Bilingual education has always been a key focus and strength of EtonHouse, and it has been teaching cohorts of fluent bilingual speakers, including many non-native Mandarin speakers, since 2001 – making it one of the most well-established bilingual programmes in Singapore.
Students can opt for half-day Mandarin immersion classes from Kindergarten 1 to accelerate their proficiency in the language. The fees for the bilingual immersion and the mainstream programmes – $29,310- $30,608 – are the same and are mid-range compared to other schools in Singapore. And the school performs well. In the 2021 Youth Chinese Test, students achieved a pass rate of 100%, and 30% received full marks; the majority are from non-Mandarin speaking families.
The English-Chinese bilingual programme here is a well-established programme that exposes students to a natural environment where both English and Chinese is used interchangeably between the teachers and the students, as well as amongst peers. Rather than Chinese being learnt in solitude, in a single setting, it is delivered through an immersive learning experience that follows a 50:50 model from Years 2 to 6.
Broadrick is now one of several schools offering a bilingual programme, but it definitely remains one of the smallest. Compared to much larger schools such as SAS and CIS, Broadrick is delivering its bilingual programme within a small community of 400 students where the close community feel can be felt in every corridor.
Parents praise EtonHouse for its value for money and "homelike" environment.
"There are so many ways to get involved and be active and there is no limit to the creativity that flows through the halls and classrooms. It is such a fun place! My children are learning so fast… My daughter (aged seven) reads fluently, loves learning Mandarin Chinese, as well as being able to speak it with perfect annunciation, and she is thriving.”
“The language programme and the friendly family environment that we found at EtonHouse was a fantastic help to get our girls comfortable and all the family ready to enjoy the experience of being overseas. The way EtonHouse embraces all cultural and religious beliefs is wonderful.”
Judges praised this primary school for its strong commitment to a bilingual programme dating back to 2001, its separate classes focusing on grammar, reading and writing, and the integration of Chinese art, music, calligraphy, culture, values and history into the curriculum for Chinese, together with field trips and ECAs.
The fact that there are no additional fees for the bilingual programme makes this very attractive to parents. Students can study Mandarin in the IGCSE and IB Diploma at EtonHouse International School Orchard, but is the school doing enough to continue the use of Chinese when students transition to secondary school?
Read our full review of EtonHouse (Broadrick) here.
SAS is one of Singapore’s largest international all-through schools with 700 students in early years and kindergarten and 900 in elementary. While it may be one of Singapore’s oldest international schools, SAS is constantly updating and changing its curriculum, learning environment, and teaching methods, albeit with a very deliberate “slow and steady approach”. The steady roll-out of its bilingual programme is an example of this.
Unlike many other bilingual programmes in Singapore, SAS offers its students the option to work toward building fluency in Chinese while closely following an American curriculum. The school launched its Chinese immersion programme in 2017 in Kindergarten and has rolled out new classes every year with a Grade 5 bilingual class opening in 2022-23.
It's a well-established programme that teaches Chinese through an immersive learning experience that starts with 75% of the curriculum being taught in Chinese (maths, social studies, science and language arts), and 25% in English (English language arts, art, music and PE). In Grades 2 and 3 this moves towards a 60/40 model in Chinese-English, then a 50/50 model by Grades 4 and 5.However, with priority admission given to US citizens and its high tuition fees, SAS does not offer the most widely accessible bilingual programme in Singapore.
Parents praise SAS for focusing on "each individual student and their needs".
Judges praised the school for fully embracing Chinese culture and language; for example, elementary school students communicate directly in Chinese during their service-learning work. The school supports bilingual students beyond the elementary school (there are higher level language courses as electives in the middle school and then courses including Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture), and its bilingual programme aligned to the US curriculum is unique in Singapore.
Read our full review of Singapore American School (SAS) here.