The teacher who made an amazing impression on us was Ms Elle Ryan. I was blown away when she stopped amidst conversation to correct a little boy who had been talking to his peers “with his fingers”; I was thankful for a teacher who cared about EQ.
Then to another little girl who could not speak English, she exuded such tender compassion and even a disarming playfulness. The way she set the tone for how that little girl was to be treated by the other little children was such a breath of fresh air in an educational landscape that often sidelines the weaker or slower.
To our own little Sophia-noelle, she gave voice to her nervousness; this ‘naming of the monster’ helped our six year articulate and accept her own feelings… I mean, it was only a few minutes in her class but I was really amazed at Ms. Ryan.
I want to thank you for inspiring and supporting our children during this unit of inquiry. I will never forget the day when my son came home from school and told me he had to come up with a new energy source. When I explained that I doubted 10/11 year olds were expected to discover a new energy source he told me, "that is the assignment. I have to come up with something new and innovative." So I stood back and let the thought process begin.
Every idea he came up with he would investigate on the web. If he found out that someone else had already thought of it he moved on. He and his friends Everen and Tim began to come up with these outrageous ideas. The boys decided that, although those ideas were original, they were not plausible. So the thought process continued - until one day, when my son and husband were walking in the rain, Richard suddenly stopped, looked at the storm water drain, and announced he had another idea: a hydroelectric system in the storm water drains throughout Singapore to power nearby lamp posts or traffic lights. He searched the Internet and could not find it. He asked if we thought it was OK that he did not invent hydro power. We assured him you would give him a pass.
Thus, the journey of research and building model after model until they could build one that would not only work but would be durable enough to last for the entire science symposium began. It was a long journey of trial and error but they refused to give up. Finally, their hard work paid off - the light bulb lit.
My son has always loved science and has had a passion for learning, but you took him to a whole other level. He has participated in Science Fairs every year since he was in 2nd grade. He would research, find an experiment, and duplicate it. He was never asked to come up with something innovative. Before GEMS World Academy (Singapore), he would have never even noticed a storm water drain much less considered it a source for energy.
Richard has always been a determined little boy. However, before GEMS, I am sure he would have shown the video of the model that worked but only lasted a couple of times before it fell apart. This year he was driven to create something that he could demonstrate live over and over. Of course, when he asked Mrs. Burke how much space he could have, and she said, "as much as you need," the sky was the limit. Most schools would have limited him, which would have forced him to use that video. Well, once cut loose, the next thing I knew I was bringing a baby pool into school and filling it with water. When I asked him to get permission for this, Mrs. Burke said," sure, it is just water." Most schools would have been more concerned with the mess and less concerned about the success of the mad scientists.
When you walk into GEMS and you see words like innovative, resilient, passionate, creative on your walls, you really mean them and will deliver. I am so grateful that my son has the opportunity to attend a school that has such amazing teachers and an administration who supports them. You think outside of the box and encourage our children to do the same. When your son says things like, "when I go to GEMS I don't feel like I am going to school, I am just going some place to learn," it is really saying something amazing about all of you! Thank you so much for your dedication and expertise.
You discovered Richard, Everen and Tim's passion, and then inspired and encouraged them every step of the way. It was literally beautiful to watch their ingenuity, creativity and perseverance.
Names and ages of children: Georgia (10), Charlotte (9), Jack (7), William (5) and Ava (2)
We were looking for a school that is family-oriented, and has a real community spirit. GEMS has established a Parental Encouragement programme to foster this community spirit, and help parents get more involved in their child’s education. GEMS is able to offer us a value driven, holistic education programme, state of the art facilities, smaller classroom sizes for our children, and teaching staff with exceptional experience and training. It was also a school that advocated its moral responsibility in the community, evident in the wonderful work by the Varkey Foundation. We hope this will be something that our children can become more involved with as they grow older.
The school has certainly exceeded the high expectations we had, even though it has only been a few weeks. The teachers are extremely professional, enthusiastic and passionate about what they want to achieve. The senior executive team has been of great help in welcoming each student personally at the start of the school day which has helped to create a sense of belonging amongst their students in a short period of time.
Given the small size of the school, the children are known by most of the teaching staff. They enjoy the chats they have with all the staff members each day, and meeting other children from all across the globe. The school has also begun the school year with an experiential learning programme, which has enabled all the children and teachers to spend the first few days getting to know one another outside of the classroom environment. This has been fantastic in establishing a strong rapport between both peers and teaching staff, and I think it’s critical in a student’s social and emotional development, as well as building a conducive learning environment. The school also offers violin or cello lessons to all students from Grade 1 onwards as part of their music education, and our children are all very excited about this. They have also been enjoying the Mandarin lessons, PE lessons and swimming lessons.
GWA provides a balanced international programme, which focuses upon holistic excellence across the Arts, Sports and Academics. They are in the process of seeking candidacy for the IB Primary and Middle Years programmes, and already have IB candidate status for the Diploma programme. There is equal attention to nuture creativity and sports, which is quite unique to Singapore and appealing to many families.
We’re still in the early days at the school, and the after-school- activity programme commences from the start of October. The initial information provided lists multiple activities across sports, arts and academics, including kinder golf, rock-climbing, basketball, swimming, tennis, orchestra, dance, technology and school newspaper. GWA also has a partnership with FC Barcelona to provide after-school soccer programmes – something my children are interested in joining. There’s a bus service home for the children after these extra-circular activities.
Find a school that you believe your child will thrive in, and not just survive in. Their education is a lifelong journey and it is important to find a school that can offer them a supportive framework in which to grow and develop in. Research different schools to help you decide what school might be best for your child and your family, and try to meet as many of the teaching and support staff as possible, as they ultimately will be the people influencing your child on a daily basis. Ask lots of questions, and in the end, go with your gut instinct.
It’s community spirit in a truly international environment, with students coming from all over the globe. Our children are making friends with children from different countries and the school is still small enough that they still get to see each other on the playground at lunchtime. As a new school, there is so much enthusiasm, drive and energy. It’s a motivational environment for the students to be in.
My children will start to use the bus service next week and are excited. The bus service crew had been introduced to me, and I know the school is undertaking regular training with them to assist them in their job. My children will be travelling on a small mini bus and I feel very comfortable about that also because it means less drop off and pick ups, therefore less commuting time.
The communication has been excellent from both the executive team and also individual teachers. Any question or concerns I have raised have been addressed immediately, and feedback provided to me promptly.
The school homework policy reinforces the learning from their various classes. This starts at Grade 1 with 10-20 minutes three days per week, scaling to Grade 4 who have 30-40 minutes four days per week, with Grade 8 having 60-80 minutes of homework daily.
As we were busily preparing for our move to Singapore, we realized that the most important piece of the puzzle was finding the best school for our son, Travis. We had been living in Poland and he had attended the same school for the last five years. He was very nervous about the move and especially about changing schools.
We knew that there were many excellent schools in Singapore but we also knew that most were extremely large. We wanted our son to be special, not just a number and to get to know all the other students and teachers.
For us, we selected GEMS as a “Founding Family”, because our son would not be the only new student at the school. Instead, everyone there would also be new.
We were very familiar with the common core curriculum taught in U.S. schools and felt the hands-on integrated approach of IB would better fit our son’s learning style. The teachers were all very experienced and the school promoted a holistic approach to learning. We have been extremely pleased with our choice and would highly recommend this school.
I asked our son the other night what he liked best about GEMS World Academy (Singapore) and he said:
“Great teachers, nice classmates!
Best music program, swimming and gym classes!
What I am learning is really fun and challenging!
And of course RECESS!” .
Pam, mother of Travis, Grade 5
Being American, we initially wanted to enrol both our sons into one of the American curriculum schools as soon as we arrived in Singapore. But our older son, Austin, was placed on waitlist. So we toured 4 different schools, with the last one being GEMS World Academy (Singapore).
We were very impressed with the Head of Education, David Edwards, who talked to us about GWA values, philosophy, goals and the commitment to providing the best environment for higher level learning opportunities. We were hooked when we learned about the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme provided from Kindergarten through High School. This type of values-driven education prepares children for life. It definitely sets the bar for superior education standards in Singapore. This was evident in the "out-of-the-box" thinking when they started the school term with the off-campus Experiential Learning Programme which brought students together for team-building exercises focused on collaboration and engagement.
Our son Austin had a very difficult time adjusting both personally and academically, as moving to Singapore was a huge change for him. But the teachers and staff at GWA took an active role in his success. They helped him learn how to adapt to any environment, think on his feet, and open his mind to what could be versus what is or what had been. He has been able to stretch further, dive deeper and reach higher, all with the help of his fantastic teachers.
Austin has really grown these past 6 months at GWA, and he now has the confidence to move forward with endless possibilities in the future. Because of Austin’s incredible experience at GWA, we are now transferring our youngest son, Preston, to GWA as well this fall, as he enters Grade 3.
The GWA team reflects the true love for teaching children and we have witnessed the superior academic standards of their dedicated professionals.
While we entered GWA with some reservations, they have far exceeded our expectations in every way. They are truly committed to providing a learning environment that develops a much broader scope with intellectual, personal and social skills, in order to thrive in our ever-changing global world. With their high-tech classrooms, world-class facilities, and hands-down the best teachers in the industry, we are confident that they will soon become the international school of choice, not only here in Singapore, but around the globe.
Cyndi and Curtis,
with sons Austin & Preston
We decided on GWA based on our very good experience at Wellington International School in Dubai, which is another GEMS school, and the fact that the school was new, was going to offer excellent facilities, and that our children would have the chance to join the school from its very start. The IB programmes also appealed to us.
I am really impressed by the smooth transition from GEMS Dubai to GEMS Singapore. I am confident that if we need to move again that moving to another GEMS school will also be smooth for my kids.
Our two children very much enjoy the school environment, the facilities and subjects that are provided and the very engaging style of teaching. They also enjoy learning under the IB programmes.
We value the school most for the engagement and commitment of all the teaching staff to our children’s education with the focus on helping the children to achieve the best they can within their limits. We especially value the excellent learning support and additional assistance from the teaching staff that has been provided. The facilities offered by the school are also excellent.
Ratana and Nicholas
with children Jessica and Thomas
Moving to Singapore was like a conscious decision as there are better training opportunities and more international experience and exposure. We were looking at a school which focuses on both sports and academics…with much more engagement from the school. What we found at GWA (Singapore) is that the school has a balanced approach.
My son is a competitive swimmer, so we were looking at a school which focuses on both sports and academics
GEMS has a High Performance Academy in Dubai, and they want to have it in Singapore as well which was of interest to us. Within the first 2 weeks of school, there were meetings with the Head of High Performance Academy.
They gone through his diet chart and understood his goals and timings. The counsellor, at the same time is making sure that Arnav is focusing well on his studies. I am very happy with how the school is giving him the attention he needs right now.
In the school, he shared with me that he feels very engaged with what he is doing. This simple sentence by itself means so much to a child, for him to feel that everybody is interested in what he is doing. GWA (Singapore) hires teachers who are specialists in their field of expertise, and this really makes the difference.
Mrs Mona Dange
with son Arnav Divaker
It was November 2014 when our business required us to move to Singapore and it was a challenging decision for us as our kids were in their mid term in Dubai.
We took this bold decision and came to Singapore, initially on a visit. Priority was to look for a good school for our kids that would accept them in the middle of their term.
Moving from Dubai where our kids resided since birth was a tough decision. Leaving friends and family behind after 16 years of continuous stay in Dubai was challenging.
We went around several schools in Singapore and the moment we entered GEMS World Academy (Singapore) both our sons decided they are going to study here. Fantastic infrastructure and friendly staff welcomed us and we all forgot the pain of leaving Dubai as kids were happy.
We must thank Mr. David Edwards, Ms. Kellie Hammond and Ms. Gillian Papin whom we met during our very first visit to the school.
Our kids felt as if they are in Dubai and nothing much has changed. Our sincere thanks to all the staff for making us comfortable and we feel proud of being founding members of this school.
We have seen the school grow since then and it gives us immense pleasure and pride to be associated with the GEMS World Academy (Singapore).
We wish the school a great success and have faith in the staff and leadership of GEMS group who are working hard to make this school a real gem of Singapore.
Naman and Vidya
with sons Nishant and Uktarsh
We just joined GEMS World Academy (Singapore) in January and our 3 boys Cristiano, Dean and Julian are more than delighted with the change.
We are an international family with roots in Ireland, France and Mauritius, and our boys were born on 3 different continents. We moved our boys to GEMS because we wanted them to be in a truly international school environment
But more importantly, we wanted them to be in a school that would foster their curiosity, creativity, and passion for learning, and that would inspire them to look beyond simple answers and facts. Ever since my older son Cristiano joined GEMS, he has been trying to understand advanced concepts, like for example, the "Bermuda Triangle", and he will debate and defend his points vigorously. We have never seen this side of him before.
Our second son Dean, asked us at 8pm following his first day at school, if he could go back to school the same evening. When we told him that school was closed he said: "I am so happy to go to school, mum, I cannot wait for it to be tomorrow!" And when we asked him what he liked so much about school, he responded, "When I speak in the classroom, my teacher really listens to me." This was the best testimony ever. And the greater self-awareness and genuine open-mindedness that GEMS has given to our son is beyond words.
As for our third son, Julian, ever since joining GEMS, he believes he is going to be a writer. He now writes pages and pages of stories, entirely from his own imagination, which is fantastic given his young age of 7. This showed us that the teachers at GEMS cultivate the thinking skills required to give our son the self-confidence to make his dream a reality even at such a tender age.
We believe the GEMS environment is a continuation of the multicultural environment in which we are raising our boys. We strongly believe that GEMS will help us create engaged learners who will develop personal skills to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect for others.
Hopefully, our three sons will become valuable global citizens and be passionate in whatever path they may choose in the future. Thank you GEMS for already making them believe that they can achieve it.
Joyce and James, with sons Cristiano, Dean and Julian
The biggest draw to GEMS World Academy was the assurance that it is an established, reputed institution, offering a well-rounded education to children. Based on my research, it was by far, the only international school in Singapore, with such a wide range of opportunities, international exposure, even scholarships to students gifted in Sports and the Arts.
What I value the most about the school is its diversity, the commitment and dedication of its teachers and the wonderful way the school supports students in their journey to be thinking, mindful, well-rounded individuals.
Avaana absolutely loves school! She hasn’t missed a day since she has joined GWA Singapore in September 2014. When your child is clearly inspired by her teachers, enjoys learning and is enthusiastic about going back to school day after day, semester on semester, to me that is the best gauge of a good school. The proof really is in the pudding! GWA has turned out to be an exceptional choice.
Meera George, with daughter Avaana