The latest of the EtonHouse pre-schools to add a Primary provision to their offering, EtonHouse Sentosa offers families preferring to keep their children in a small "boutique" environment, the option of an IB PYP curriculum until the end of year 3.
Housed in a 3-storey heritage building, located in the heart of Sentosa amidst lush greenery, EtonHouse Sentosa offers the established EtonHouse parent-accompanied playgroup for children from 9 months, the Reggio Emilia influenced bilingual programme for children aged 18 months to 6 years and extends to a Primary programme for children to aged 8 years.
The Primary School welcomed its first students in August 2017, offering the IB PYP (Primary Years Programme) curriculum in common with EtonHouse Thomson, EtonHouse Orchard and EtonHouse Broadrick. The Sentosa location allows for the incorporation of an outdoor programme that will include adventure and beach sports, and a nature education element which will offer opportunities for students to spontaneously go out of their classrooms or outdoors with their teachers to facilitate their investigation, observations and research.
The School Principal is Lisamarie Hughes, who is a specialist in Early Childhood Education. Lisa is originally from Wales. Looking for a new challenge, Lisa and her husband Mark moved to EtonHouse Singapore to continue their education careers in 2005. An experienced EtonHouse team member, Lisa was Assistant Principal at EtonHouse Outram, Vice Principal at EtonHouse International Pre-School at 718 Mountbatten Road and Principal at EtonHouse Claymore, prior to taking over the role of Principal at Sentosa.
"My greatest inspiration comes from a fantastic thought shared with me during my study trip to Reggio Emilia in Italy where they posed the question, "How can we make the ordinary extraordinary?" This drives me and the ethos at our school."
The EtonHouse International Pre-School Sentosa curriculum is based on the philosophies of the Reggio Emilia educational project from Italy. This offers a child-led, enquiry based programme that supports the growth and development of inquiring minds. Children are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves using multiple forms including dialogue, singing, movement, drawing, painting, designing and constructing, collage, dramatic play and music.
The curriculum centres around an approach based on each individual child's strengths and abilities, with a strong focus on the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. This is offered in a bilingual (English/Mandarin) language environment.
The curriculum recognises the benefits of providing a learning environment that promotes continuous positive development of social, cognitive, emotional, physical, and creative strengths, enabling children to explore values, broaden communication skills, collaborate and engage in group problem solving experiences, make personal choices, develop and present ideas and theories.
EtonHouse Sentosa Primary School offers the IB PYP programme supported by the International School campus on Broadrick Road in the East Coast. On completion of year 3, students will be offered the option of transfer to the EtonHouse Thomson (to year 6) and the new Orchard campus for upper primary and secondary years.
A feature of the Primary School is its small class sizes, with two teachers per class – this follows the EtonHouse bi-lingual approach where both a native English and a native Chinese speaker support students. EtonHouse describes the school as “a boutique environment” which, unlike a large primary school setting, will give each child dedicated and individualised support.
A bilingual immersion programme will be offered in the primary years as a continuation from pre-school. English Additional Learner, English intensive and tailored learning support programmes is also offered.
The primary school incorporates an Edtech learning suite where children will develop skills in coding, programming, multimedia authouring, animation and 3D gaming. An indoor gymnasium, design and technology suite and visual arts studio is provided.
Classrooms and spaces have been designed based on early years’ research and furniture and equipment have been selected with young learners in mind. A wide range of facilities are offered at Sentosa so that “the children use the whole school as an aquarium of learning”, including spacious classrooms flooded with light and views of the island, specialist studios for explorations into light, art, storytelling and building connections to Mandarin culture, a dining room with children’s kitchen, an indoor playground with a tree house designed around a Kampung House (Malay traditional houses constructed by indigenous ethnic Malay) and spiral staircases reflective of old Singapore architecture.
In keeping with the historical perspective and architecture of the property, the school features a special heritage centre to offer children and families a glimpse of Singapore in its early years. Facilities also include a large indoor play area and dedicated ateliers for light exploration, visual arts and storytelling.
The ‘Island is my Garden’ programme offered in pre-school will extend to the primary years and include regular PE and sports, as well as activities such as beach volleyball, adventure sports and nature trails. Outside, children have access to a range of play and educational spaces which surround the building, with a front bike track, side terrace hosting a sandpit and rock garden and a spacious back garden with a tree ecosystem, science and water walkway, planting zone and a slide/swing woven into the natural landscape.
A strong relationship between parents, children and staff is encouraged. Teachers are chosen based on their ability to care and offer warmth, expertise and understanding to young children and their families. Interaction between different age groups is also encouraged so that children come together across class groups to learn in a social context. A new Parent Den on campus also supports parents with connecting over coffee/tea and enables them to develop a sense of community.
The extension of the EtonHouse Sentosa offering to introduce two additional years in the new Primary school will doubtless prove convenient for families already using the pre-school facilities or families new to the island who may wish to evaluate the EtonHouse experience. Longer-term, though, if they wish to continue within the EtonHouse fold, a move to either EtonHouse Orchard or the new EtonHouse International School (Middleton), will be needed.
EtonHouse Sentosa is a very small environment with current plans and space only for one Primary 1 (K2) class and a shared Year 2/3 class. This is a very different environment to the two campuses to which children are encouraged to transfer and an important factor for parents to consider when deciding whether to make use of the extended Primary facility or take the steps towards a larger school environment immediately following pre-school. With fees set at SGD $ 32,100 throughout, this is also an expensive option.
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