British International School, Ho Chi Minh City will open a fourth campus in the city in early 2018 – a purpose-built early years and infant school offering a British education from nursery through to Year 2.
For more than 20 years, British International School, Ho Chi Minh City has been taking children on a learning path from nursery age through to sixth form. In January 2018, BIS opened a dedicated Early Years and Infant Campus, which offers children all the benefits of purpose-built facilities, Reggio Emilia-inspired design, flexible timings, and specialist programmes.
BIS Early Years and Infants is the latest addition to the much larger BIS family of schools. BIS has the Tu Xuong primary campus in District 3 and nearby primary and secondary campuses in An Phu, District 2. The BIS group also includes three British Vietnamese International Schools (BVIS), with campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Located in the residential area of Thao Dien in District 2, this new campus is designed exclusively for little people from birth to six years. Previously, early years classes have been taught at BIS’ primary schools in An Phu and Tu Xuong.
All BIS schools are part of the Nord Anglia network of schools, which has built up a reputation for its innovative teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), as well as its global campuses. Since opening in 1997 as a small pre-school, the BIS group has grown rapidly to admit around 2,100 students from more than 50 countries across its three campuses. Rated as an “outstanding school” in its British Schools Overseas (BSO) inspection, BIS has a strong academic record in IGCSEs and the IBDP.
Typical of good independent schools in the UK, BIS has an active house system, provides a wide range of educational visits and after-school activities, and recognises British culture in annual events such as the Poppy Appeal, carol concert, spring fete, pantomimes, and the option of traditional British food in the school canteens.
92% of the teachers are UK qualified, and the head teacher is British-born Anthony Rowlands, who had 13 years’ experience in UK education before moving to work in South East Asia schools; in April 2012, Anthony became founding principal of BIS Hanoi before moving to become principal of BIS HCMC in August 2017. In line with UK schools, the academic year runs from August to June and has three terms.
BIS Early Years and Infants offers its bespoke Fundinotots programme to all children aged 0 – 36 months (parents must attend with their child). Activities including painting, soft play, sand pit, water play, storytelling, large play apparatus, library time, and music sessions are held in an informal setting. Two-hour sessions are held daily, and it’s a very friendly and social class for parents and children alike.
BIS has pre-nursery, nursery, and reception classes for children aged two to four years. It offers a very British education that follows the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) programme, and is strongly focused on communication and language, physical development, and personal, social, and emotional development.
The school says,
“Teachers are dedicated to creating a genuine love of learning within each child. By freely using art, craft, music and language in conjunction with the teaching of academics, learning becomes a living, creative process.”
In Years 1 and 2, the school follows the National Curriculum for England for English, maths, and science, and the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for humanities, art, and design technology. Known for its creative and thematic approach to teaching, IPC focuses on developing individual strengths in these subject areas; for example, students will explore the impact of tourism following a residential trip to Hoi An. Nord Anglia schools are well-known for enhancing their British syllabus with the IPC, and this helps students to develop a global outlook and appreciate different cultures.
As well as a programme of personal, social, and health education, there are specialist classes in music, ICT, PE, swimming, Vietnamese culture, and modern languages including French, Spanish, and Mandarin. All Vietnamese nationals must attend a compulsory after-school Vietnamese language class; this is optional for all other students.
This new campus is child-friendly in every sense: classrooms are arranged in small clusters around large multi-purpose areas; a swimming pool is designed for wading and learning to swim; outdoor spaces encourage discovery and play; and there are dedicated outdoor learning spaces including a rooftop garden and sunken courtyard garden.
The school is well-equipped with environmentally friendly furniture, and has been designed with plenty of sustainability features; as a result, it is the first school in Vietnam to be awarded Green Lotus Certification.
Admission and fees
Tuition fees range from VND 226,800,000 for nursery up to VND 473,300,000 for Year 2.
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