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Anyone have experience of SAIS or chatsworth in singapore?

(30 Posts)
Akam Fri 21-Sep-12 21:27:12

Could do with some advice, does anyone have experience of this school? We are having nightmares at the moment trying to secure a school place for jan 13 for our dd who is 5 in October. At the moment we have two possible options chats worth orchard campus or Stamford American international school. Dh is flying out mid October to take a look but I'm worried about not getting her name down for somewhere soon. We did have a third option which was to wait till April for space in chatsworth east coast campus ( preferred living area if possible) and tutor/homeschool for a term?

My main concern is that SAISis an American school and will have a very American curriculum with regards spelling and history etc. we are probably only out there for 3 yrs so perhaps this is not so important. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

laptopwieldingharpy Sat 22-Sep-12 01:45:53

No direct expetience.
I've seen chatsworth and its very run down. I've heard parents mention the high turnover of teachers which is never a good sign.
There are a few mners with children in SAIS and am sure they'll be around soon. The feedback seems to be positive.
In 3 years time she would be year 3/ grade 2 And since they work within the international baccalaureate framework, i think there shouldn't be any major gaps accdemically.

Akam Sat 22-Sep-12 10:35:37

thank you for taking the time to reply laptop, it would be so much easier if I was over there for a visit but we just don't have the time in our schedules therefore I am reliant on dh when he goes in October and am very aware of time a ticking.

HappySunflower Sat 22-Sep-12 10:38:59

It might be worth posting on the ExpatSingapore message boards

...but in your situation, I'd probably consider one of the East Coast kindergartens for a term.
You might not want her to start school straight away anyway as you'll all be settling in.

HappySunflower Sat 22-Sep-12 10:44:07

Also....what's making you consider those two schools in particular?
If I had a choice I would definitely be aiming for Tanglin, which has a great reputation.
All the schools offer transport so distance isn't really an issue.

Akam Sat 22-Sep-12 11:18:31

Hi Happy,
We have contacted Tanglin, St Josephs and Dover Court. None have availability and Tanglin say we are looking at 2014 before they have spaces. We are looking at these two schools as they are the ones which have availability within a realistic time frame.
I have considered putting dd in kindergarten but wanted to try and make sure that she had minimal disruption whilst in singapore ie sticking with one school for the duration of our stay...
I've read the singapore expat boards but frankly I am put off posting any queries as everyone always seems so hostile when you pose questions of this nature hmm

Akam Sat 22-Sep-12 11:21:56

with regards to transport, because dd is so young I had thought it better to live as close as possible to school to minimise commute time, nowhere in singapore is far but it being a city I imagine traffic jams etc add to the time spent getting from A to B, esp in rush hour!

papooshka Sat 22-Sep-12 11:22:43

Understand that you don't want to disrupt your dd but you could put her in a kindergarten, where she would be K2 and she could stay for a year and go to 'proper school' in jan 2014?

papooshka Sat 22-Sep-12 11:25:34

Sorry just to add, my dd is 6 in oct and going to school in jan 2013 from kindergarten, over here kids don't have to officially go to school until their 7th year, although most if not all do!

HappySunflower Sat 22-Sep-12 11:26:39

If you're planning to live on the EastCoast, why not try EtonHouse
They have a couple of branches in that area, from nursery up to primary levels.

laptopwieldingharpy Sat 22-Sep-12 13:23:14

Secong happyflower about a pre-school untill the fall of 2014.
Some very good options around ans being in singapore its not all play but already starting literacy etc...,

MuffinTumMum Sat 22-Sep-12 15:25:53


Not in Singapore but in asia. Please do consider the kindergarten option. It's a norm in asia. Lots of kids do this until they secure their preferred primary school place. I completely understand your reasoning for feeling that this would be disruptive but it really is the norm in these parts. All of the schools and kindys are geared up for settling new kids in. It wouldn't be as challenging as you might expect. Good luck. Appreciate very hard to make these decisions from so far away.

TheExpatWife Sun 23-Sep-12 02:37:14

Having seen a few of the schools here, I think the only reason for choosing Chatsworth over SAIS is location. Chatsworth is right on Orchard Rd so if you live within walking distance it is a good option. But as laptop says, it is quite run down. SAIS has a new campus so the comparison is quite marked! When your husband comes in October, unless he also finds a house next door to Chatsworth, I can guarantee he will prefer SAIS as the facilities just look so much better.

SAIS runs the IB not the US system, so I shouldn't worry about the non-UK curriculum, lots of British kids follow the IB here - it is quite international, and at such a young age it is more about socialising, reading and writing. Not sure about the travel time from East Coast to SAIS, though likely quicker than to Chatsworth.

Akam Sun 23-Sep-12 10:03:24

Thanks everyone, lots to think about! I have done searches for the kindergartens previously as I wasn't opposed completely but trying to pick nurseries from abroad seemed harder somehow as they obviously dont all have sophisticated websites and feedback like the international schools out there. The only place I found was a place called odyssey but I've phoned them 3 times in the past week and nobody has been able to give me info on spaces etc

My initial resistance to the upheaval was because we have already put her in school over here for this term as I was told she had to go to school legally during the term of her 5th birthday.We have the option to return in 2 yrs but most likely will do so in 3. Just thought it was quite a few ' new' starts in such a short space of time. I suppose they are more adaptable at that age but I just want her to be happy out there. She is a very self contained little girl who tends to keep her fears inside, also quite bright, taught herself to read and write etc I just worry how she will cope.

Thanks for all your help.
One advantage to kindergarten would be that my 21/2 yr old could potentially go to the same place which they would love.

butterfliesinmytummy Sun 23-Sep-12 10:44:33

I think it's a good idea to put names down for big school and find a kindy. However be wary of local run kindergartens as they are very goal oriented. I heard of a school the other day who put kids into teams ... One of the team names was "obedient orange". This is the school that stamped "incomplete" on a painting the 3 yr old child hadnt had time to complete..... shock but this is standard for very local schools.....

We love love love the blue house. It goes up to 6 and dd2 would have stayed there (after a horrid experience with another preschool) but she was very desperate to join dd1 at Dover court so moved on. The blue house is run by a British mum who used to be a nanny and couldn't find a kindy she liked enough for her kids. It's the Reggio Emilia system (similar to Montessori) and is the best environment, very caring and inspirational. Give them a call or email and see what you think. They have just expanded so busy but if you are interested they will find time for you.

HappySunflower Sun 23-Sep-12 14:36:46

Another vote of confidence in The Blue House
I know the owner, and her practice is incredibly sound and it would most definitely be my first choice for any child!
It is, however, the opposite end of the island to the East Coast, hence my not suggesting it to you before.

Merlion Mon 24-Sep-12 04:17:55

Another Blue House Mum here (Butterflies I think I now know who you are wink). DS is there until the end of the year and will start at SJI in January 2013 but he loves Blue House and will be very sad to leave.

Re SAIS there are a couple of posters on here who have DCs at SAIS so should be able to help on that front. I have one friend whose ds has just started at Chatsworth in K1. He is enjoying it so far although I'm of a similar opinion to the others that it looks old and shabby especially considering the fees are no longer much less than the other International Schools (which may have been a consideration if school fees are not met by your employer).

Akam Mon 24-Sep-12 11:10:15

Thank you so much everyone for your input. I have contacted the blue house and they do have space for jan for both my son and daughter which is great. My only slight reservation is finding accommodation in that area ie it is expensive! My thinking re east coast living was primarily to get more space for our money and access to bike tracks etc for the kids.

Does anyone know if they do reading scheme books and maths with the older children? Or is it all more play based?

HappySunflower Mon 24-Sep-12 11:20:25

Will you have a car?
If so, and if your housing is covered, take a look at things off Dunearn Rd/Bukit Timah Rd.
There you will find lots of nice houses with very good gardens. but yes, the prices aren't cheap and you do get more for your money on the EC. From my experience of living on the East Coast, what you save in housing you may well spend in taxis in and out of the main city centre. I did love living there, though.

The area I've mentioned above is great-around 10 minutes from Tanglin/Orchard Road, and a brilliant location for families in my opinion.

HappySunflower Mon 24-Sep-12 11:21:05

Oh, and GREAT news re Blue House.
That's one decision that you certainly won't regret so you are off to a good start!

Akam Mon 24-Sep-12 11:29:24

Thankyou Happy! We have car in the budget (hoping 1500 is about right?) but it means a housing budget of just 5500/6000 in order not to throw all weekend break/holiday money away on rent!

HappySunflower Mon 24-Sep-12 11:42:28

It's also worth considering condo housing as well. They often have pools, gardens and other amenities included so are often the accomodation of choice for many families.
It might actually pay to do that and get a feel for an area before committing to anything more long term.

butterfliesinmytummy Mon 24-Sep-12 13:34:16

Merlion, wracking my brains now!

If you are looking for somewhere within budget not too far from blue house, take a look at upper bukit timah (around hume avenue) or clementi (sunset way) where your money will go further. Dunearn and bukit timah are lovely but expensive. If you look for older condos you will get more for your money. As a new arrival to Singapore with kids, I would advise a condo rather than a house as your kids will make friends, so will you, and you will have a pool / garden area etc to use with no maintenance costs (in a house you will pay for pool maintenance and fogging ie bug spraying). Assume you already know about

pupsiecola Mon 24-Sep-12 13:45:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pupsiecola Mon 24-Sep-12 13:59:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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