Singapore / Singapore North East / Serangoon / Australian International School Early Learning Village

Australian International School Early Learning Village Experience

Australian International School has partnered with two other international schools to run Singapore’s largest pre-school. It offers an IB education, specialist language and music classes, a wide choice of CCAs and a sprawling child-friendly campus – but it all comes at a high price.
At a glance
School type
School phase
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
Availability 2023/24
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Jan to Dec
Mr Adam Patterson

Nearby nurseries

0.1km • IB PYP curriculum
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Australian International School Early Learning Village Experience

First impressions

• Conveniently located on the AIS campus
• Can be accessed externally or from within the AIS
• Open from two months to six years

There was plenty of publicity surrounding the opening of the Early Learning Village at Australian International School in September 2017 – and a mixed reaction. Described as the “world’s largest pre-school” with the capacity for more than 2,000 children, is it impressive or overwhelming? It is a shared campus with the Stamford American International School (SAIS), but is this a positive use of shared space or a conflict of interests?

Read our review of AIS here.

As we walked into The Village with an open mind we were impressed, surprised and reassured. From the outside, The Village doesn’t look towering or vast even though it does cover an area equivalent to seven football pitches. Here’s an early learning village that has outstanding facilities, a creative Reggio Emilia-inspired design, and plenty of flexible learning space. For a pre-school that has fees ranging from $21,418-33,646, though, you should expect something special.

AIS says: “There are two very distinct sides of the campus – the AIS side and the SAIS side – and parents tend to prefer one or the other.”





The Village is a 50,000 square metre shared campus between AIS and SAIS (both Cognita schools), but AIS has the advantage of having it next to its main campus; SAIS, however, is located a 10-minute drive away. There’s a dedicated external entrance and you can also enter The Village via a bridge from the main AIS campus; lined with musical, wooden play equipment we heard that students find it hard to leave here at the end of the day!

We can understand the appeal of The Village to existing AIS parents, who can now enrol all their children into one campus that offers an education from two months up until 18 years. The school has staggered pick-up times for different year groups, to help parents with siblings, and there’s a choice of two cafes to wait in if needed!

Read more about The Village here.

Campus tour

• Half of the campus dedicated to AIS students
• Very spacious rooms, outside play decks on every floor
• Wide choice of facilities, some shared with SAIS







We were interested to see how The Village is shared between the two schools, but it appears to work very well. Each school has its own ‘half’ of the building, with dedicated classrooms, facilities, outdoor play areas and a private entrance. The schools then share The Hive, which includes a sports hall, and a 22m indoor swimming pool. While we were there, the sports hall was divided by a screen, and there was an AIS PE lesson in one half, and a SAIS PE lesson in the other half of the hall. It seems to be an easily workable solution, and only stands out because the students are wearing two different uniforms.

AIS says: “One of the benefits is that we can have larger resources such as a swimming pool and large sports hall because we are sharing them with SAIS. The two schools can together provide students with facilities like these, which small schools could not possibly support. There’s a third of the year when we are not on the campus together as our academic year runs from January to December, and SAIS runs from September to June.”

We were impressed at how the architects have managed to make a large building feel so small, and therefore less overwhelming to its pint-sized tenants. Each floor of the seven-storey building has hubs of classrooms that help to create a welcoming, village-like experience. Every classroom has its own dedicated external play area, and there are shared areas in the centre of each floor including a teaching kitchen, mini-library, resource centre, and open shared areas. The younger years have nappy changing, sensory rooms and sleeping areas. The Village also has a library, gym with plenty of soft play equipment, and its own medical centre with a nurse always on-site.




The Village boasts a variety of modern facilities that you won’t find in smaller pre-schools – a swimming pool, a flexible multi-purpose hall, specialist classrooms and plenty of outdoor play decks. One of the advantages of such a large campus is that there’s plenty of space, which can be rearranged for different teaching set-ups. It also helps to simplify daily routines as the children have more toilets and washbasins, more room to wait in line for their turn, and dedicated quiet areas for naptime.

AIS says: “We have a learn to swim programme at AIS that starts with the very little ones and their parents in the pool together. Our aim is to make sure that every child is safe in the water by the time they leave the school.”

There are some disadvantages to a pre-school of this size, though. As we walked around the campus some areas felt empty and lacking in character. It can be challenging to fill so much space with furniture, artwork and displays; The Village has only been open for a year, however, so it does need some time to feel ‘lived in’.

Overall, it felt calm, stimulating and welcoming as we walked through the corridors of The Village. One downside, though, is that children need to use the lift to move between floors, although there is a staircase for older ones.

In the classroom

• Flexible learning spaces
• Every classroom has its own outdoor area
• Reggio Emilia-style classrooms





The Village is divided into pods for different age groups, each one named after an Australian animal including the possum, wallaby and cockatoo, and children follow floor markings to find their classroom. It’s a nice design touch, and one that helps children to navigate their way round a large campus.

AIS says: “The children are often looking down, so these signs make sense to them.”

From the infant care pod through to the prep pod, all the classrooms are well-lit, large and have a very neutral, earthy and wooden décor. Described by the school as “Reggio Emilia-inspired”, we expected the rooms to be innovative, inspiring and the third teacher – and we weren’t disappointed.

There were plenty of spacious, flexible spaces which could be adapted for different lessons ranging from drama to music. During our tour we saw one room transformed into a temporary drama studio with children dressing up from an overflowing box of costumes, and another room where children sat on the carpet listening to a story.







Every classroom has its own outside play area compete with sandpit, water tray and plenty of learning resources and age-appropriate toys. We particularly liked the child-sized doors that link these two learning spaces, as well as the natural lighting, the walls covered in children’s artwork, and the themed displays for learning. We could see many examples of how the school has been thoughtfully designed for the two-six year age group, from the child-height doors and windows to the handrails on the stairs.

Other standout design features include the large round windows at child height that look into each class, the green living walls, and the way in which classrooms were divided into different zones for learning. Seeing how teachers interact with the children speaks volumes, and we saw plenty of happy, confident pre-schoolers and engaging teachers.

Outside, there are play decks on every floor equipped with climbing equipment, mud kitchens, bike tracks and sandpits. We saw several classes enjoying a morning break – and taking full advantage of having so much space to themselves. We also observed a PE class, a swim class with mums in the pool, some parents ordering a cappuccino at the café.

AIS says: “There are play areas on different levels and, because not every single child will go out to play at the same time, they have so much room to move.”

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