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N’s International School Experience (Part 1)

One huge benefit of our relocation to Jakarta is that N gets to attend an international school. There are so many things we love about his school and the education he is getting now, so I’m going to split it up into a few posts.

The Grade Ones are currently learning about “The Scientific Method” and had a session with “guest scientists” on Tuesday. The topic was introduced the week before, and the kids were asked to draw their versions of scientists. They also came up with good descriptions of what a scientist is and what scientists do.

N’s drawing

Information charts done by his teacher

On the day of the experiments, the kids were all given lab coats and safety goggles to wear, which made them feel like “real scientists”.

The outfit

His teacher briefed the class on how to behave like scientists, which was a recap of what they had learnt the week before.

The students from the three Grade One classes were mixed and divided into three groups, so that each group contained students from all three classes. The groups then rotated among the three classrooms, where they watched the “guest scientists” perform experiments, before trying out the experiments on their own. (The Oobleck one is really fun, and I’m definitely going to recreate it at home with my kids!)

The three experiments

The children were encouraged to give their hypotheses, and they participated enthusiastically. It was so wonderful seeing them speak up boldly, and every response was acknowledged without being “corrected”. There was a genuine willingness to learn and explore, and they had so much fun doing the experiments with the parent volunteers.

After their break, the students worked in groups to examine glass jars filled with a mix of items, and to record their observations.

I love that the kids get plenty of hands-on learning experiences, and that there is a lot of collaborative learning as well. I feel that this teaches the children important life skills such as how to work both independently as well as together with others, how to be more observant and how to draw conclusions from one’s observations.

I don’t know what the Singapore education system is like at the moment, since I haven’t been teaching for almost eight years now, and it’s been quite a few decades since I was in Primary One, but I do know that my own P1 experience wasn’t like this at all. N is indeed very blessed to be able to have this experience in an international school here in Jakarta, and it is the main thing that we will miss when we relocate back to Singapore.

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