image by kefuoe

Wow, my kids are starting back at school on Monday after what seems like MONTHS of holidays. I actually pulled Ben out of his Kindergarten after the second of four terms as I knew he was to start Chatsworth International School before his third term of Kindergaten had finished. This meant that he really has had months of holidays.

As an expat living in Singapore with pre-school/primary aged children at different schools, one of the most annoying things is holidays not coinciding. For us it always meant pulling Ben out of Kindergaten for a couple of weeks if we wanted to go on holiday as a family. This doesn't really matter for him, but when you're over the top fees for a 4 year old's kindy, it starts to get irksome.

The Singapore schools follow the Singapore School calender of course (they get a month's holiday in May/June, 6 weeks at the end of the year, and a week in March and September), but the international schools follow whichever calender they choose. Most schools are on the Northern Hemisphere calender, with a long "summer" holiday in June/July/August, while others such as the Australian School follows the Australian calender. This means that they have their long holiday over Christmas, which is summer downunder.

International schools also enjoy all the local Religious Holidays throughout the year. These include Vesak Day(May), National Day (August), Hari Rayah Puasa (October), Deepavali (October), Hari Raya Haji (December) and Chinese New Year (usually 2 days in January/February).

I guess this is just one of the odd things about being an expat. There always seems to be someone in the street on holidays, and so it is difficult to keep up with the comings and goings sometimes. At least now for my family, the kids will have the same holidays. Things really do get easier as the kids get older!

PS. I couldn't resist this photo, found on Flickr. Aren't they adorable!


Andrea said... @ August 23, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Thanks!! We've tossed around whether to homeschool, go to international school or Singapore schools. We currently homeschool which would provide a very flexible schedule for us but think we lean towards international mostly to get involved and meet people. We also feel it will enhance their cultural experience. We just have no idea which one!

Milly said... @ August 23, 2008 at 7:20 AM

Hi Andrea,
I admire anyone who homeschools their children-it takes dedication, patience and a lot of sacrifice. I am assuming there are lots of resources for you and that wouldn't change if you moved here. Homeschooling in Singapore is becoming more popular, and there are support groups. There are also tons of activites that your kids (and you) could get involved with to learn more about the culture and meet friends.
Regarding international schools, they are all of high quality, it just depends on the curriculum you want. Also, in your case I may suggest you consider one of the smaller schools if your kids are used to homeschooling. The American School, for instance, has 3800 students enrolled which may be a little intimidating. Chatsworth, on the other hand has only 720. It is small enough to feel friendly and welcoming and I think the children feel nurtured there. ISS is situated in a very central location, but I don't know anyone who goes there so cannot give you any details.
You need to decide soon though, as most of the schools have long wait lists.
Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with...there is plenty to write about, so I will write another post soon!

Andrea said... @ August 23, 2008 at 7:58 AM

Very helpful information. I really can't thank you enough. We will not officially know whether we're coming until first of 2009. This is making it quite difficult for us to plan for the 09-10 school year. We'll do what we can and if nothing else, we do know that homeschool is definitely an option for us.

I'm sure my husband's company will be helpful with all of our needs but having your information to think about ahead of time is just very helpful.

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