SMMIS may have moved from its cosy campus off Tanglin Road to a much larger site, but it still retains that small school, nurturing feel. Located at the end of a cul-de-sac in a quiet, residential neighbourhood, SMMIS is surrounded by condos and it’s easily accessible from the Seletar Expressway (SLE).
Read our full review of SMMIS here.
The school has a large, secure entrance with a sweeping concrete driveway. In addition to providing safe, designated drop-off areas for parents and buses bringing children to the school, there is a security gate at the entrance and all parents and visitors have to wear a security pass on campus.
The lively shade of orange on the school’s façade looks welcoming; the bold message that SMMIS is “Pursuing wisdom for a better world” is inspiring; and you walk past sandpits, brightly coloured play equipment and a Mensch (Yiddish word meaning person of integrity) bench – or student friendship bench – to get to the entrance.
There’s a tardis-effect at this school. Once inside, SMMIS’ concrete façade opens up to reveal a large three-storey school built around a striking glass-roofed atrium. The natural light flooding through the ceiling, the grass carpet (albeit fake) and the greenery help to create a positive and friendly environment.
Walking around the campus, the walls are a great reflection of the school. The wall art in the atrium features ‘books of wisdom’ titled after the schools’ core values of Love, Lifelong Learning, Kindness, Community, Honesty, Peace, Reflection, Collaboration, Justice, Creativity, Respect and Enquiry. The corridors are decorated with fresh and useful displays that honour the student’s work without looking too polished, and they show meaningful connections to the curriculum. There are many wall displays about recycling and taking responsible actions that illustrate the school’s focus on positive values.
SMMIS’ three-storey building opened in 2016, and one of the advantages of having a purpose-built campus is that the school has been able to build exactly what it needs. While there can be limitations to a school with just 500 students, SMMIS definitely has one of the key benefits of a large campus – modern specialist facilities; in this sense it delivers good value for money.
Small schools often have a better sense of community than large campuses, though, and we certainly felt this at SMMIS. The campus provides an intimate learning environment where we quickly saw that faculty, staff, and students all know one another.
The outdoor facilities give students adequate space to swim, train and play outside; there’s a swimming pool, rooftop sports pitch, and large play area equipped with climbing frames. There's also an indoor basketball court/gym.
Head inside, and there are well-lit classrooms with plenty of space for flexible learning, and drawers and cupboards with learning resources. The classrooms feature a variety of age-appropriate learning walls, themed displays and high frequency words, which all makes for a very stimulating learning environment. The children we saw were happy, learning and fully engaged.
Specialist subjects are taught in dedicated rooms including an art room, which is also used as a makerspace for activities such as robotics; well-equipped science labs; a music room; and a large theatre. These rooms may need extra resources once the school expands its recently introduced IGCSE programme, and even more so when students start their A Levels.
For the school’s youngest students, there are dedicated ground-floor classrooms, as well as a sleep room and indoor gym.
While SSMIS is not yet at full capacity, and some classes currently have less than 10 students, the school promises that its maximum class sizes will never exceed 25. There are several advantages to a school not being fully subscribed, though. It means that several classes can spread their learning across two rooms.
One is used as a dedicated classroom, where students have a more structured lesson; the other is a project-based learning room where students can work on more practical parts of the curriculum. These rooms, which have fewer desk and more open space, are filled with student displays such as world landmarks made out of Lego and building blocks; and boats made out of cardboard tubes and lolly sticks. Once the school fills up, many of these project-based learning rooms will be needed.
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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