Located at the heart of the expat-friendly ASPC Compound in District 2, this popular primary school enhances the International Baccalaureate programme with some impressive sport and language courses.
One of the first things to strike you about the Australian International School (AIS) Thao Dien campus is its strong community feel. Located within the well-established ASPC Compound in Thao Dien, Xi Kindergarten is hugely popular with expats. Here’s a well-established IB primary school that has a large proportion of Australian teachers, a solid modern languages programme, and its very own sports centre.
Founded in 2006 as a small secondary school, AIS has expanded to a family of three campuses across District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. As well as the Thao Dien primary school, AIS has the Thu Thiem all-through school, and the Xi Kindergarten. Today, the school is home to more than 1,100 students from around 40 different nationalities. AIS Thao Dien offers a well-rounded education from nursery to Year 6. Here’s a mid-sized school that follows the IB’s Primary Years Programme and prepares students for taking their IGCSEs and the IBDP at AIS’ secondary school.
At the helm is head teacher Roderick Crouch, whose educational career has included schools in Australia, the UK, and the UAE. He leads a team of teachers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the UK. The school is a member of ACG, a leading provider of private education in New Zealand, and AIS is its first and only school in Vietnam.
AIS is divided between a kindergarten (from age two) and primary school (Years 1 – 6). An education at AIS begins in the self-contained kindergarten, where teachers deliver the Dynotots programme to children aged two to four years. From the age of three until Year 6, teaching is based on the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), which focuses on languages (English, Chinese, and Vietnamese), maths, science, social studies, technology, art, music (including recorder lessons), swimming, and PE.
All primary students learn Vietnamese – either the Vietnamese National Curriculum (VNC) for Vietnamese nationals or Vietnamese Language and Culture for non-Vietnamese students – and Mandarin is taught from Years 2 – 6, while French is taught in Years 5 and 6.
In all year groups, school says that technology is “used extensively in all curriculum areas” and this is supported by its dedicated computer labs equipped with iMacs. Class sizes vary between 20 – 28 depending on the year group.
Beyond the classroom
Learning extends far beyond the class walls at AIS, and the school says,
“At AIS, the students are given opportunities to undertake after school activities, join clubs, be part of leadership groups, compete in interschool competitions, enjoy camps and field trips, or be involved in fundraising for the community programs – and so be fully involved in the total life of the School.”
The school’s extra-curricular activities are led by the teaching staff, and range from hip hop dancing to cooking to sports to robotics; there’s also an English Language programme on Saturdays. The school really shines, though, when it comes to sport. AIS has a dedicated private sporting complex, the AIS Sports Centre, which is located close to the school and features a large outdoor pool, outdoor gym, netball court, basketball court, and astro-turf field. The venue is used for the school’s Kidzone programme of after-school activities, which includes swimming, basketball, karate, soccer, and tennis.
Students have various opportunities to pursue their interests, from competing in local SISAC competitions in basketball, badminton, athletics, cross country running, swimming, and football through to performing at special events such as Tet, the Moon Festival, or Open Day; a highlight in the calendar is AIS Celebrates (for primary students) and the annual production (for secondary students).
From Years 2 – 6, all students attend compulsory school camps that vary from one to four nights, depending on the year group. School camps are an integral part of the academic and outdoor education programme at AIS, and as such are considered compulsory.
AIS Thao Dien is a purpose-built campus located within the popular ASPC Compound in District 2. Facilities include science labs, art, music, design and technology studios, a large auditorium, exhibition areas, a 25m salt-water swimming pool, a learn to swim wading pool, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, astro-turf soccer field, and a huge air-conditioned indoor gymnasium.
Admission and fees
Annual tuition fees at AIS are moderate and start at VND 365,400,000 for Year 1 and increase to VND 430,500,000 for Year 6. The school does offer annual scholarships, which are awarded on academic merit, a scholarship examination, and an interview.
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