This small but well-established, centrally located primary school balances a truly Dutch education with an international curriculum that teaches English as a second language.
Describing itself as a “Dutch-language school with an international dimension”, Hollandse School (HSL) has been educating Dutch expats in Singapore for nearly 100 years. Located in Bukit Timah, HSL is a popular school for families from the Netherlands and Dutch Belgium, and has a much greater focus on the language than the small number of international schools offering weekly Dutch lessons here. This is an international school where Dutch children can retain their native language at the highest level and learn English as a second language.
HSL offers the Dutch curriculum for the core subjects, as well as the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) in Dutch, and part of the UK National Curriculum for English. Students get one hour of English per day in streamed classes. Teaching of the IPC adds an important international element to the curriculum here, and covers various subjects ranging from geography, biology and social studies to arithmetic and language.
The maximum class size in Groups 1 to 8 is 24.
As well as offering sports lessons on and off the timetable, HSL has an existing programme of after-school activities that includes art lessons, drama, chess, technical Lego, typing, and even circus lessons! The school celebrates Dutch culture through events such as Sinterklaas, Easter, Kingsday and Christmas, as well as local and international festivals like Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya.
Children aged two to four years can enrol in the preschool ‘Jip en Janneke’, which is led by one English-speaking and two Dutch-speaking teachers. Both languages are spoken throughout the day in these classes to "provide a good balance between Dutch and English".
There are around 300 students in the primary school and 45 pre-schoolers at Jip & Janneke. The majority of students at HSL comes from the Netherlands and Belgium, and some from Dutch or international schools overseas. It's a school with a strong close-knit community, where "everyone knows each other by name and everyone is really ‘seen’." There's a no-uniform policy which contributes to the homely feel of this school.
The school says:
"If our pupils return to the Netherlands, they will have no problem entering primary or secondary education and will also have a huge advantage when it comes to English language skills. They will also be able to enter international secondary education without any problems, either in Singapore or elsewhere."
The principal Meino Meines has been at HSL since 2014, and his previous positions include the PWA school in Woking, UK and the Panaga School in Brunei amongst others. He has worked in several IPC schools. The majority of teachers are Dutch-speaking and recruited from the Netherlands and Belgium.
The school is small but well-equipped with classrooms, two English resource rooms, music room, art room, children’s kitchen, Learning Support Centre, library, sports field and a large gymnasium. There is a separate building for the Jip & Janneke pre-school.
Primary school fees are $23,150, which is mid-range for international schools in Singapore, and its admissions costs of $3,745 are among the lowest. As expected, one of the admissions requirements is the ability to speak Dutch.
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