There's a truly international student population at the Australian International School Bangkok (Sukhumvit Soi 20) where learning focuses on the inquiry-based Australian curriculum, STEAM and innovation.
This early years' campus prepares pre-schoolers to take on the challenges of primary school with a curriculum that follows Australia's creative and inquiry-based teaching techniques.
Located in the quiet but central residential area of Sukhumvit 20, AISB Sukhumvit Soi 20 teaches children from nursery (18 months) through to the first year of primary school (Year 1). It is part of a group of schools that includes AISB Sukhumvit Soi 31, which runs from Year 1 through to Year 8, and the Koala nursery at its Ramintra campus. The majority of students here are Thai, Australian, or American.
Teaching blends the Australian curriculum, which is internationally recognised for its strength in creativity and thinking skills, with syllabuses from education systems in the UK, US, Canada, and New Zealand. Nursery levels follow the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, and Year 1 teaching is based on the Australian National Curriculum.
Teachers in all classes use inquiry-based, real world teaching and learning techniques, which is what differentiates AISB from other international schools in Thailand. Thai is compulsory in all year groups and there are specialist classes in library, computing, visual arts, music, and swimming.
There are around 220 students on the campus, the majority of which continue their education at the Soi 31 campus. A high proportion of children here are from American Embassy families, and many children walk to school from one of the many private compounds in the vicinity.
The school says:
“We cater up to Year 8 at our other campus, and there's an automatic flow for students to move there. Parents only have to pay a one-time registration fee, which is valid until Year 8.”
Class sizes are fairly low: Nursery 1 is set at a maximum of 14; K1 is 15; K2 is 18; and Year 1 is 18.
From 3 years old, children start wearing a uniform that looked hardwearing and comfortable.
AISB Sukhumvit Soi 20 is a cosy, compact campus in the heart of central Bangkok. Tucked away in a side street, and far enough away from the busy Sukhumvit Road, AISB has a traditional, homely feel. It's an older school that feels 'lived-in' and well-established, but has a surprising number of facilities for such a small school. The Australian spirit of the school shines through, with colourful murals of Australian wildlife and classrooms named after Aussie animals.
As well as large classrooms, AISB has a canteen serving hot meals, a fenced-off swimming pool, small sports pitch, and a small play area with sand-pit, swings, and climbing equipment. There's also a tiny workshop where the school director Greg Cairnduff teaches small groups various design and building skills. The school says:
"Many children live in high-rise buildings so they can't do these types of activities at home. We've made the best use we can of a small plot of land, and even made space for a hydroponic garden for them."
The school shares facilities with the main Sukhumvit Soi 31 campus, including the AISB Innovation Centre. Children of all ages can enjoy a hands-on introduction to STEAM at this outstanding centre, which boasts a digital technology and robotics lab; science, engineering, and mathematics lab and Makerspace; multimedia centre; visual art and design technology studio; food technology kitchen; innovation hub; and music and movement centre. There aren't many, if any, early years campuses that can offer such an programme of STEAM activities.
Students also use the dedicated AISB Sports Centre at Sukhumvit Soi 31 for regular PE and swimming lessons.
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