Talking Schools continues to expand! To help parents better understand the school they are interested in sending their children to, we debut our Talking Parents series where we talk to parents of the school. Find out where they are from, what they like about the school, and check out their advice for fellow parents on education.
In this edition, we say hello to Alan Hyslop, Julia Hansen, and Kris & Chad Elford from Stamford American International School.
1. Where do you live in Singapore and why do you live here? Serangoon Gardens – It is close to the school so we massively cut down on travel time, giving our children more time to be kids; we get a big house with a park next door for much less than the price of a smaller central condo; and it is more local, which as a family of half Singaporeans suits us well.
2. How many kids do you have (ages)? Three girls – 9 year old in Grade 4, 7 year old in Grade 1-Mandarin Immersion and 6 year old in Kindergarten 2-Mandarin Immersion.
3. Where is your family from originally? Like many at Stamford it's not straightforward! Scottish father (but been in Singapore on and off for 17 years), Singaporean mother, children are UK/Singapore dual nationals (and two were born in Dubai).
1. What were the 3 overriding reasons for choosing Stamford? A high and consistent standard of education and a real effort to employ a high standard of teacher, a daily mandarin program and American systems within a global context (the school population is more global than American). I’m happy to say that 3 years in I think we got exactly what we wanted, which is all the more of an achievement given the schools growth during this period.
2. Describe the school in 5 words or less. High and consistent academic standards.
3. What is your child’s favorite subject at school? Ha! I asked, they listed numerous subjects and eventually concluded “All, except the extra homework that daddy gives us!”
1. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why? Mr Grant, social studies - super fair and treated the kids as adults, never adopting the dictatorial style that most teachers (understandably) at least partially relied upon. I think there are quite a few like this at Stamford.
2. Your favorite after school activity with your kids? Apart from getting them to sleep? Daddy daughter dinner date nights (one child at a time) this way I find out what is really going on inside their wonderful heads.
3. What is your favorite memory of school? Maths, football, school trips and leaving.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Participate, particularly in the classroom and in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) community. I believe this helps parents understand that their education and community is important and contributes to developing their own internal desire to maximize their potential and contribute to the community. Passivity risks achieving the opposite.
2. Advice for parents selecting the right school? Choose the school first followed by where to live so that education is prioritized.
3. What’s the best advice a teacher or head of school ever gave you? If you grow up and be a street sweeper that is fine, but if you do, make sure it's because that is what you chose to be i.e. a better education as a child gives more choice and opportunity as an adult.
1. Where do you live in Singapore and why do you live here? Arcadia Road, off Adam road. It's very green and the kids can get outside to play easily. There is also a nice sense of community and it's only 15 mins from school!
2. How many kids do you have (ages)? 2 kids, a daughter age 6 and a son age 8.
3. Where is your family from originally? Now that is a hard question! We moved here from Miami, Florida but had only been there for 10 months. I think it's best to say we come from the USA.
1. What were the 3 overriding reasons for choosing Stamford? At the time we joined Stamford it was a small school and we liked that for our small children. Although it’s not a small school anymore it has retained its values and I still feel the Early Years Program is one of the school's strengths. We love the daily language program and the teachers.
2. Describe the school in 5 words or less. International, vibrant, growing, stimulating and fun!
3. What is your child’s favorite subject at school? They would say Physical Education! My son in Grade 2 also likes math enrichment and my daughter in Kindergarten 2 likes music with Mr. David and anything with her homeroom teacher Ms. Cotton.
1. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why? There are two, my Kindergarten teacher Ms.Brothers as she sang songs and played the piano, making learning fun and my Art History teacher in senior year of high school, Joe Osman. When he lectured he was very dynamic and on a class trip to a museum the paintings and sculptures came alive with the stories he told.
2. Your favorite after school activity with your kids? We like to scooter from our condo to Cluny Court for cinnamon toast. Our favorite thing to do at the moment would be lip syncing contests.
3. What is your favorite memory of school? Being in high school musicals and a member of the Student Council. We had great school spirit, our Football team was undefeated for 3 years, Friday pep rallies were so much fun!
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Being a class parent is a wonderful way to get to know and support your child's teacher and your child, with the added bonus of knowing all the kids they hang out with every day.
2. Advice for parents selecting the right school? Know your child's strengths and weaknesses. Does the school have the correct support for these things?
3. What’s the best advice a teacher or head of school ever gave you? My high school Principal once said "You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it. Why are you messing around, get to work!" I’ve never forgotten that
1. Where do you live in Singapore and why do you live here? We live in "The Minton" condominium, in Serangoon which is centrally located between the school and my husband's work in Tai Seng. The condo seemed like a good choice as we had never lived in a high density housing complex and we thought it would be a good way to meet people and for the kids to benefit from the amenities and social interaction after school.
2. How many kids do you have (ages)? We have two kids: one in Grade 4 (10 years old) and one in Grade 1 (7 years old).
3. Where is your family from originally? We were all born in Calgary Alberta Canada. Although we spent time in the USA (Santa Clara) we wanted to ensure our kids were made in Canada. However, prior to coming to Singapore we spent two years in Sydney, Australia which made the transition to Singapore (Asia for beginners) a little easier.
1. What were the 3 overriding reasons for choosing Stamford? Location, an innovative approach to ICT (Technology) and Sports and the school's facilities.
2. Describe the school in 5 words or less. G.R.E.A.T. Grand - Remarkable - Encouraging - Academics - Teachers & Technology
3. What is your child’s favorite subject at school? Swimming in her Physical Education class for my daughter and Math & ICT for my son.
1. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why? Mr. Gauthier, my grade six teacher. She gave me confidence and taught me to believe in myself (Kris). And Mr. Taven, who taught Physics and coached the Rugby and Football team. He made science cool and he wasn't a geek! (Chad).
2. Your favorite after school activity with your kids? Swimming in our lap pool at the condo and riding bikes together in Bishan Park on the weekends.
3. What is your favorite memory of school? We both enjoyed participating in Athletic Teams representing our school.
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education?Participate in the classroom setting as a volunteer, help out with extra-circular activities and get involved in the PTA so you can understand the pulse of the community and help foster the environment in which our kids spend so much time. The key is to have a better understanding of the world the kids are engaged in by being in it with them - as much as our busy schedules allow.
2. Advice for parents selecting the right school? Consider all options and allow the kids to be a part of the process. For us it came down to curriculum, location and extra curricular activities. Our time in Singapore is potentially limited and we wanted to give the kids the best possible setting to prepare them for whatever adventure is next.
3. What’s the best advice a teacher or head of school ever gave you? Believe in yourself. Always expand your horizon by trying new things and benefit from being well rounded in your studies.