There is no debate about the importance of education during a child’s early years. It gives young ones a head start — and quite a significant one — in learning. From speaking to reading, counting to communicating, preschool programmes equip them with these crucial skills that bring major benefits immediately and with its positive effects still felt years later.
Genes isn’t the only determinant on how well a brain develops. It starts from pregnancy, and whether a baby receives proper nutrition then. Exposure to toxins and infections play a part too. Then, there are the child’s experiences with other people and the world — for which an enriching and experiential environment can provide a multisensory environment that allows young ones to observe, explore, question and experiment.
Here are four international schools in Asia with Early Years programmes that let children do just that:
Nexus International School (Singapore)
When it comes to preparing young children for the challenges and rigours of university and beyond, no one does it quite like Nexus International School (Singapore).
This is a process that starts early at Nexus. Early Childhood education — which begins at Nursery and Kindergarten — does more than just teach children to read, write and build the foundations of numerical and scientific understandings. It gets them to push boundaries through life-changing discoveries and connection as well.
All of this is made possible, chiefly, by specialist teachers and state-of-the-art facilities. Here, classes are small, with an average ratio of one teacher to six students. This lets teachers mentor, guide, and nurture children in their journey of creating new knowledge and gaining greater understandings. All teachers are internationally experienced while 61% of classroom assistants are degree-holders.
At Nexus’ Early Years Learning Hub, there is a large dedicated indoor and outdoor space that was designed specifically for our little learners. These spaces are filled with furniture and resources that were created just for them to help develop their independence. From mud kitchens to scooters to water-play, the learners have so much to choose from. They even have a beginner’s swimming pool for their weekly swimming lessons and specialist teachers who drop by the classroom for music and art lessons.
To learn more about the world of opportunities open for Nexus’s youngest learners, find out more here.
Branksome Hall Asia
Established in 2012, South Korea’s Branksome Hall Asia is the sister school to Branksome Hall, the 114-year-old independent girls’ school in Toronto, Canada. Similar to Branksome Hall Canada, this international school in Asia aims to nurture and develop students to be globally-minded learners and leaders.
Early Years students start their Branksome Hall Asia journey with a structured, play-based approach to education. In Junior Kindergarten Prep and Junior Kindergarten — part of Junior School — children get plenty of opportunities to create, reflect and make connections with the world around them.
The youngest members of the school community here also benefit from a collaboration between the school’s English and Information Technology departments to develop and accelerate language acquisition. Cross-school work by faculty and students from the Junior School, Middle/Senior School let children take on meaningful projects too. In one Project “Empty Bowls,” students learned about hunger and poverty awareness.
Such early exposure to the rich academic and cultural education at Branksome Hall Asia prepares children to be leaders in today’s increasingly global world. To learn more about how this leading international school does this, click here.
Jerudong International School
Jerudong International School has been offering a British curriculum for students between the ages of two and 18 since its inception in 1997. A green, clean and safe haven for children, the school welcomes children from all over the world to find their interests and talents through an education that is not only academically challenging but also seeks to develop the whole student.
Shaping reflective, engaging citizens begins in the early years at Brunei’s leading British international school. Junior Years here follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from the UK, which covers nursery, kindergarten, and reception. The EYFS is adapted to reflect the Bruneian context, thus enhancing it with opportunities for children to apply their learning to make a difference in the real world, to look for and solve problems, develop strong values, dispositions and behaviours for learning that will support students for years to come.
Students are nurtured to begin speaking, writing, and reading through engaging language programmes. They also move, play, act, and investigate throughout fun-filled days.
As stated by a British Schools Overseas Inspection representative: “The quality of teaching and learning in EYFS is outstanding because of the detailed understanding that all teachers and support staff have about each student. This understanding is underpinned by a culture of high-quality care and respect that enables every student to flourish and grow.”
At Dulwich College Beijing (DCB), education goes beyond books, bricks and mortar — it builds a bridge to the world. This is where values of resilience, confidence, respect, integrity, responsibility, open-mindedness and kindness are instilled in children from ages three to 18.
DCB’s primary teaching language is English, with a dual-language approach in Mandarin and English in Early Years. Its infant school offers children a translanguaging environment ideal for its inquiry-based approach to learning using the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the English National Curriculum standards. Age is no barrier here, which is why the school makes it their mission for infant school students to gain 21st century skills and deep understanding.
Beyond this, its setting ensures children develop holistically, with their well-being take care of and a sense of self honed. These are essential for them to grow into happy and confident individuals who will seek to explore their own interests. Indoor and outdoor environments that enable children to take risks and develop independence make this possible.
“Our school community puts students first,” says Tracey Francis, Head of the DUCKS Dulwich College Beijing. “We use values-based approaches in our interactions, behaviours, systems, and decision making. We aim to cultivate our unique differences to build a sense of belonging.”
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International