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

An international school education offers many opportunities for children to explore their passions in and outside of the classroom. At the Australian International School we believe in providing a well-rounded experience for all of our students, and physical activity is a key component of this. We encourage every child to be involved in physical activity at AIS, whether it’s training in our elite Athlete Development Program, competing in one our representative sports teams, or taking part in one of our many sporting CCA’s. The aim of physical activity for our students is enjoyment, fulfilment and pride.  Our Assistant Head of Sport, Michael Preston, offers some tips on raising sporty children, and how to be your child’s biggest supporter…

Variety is key

AIS understands and supports that children have different interests and it is important for us to provide different pathways for them to explore physical activities and finding the right one they would like to participate in long-term.

Children should be encouraged to try a wide range of activities from an early age, from individual to team related activities to discover where their passions lie. Participation in physical activity should be driven by the interest and enjoyment of the child.  A positive initial experience of a physical activity has a significant impact on their decision to continue to commit with it long-term.

Be active for life

The nature of physical activity doesn’t have to be competitive. The popular misconception when it comes to physical activity is that it’s often focused on winning medals. The culture at AIS of physical activity is to instill the intrinsic rewards and values in children.  It’s important that children enjoy the activity they are doing if they are to perform it to the best of their abilities.

Your child doesn’t need to be the best in the team or the fastest in the race to enjoy the benefit of physical activity as it’s about teamwork, resilience and fun.

Be a ‘Super Sharks’ supporter

For children, one of the most thrilling aspects of participating in physical activity is the support that friends and family give them when they have the chance to watch them. It is the opportunity for the children to showcase their abilities and improvements to their loved-ones.

Being there for your child at sporting events and cheering them on from the sidelines will really boost their confidence and sense of fulfilment.

These are some steps that you can practice to be a ‘Super Sharks’ supporter:

  • Using positive words to cheer the team
  • Appreciating positive performance by all teams
  • Demonstrating respect by letting the professionals carry out their duties
  • Role-modeling good sportspersonship
  • Maintain a healthy balance

Physical activities forms just one part of a holistic education, alongside academics, the Arts and other extra-curricular pursuits. It is a great release for children at any time but especially during stressful examination periods, and at AIS we always encourage our students to maintain some form of physical activity.  An important aspect of the AIS experience is to educate every child of the significance of maintaining balance in their lives across all aspects of their learning.

We strongly recommend regular engagement between students, staff and parents to find out how they are getting on and if there is anything you can do at home to support their development. This dialogue with the coaches should focus on your child’s enjoyment and wellbeing, not just on their performance.

Check out our video above to find out what our students think about their parents coming to watch them play sport…

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28 February 2019

School Life In Singapore, What You Need To Know

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

The international schools in Singapore provide high standards of education for international students. Australian parents living in the city and those planning to move there are particularly well served by the Australian International School (AIS), which is the only school in Singapore that works to the Australian and IB curriculums, while also providing its students and staff with a unique global outlook.

Check the facts

As a family moving to or living in Singapore, it’s important to research a number of international schools — not simply regarding academic standards, but whether they deliver the important extras that make for a fully rounded education. For example:

If your children are creative, look for an international school that excels in art, theatre and music activities.

If they’re sporty types, seek out a school that encourages athleticism in team sports such as rugby, netball and basketball, or promotes personal excellence via training and coaching in sports such as swimming.

Look for a school that ensures your children will benefit from confidence building activities, such as speech and drama programs, or Outdoor Education programs

If you recently moved to Singapore, look for a school where your child can feel part of a close-knit community. The upheaval of the move can be stressful for children, so it's important to have a school which has a strong emphasis on pastoral care as well as academic care. 

When it comes to settling in, it's not just about the child. An active Parents’ Association that promotes a program of fun, inclusive events will help the whole family to socialize more easily and really feel a part of the school and broader community.

AIS offers all these types of activities and more, giving your children fantastic academic advantages, as well a nurturing environment that develops their skills outside of the classroom

Take note of the curriculum

Another element parents need to consider is the curriculum which the international school delivers. The Australian curriculum at AIS is great for those families relocating from Australia who only intend to spend a short time in Singapore before moving back home. It can also pave a pathway to Universities, particularly in Australia but also beyond. On the other hand, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is a truly global curriculum which is widely recognised as being a challenging and academically rigorous program. This option can also open up many doors for students in terms of University placements across the world

In addition to the standard curriculum options, some schools such as AIS offer Vocational Education and Training (VET) options for those students who wish to take a more practical approach to studying, and who may wish to pursue career opportunities that don't require a University degree. At AIS we offer vocational qualifications in Construction and Hospitality as part of our HSC program.

Students at AIS study the IB Primary Years Program throughout Elementary School, followed by the Australian Curriculum in years 6,7 and 8. In years 9 and 10 students will undertake the world renowned Cambridge IGCSE curriculum and then will have the option of choosing between the IBDP, HSC or Vocational options for their final years of study.

During Year 10, AIS recommends that students and parents carefully consider and compare the IBDP and HSC in terms of the curriculum structure, the student’s preferred learning styles, and the assessment methods used in each case. This helps determine which qualification will best meet the student’s requirements. 

Digital learning

In the 21st century, no self-respecting school is complete without a focus on technology and the global digital age we live in. At AIS, the responsible use of digital skills and knowledge is high on the agenda. Contemporary technology changes rapidly and the devices, resources and programs used at AIS reflect this.

Shared iPads are used as teaching tools in Preschool, progressing to individual iPads for every student at Elementary level. Secondary level students are issued with an iPad or may bring their own to school.

Visual arts, digital media and music students have access to specialist studios equipped with the latest technology. The school has an interactive whiteboard and projector in every room. Information portals and e-learning continue to develop throughout the school, and there is a strong focus on online safety through the digital citizenship education program.

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25 January 2019

How to teach children responsible tech use

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

Technology has the potential to change a person’s life for the better. But as with everything that’s great in life, moderation and balance are crucial for getting the most from it. Connected devices are a part of everyday life so your child will want to use them from an early age. Research shows that young children can benefit greatly from exploring the functionality of these tools, so what factors should you consider for responsible use?

Discuss responsible tech use

Before you purchase a connected device such as a mobile phone or games console, have a few conversations with your child about responsible tech use. ‘What if’ scenarios are a good base to work from and will help both you and your child to think about some of the common issues. For example, you could ask them what they would do if they get caught using their phone in class. Or, discuss what would be an appropriate action should they receive a Facebook or Snapchat message from someone they don’t know.

Educate early and often

Educate early and educate often is a great mantra to follow for warning children about the dangers that can lurk on the internet, while simultaneously promoting responsible usage. A few important topics to cover include:

  • Explain the wider implications of their actions online – Let them know that any social media posts or pictures saved in the cloud can be time consuming and difficult to remove
  • Promote safety – Make sure they never enter a private chat with a complete stranger.
  • Protect privacy – Tell them never to share their mobile number, email address, home address or any other sensitive information online.
  • Focus on creativity
     

The conversation around tech use often centers on the need to limit screen time for children. But rarely does the discussion touch on some of its more positive aspects. Instead of merely settling for safe and responsible usage, why not target productive and creative usage as well? This will shift a child’s view of tech away from it being purely recreational to a means that can help them to fulfil their dreams and passions in life.

To start on the road to productive usage, think about how tech can be used in education such as projects and activities at school. You could install mobile apps for graphic design, so they can showcase their creative side. Draw their attention to free educational websites, where they can learn anything from a new language to basic computer programming skills for half an hour each night. Mixing in these educational activities with more recreational tech usage, such as watching vloggers on YouTube, will establish a better balance in how children engage with their devices from an early age.

Be positive and interact

Just taking a hard line with tech by outlining rules and limits is not the best path to take for responsible usage. Try to be positive and take your child’s thoughts and opinions on board. Two-way dialogue is best. For example, if a new video game is released, show an interest in what it’s about. Then use this as an opportunity to facilitate a conversation about compromise when it comes to how much time they can play it before its release, rather than after.

It’s also important to spend some time with them when they are using technology. Establish a line of communication so they can talk to you about any concerns or issues that they may have. You are the person they trust the most and they will look to you for guidance and assurances. As always, just being there is 90 percent of the job.

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying is a pervasive problem on the internet. You should urge children to report cyber bullying to you or another adult in authority at school if they ever fall victim to it. Keep an eye out for warning signs that they are being bullied online, such as seeming withdrawn, being uncharacteristically quiet or prone to mood swings. Responsible use also requires a child to be vigilant about recognizing cases of bullying online. Teach them the value of respect, not just when face to face with a person, but when they are interacting with someone on social media.

Three C’s

As outlined earlier, rules and limits are a tricky area to cover as you want your child to make decisions for themselves. However, with so many connected devices in the home, certain rules should be adhered to. For example, no video games before homework is completed and scheduling times for watching videos and other content online. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to tech, use the Three C’s – content, context and the child’s needs – to determine when and how technologies should be used.

  • Content - Does the tech help your child to learn, be creative express themselves, explore and engage?     
  • Context - What social interactions are involved during the use of tech, and does it dovetail with your child’s natural play patterns and learning experiences?
  • Child’s needs - Does the tech fulfil a need and interest for your child and will it enhance their growth and development if used right now?
     

Many of the international schools in Singapore build technology into their curriculums to enrich and enhance the learning experience for their students. At the Australian International School Singapore, your child will learn how to use tech to support their studies and they will have to access to a vast range of devices and online resources from a very early age. Each Preschool class has several computers and iPads, while Secondary School students either bring their own device or use a school-issued Apple MacBook Air. Tech also plays a fundamental role in art, music, technology and other aspects of the curriculum.

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25 January 2019

Keeping your children busy with extracurricular activities

Published by Jessica Anne Tay
Renovation-and-refit-projects

As the old adage goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Academics are highly important for your child’s future success, but there is more to life than hitting the books. Not only are extracurricular activities important for your child’s happiness, but they can help them become more well-rounded individuals, teach them about teamwork and the importance of community, and even make them more attractive candidates on their university applications in the future. Here at the Australian International School, we encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities, and we have some advice that might help you and your children decide which activities will benefit them most.

Deciding on an activity with your child

The best way to determine which activity or activities your children will thrive in is to speak with them. That might seem like common sense, but some parents might be inclined to nudge their children toward activities that they themselves participated in during their youth. A child likely won’t enjoy or be successful in an extracurricular activity unless he or she truly enjoys it and is interested in it, so it’s best to let them forge their own way and land on something that really piques their interest.

However, by the same token, some children might not immediately alight on an activity that attracts them. Try not to get frustrated if they grow weary of tap lessons one month and swear that rock climbing is their true passion the next. Sometimes a little exploration is necessary in order to find their passion.

Sports

When it comes to extracurricular activities, sports are often at the top of the list. Your children can participate in team sports both inside of school – the Australian International School offers 100 inclusive opportunities with 100 competitive teams – so there are many opportunities for your children to hit the field, court, track or swimming pool. Furthermore, children who demonstrate excellence in sports are sometimes offered scholarship opportunities at leading universities, based on their performance. Sports also teach your children the values of teamwork and responsibility – skills that transfer positively into the classroom and later life.

The arts

For students who prefer the arts or those who are interested in participating in sports in addition to other pursuits, there are many activities to satisfy your child’s creativity. Artistic extracurricular activities are wide in scope and can include (but are by no means limited to!):

  • Dance
  • Theatre (acting, set design)
  • Music (singing, instruments)
  • Visual arts
  • Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Fashion
  • Graphic design
  • Ceramics
     

As with sports, success in the arts can lead to many opportunities for children in the future. For example, a nurturing art teacher can help a student create a portfolio that will attract the attention of top art schools the world over.

School-based activities

While many schools, including international schools in Singapore, offer students the opportunity to participate in sports and the arts, they also offer school-based extracurricular activities for students. Students can explore their interests while developing leadership skills, refining their talents in various academic subjects, developing themselves as writers and perhaps even contributing to the local community. School-based activities can include (but are by no means limited to!):

  • Student government
  • Newspaper
  • Foreign language clubs
  • Debate team
  • Academic teams
  • Choir
  • Bands
  • Orchestra
  • Model UN
     

Any and all of these activities will give your child a leg up that demonstrates what they are capable of beyond their academic performance. These activities will help develop their interests and show future university administrators that they participated in vibrant and varied lives outside of the classroom.

Long-term benefits of extracurricular activities

Participation in any of these activities will help your child to develop skills that they wouldn’t learn in the classroom alone and can also be an attractive addition to their university applications. Furthermore, they will help them decipher what interests them and what activities they wish to pursue in the future. Being active in sports will help them learn the value of teamwork and the importance of responsibility – those early morning game times are unflinching! Taking part in dance or theater can help students explore their creativity and can help to overcome any anxiety they might have about performing or speaking up in front of a crowd. And any number of school-based activities will help them determine what interests them most in life while developing invaluable life skills. At AIS we let all of our students and parents know that this world of opportunity is open to them.

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Australian International School, Singapore

The Australian International School is the only southern-hemisphere 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

Contact

1 Lorong Chuan Singapore 556 818
Tel: +65 6653 2958 (admissions)
Tel: +65 6664 8127 (general enquiries)
E: admissions@ais.com.sg