Q&A with Neil Smith, Head of Elementary, Australian International School

 

 

What makes AIS unique from other schools?
Where do I begin? AIS is unlike any other international school I have worked in or visited. First and foremost the School has embraced the new Australian Curriculum, which is then delivered through the pedagogy of the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme. The PYP encourages students to learn through inquiry, and the School’s greatest challenge is to ensure that every student is included, motivated, challenged and above all else successful.
The School appears to be extremely progressive and is blessed with a highly talented faculty who embrace innovation in teaching and learning. Nevertheless the School retains a distinctly Australian feel. AIS’s commitment to providing a holistic education for every student is overwhelming. The value the School places on team and individual sports, community service, the visual and performing arts; alongside the traditional academic subjects of Mathematics, English, Sciences and the Humanities is what makes it so special.

What kind of a foundation do you think AIS Elementary School provides for later learning?
Like most Schools AIS has a clear set of Vision, Mission and Values statements; what is particularly heartening, however, is to see how these underpin every action the School, its students and its staff make. The School’s values of Respect, Opportunity and Achievement are unquestionably values that will stand our students in good stead for their future lives.
The Elementary School provides a multiplicity of experiences and opportunities which our students are encouraged to engage in. The introduction of Individual Learning Plans or ILPs for every student ensures that each students particular needs are addressed, that they are challenged and that they (and their families) are fully aware of their next steps.
The Elementary School does a wonderful job of making learning challenging, authentic and of course fun!

How is digital technology a part of the learning process at Elementary level?
It is staggering to see students as young as three years old in our Pre School engaging with technologies which not only support their learning but truly redefine it. The School has invested a huge amount of resources into developing new technologies with 1:1 iPads in the Elementary School. The School will introduce a new Virtual Learning Environment connect.ais.com.sg in the new year, which will not only allow students to remain permanently connected with their learning but will also give our parents the opportunity to review and support their child’s learning in real time.
Like most parents I am conscious of the need to keep the use of technology in balance and to ensure our children use technology responsibly and safely. Clearly we have a huge collective responsibility as a School and as parents to work together to this end.
I genuinely believe however, that ‘Individualised Learning’ simply would not be possible without the connectedness that learning technologies facilitate.

What do you believe are the benefits of a child attending an international school like AIS?
There is no doubt that attending an international school such as AIS is a tremendous privilege with many benefits. Clearly the academic results at AIS are exceptional, however it is the depth of opportunities offered that allow for development of the knowledge, skills and understanding required to be a globally focused citizen in the 21st Century.
It is our hope that each and every student at AIS will not only take full advantage of the opportunities they are offered, but they will in turn look to offer back to the global community when the time comes.

ais.com.sg