Education Briefs

New joint campus for early learners

Two international schools are collaborating to open a $200 million Early Learning Campus next July.

Australian International School (AIS) and Stamford American International School (SAIS) have unveiled the school, being built in Lorong Chuan on a 1.4ha site with five buildings of seven storeys.

The two schools will share the campus, which can accommodate more than 2,000 children, offering their own curricula and yearly schedules, with separate buildings and classrooms for each school. AIS operates on the Australian schedule, from January to November, while SAIS' semesters run from August to June, like American schools.

Explained SAIS superintendent Eric Sands: "We needed their support and they needed our support... but our respective communities had different requirements, for our older students to later take the IB (International Baccalaureate) and go to American universities, while for them (AIS students) to primarily go to Australian universities."

They will also share facilities such as playgrounds and a 22m covered swimming pool, as well as collaborate on things such as swimming classes, co-curricular activities and a breakfast club, for children who arrive early in the morning, said Dr Sands.

The two schools currently operate their early-years programme, spanning pre-school and kindergarten, from their respective campuses - AIS in Lorong Chuan and SAIS in Woodleigh Lane.

The children, aged 18 months to six years, will begin classes at the new campus next July, freeing up space for the older students at the current sites. Fees start from $14,000 a semester.

Smart way to track kids' spending

About 200 pupils from St Joseph's Institution Junior and Anchor Green Primary School recently completed a trial in which smart watches or student cards were used to track pupils' spending.

Parents first assign their children a daily allowance, linked to their bank accounts. The pupils then tap their watches or cards against terminals to pay for their purchases of food or stationery, drawing down from their parents' accounts. They can also check how much of their spending money is left at a kiosk in the canteen.

At the end of the day, any amount left will be channelled back to the parent's or to the child's own savings account.

Parents can check on their children's spending through an app, or up the spending limit if, say, the child had to stay late in school and needed more money for food. They can also monitor what their children are buying.

The scheme also benefits canteen operators, who can more easily monitor their earnings, which are automatically transferred to their bank accounts the next day.

Cash can be used if the children forgot their watches or cards.

If the devices were lost, parents can disable them remotely.

POSB, which was behind the trial for POSB Smart Buddy, hopes to introduce it to more schools as part of its POSB National School Savings Campaign.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2016, with the headline 'Education Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe