There's a truly international student population at the Australian International School Bangkok (Sukhumvit Soi 31) where learning focuses on the inquiry-based Australian curriculum, STEAM and innovation.
It's not just the Australian curriculum that sets this international school apart from the rest – this primary school has built up a reputation for its innovative teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), its focus on swimming, and its programme of modern languages.
Located in the quiet but central residential area of Sukhumvit 31, AISB Sukhumvit Soi 31 teaches children from Year 1 through to Year 8. It is part of a group of schools that includes AISB Sukhumvit Soi 20, which runs from nursery (18 months) through to the first year of primary school (Year 1), 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 Years 1-8 teaching is based on the Australian National Curriculum. Teachers in all classes use inquiry-based, real world, teaching and learning techniques.
Thai is compulsory in all year groups; from Year 2, students choose to study either French, Mandarin or Japanese, which are all taught by native speakers. All students have chess lessons as part of the curriculum, which the school says is "an old traditional favourite that has embedded itself within the AISB culture and philosophy". Students are assessed in Years 3, 5 and 7 through the Australian National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).
AISB's biggest talking point though is its AISB Innovation Centre, which brings STEAM to life in its digital technology and robotics lab; science, engineering and mathematics lab and Makerspace; multimedia centre; visual art and design technology studio; food technology kitchen; the innovation hub; and music and movement centre. Here's a school that is dedicated to giving its students hands-on opportunities to be 21st century learners, something that can be lacking in some international schools in Thailand, particularly at primary level.
The modern campus, which is close to Bangkok's main thoroughfare of Sukhumvit Road, has a dedicated AISB Sports Centre that is used for daily PE lessons and team sports. AISB also offers an excellent range of sporting, cultural, creative arts, and practical after-school activities, and its chess and woodwork programmes have both scored highly in inter-school tournaments.
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