Looking to enrol your child in a bilingual school in Singapore? Consult our handy guide to pick the right international school or preschool for your child
One of the perks of living in a multicultural and multilingual country like Singapore is the easy access to bilingual education. Being bilingual has been shown to have massive social and cognitive benefits as well, and studies have shown that people who speak multiple languages have better attention spans and multi-tasking abilities, starting from as young as seven months of age! Some international schools and preschools in Singapore offer bilingual immersion programmes for languages such as French, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and more. Others have dual language teachers or co-teachers who provide equal language interaction throughout the day or even dedicated language classes. Want to find the right bilingual school in Singapore for your child? We’ve rounded up a list of bilingual international schools and preschools to help get you started.
Bilingual International Schools in Singapore
Canadian International School (CIS)
As one of the early pioneers in bilingual education in Singapore, CIS offers two bilingual programmes. Their world-class Chinese-English bilingual programme, one of the largest in Singapore, is available from pre-kindergarten to Grade 6. The strength of CIS’s programme is demonstrated in the school’s youth Chinese test scores, where CIS students consistently outperform other students in Singapore. CIS’s French-English bilingual programme also continues to expand and will be offered from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 starting August 2023. With dedicated classrooms for each language, you can rest assured that children get equal exposure to each language. Each class gets focused attention from two highly qualified, native speaking teachers who teach in alignment with the IB Primary Years Programme. Children also get to learn about the culture of each language, building authentic language fluency. The dedicated Chinese and French language pathways in secondary school help to continue bilingual learning in an age and course appropriate way, followed by diploma courses which allow students to graduate with the prestigious IB Diploma Programme bilingual diploma.
Canadian International School, 7 Jurong West Street 41 Singapore 649414
Stamford American International School (SAIS)
SAIS uses a unique one-bilingual-teacher approach for their Bilingual Program, which is for students from Pre-K to Grade 5. The model offers an approach where bilingual teachers and teaching assistants are fluent in both languages and demonstrate bilingualism as role models to the students. This allows for learning experiences to be more adaptive and supports student-led inquiry. The program gives learners equal exposure to English and Mandarin in the subjects and concepts taught within their grade. Bilingual students learn the same content as students in mainstream classes, with the main difference being that 50% of the content in Math and Unit of Inquiry (UOI) is delivered in Mandarin. To ensure continuity of curriculum programming, teachers regularly collaborate with their grade level colleagues to design lessons and share in best instructional and assessment practices. Bilingual classes at SAIS are assessed through placement tests, internal assessments and STAMP language proficiency tests developed by the University of Oregon (starting in Grade 3). All these assessments focus on evaluating proficiency in the four language domains of reading, listening, speaking and writing. Students in the bilingual program come from all over the world, including the USA, Australia, France, Japan, Korea, Singapore, India, China, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. In such a diverse community, learning together leads to a deep sense of belonging, as well as providing a safe environment to take risks and make mistakes.
Stamford American International School
Woodleigh Campus: 1 Woodleigh Lane, Singapore 357684
Early Learning Village: 3 Chuan Lane, Gate 4, Singapore 554350
EtonHouse International School
Bilingual education has always been a key focus and strength of EtonHouse International School, having nurtured many cohorts of fluent bilingual speakers, many of them are non-native Mandarin speakers too. For parents who want their children to have a strong Mandarin foundation, there is the EtonHouse ZhongHua Full Mandarin Immersion Programme in pre-school and the award-winning Bilingual Immersion Programme in primary. Students can continue taking Mandarin as a subject for IGCSE and International A-Levels. An inquiry curriculum delivered fully in Mandarin, the ZhongHua Mandarin Immersion Programme exposes children to the language for an extended period in school every day. This exclusive Mandarin-speaking environment, which many do not have at home, is essential in giving children a strong foundation in the language from a very young age. EtonHouse Broadrick was the first international school to offer a bilingual IB PYP programme in the primary years in Singapore in 2011. No matter which language learning model, the thinking and values that underpin them are aligned. Informed by research and best practices, EtonHouse believes that language is not ‘taught’ but naturally acquired through meaningful experiences based on children’s interests and an inquiry-based approach. Adopting a transdisciplinary approach to learning, students are encouraged to use Mandarin in context across different subjects, not just in explicit Mandarin language lessons.
Etonhouse International School, multiple locations in Singapore including Broadrick, Sentosa and Orchard, Singapore
Brighton College (Singapore)
Brighton College (Singapore) offers two languages: Chinese (Mandarin) and French. In Pre-Prep (Pre-Nursery to Reception) Mandarin is taught through the diligent effort of the school’s teaching team. In these classes, an English and Chinese approach to teaching supports natural language acquisition by interchanging between English and Mandarin throughout the day. It is a fluid and flexible approach, directed by the child’s interests and in line with Early Years pedagogy. In Prep (Year 1 to Year 6) Mandarin is taught by Mandarin specialist teachers at least three times per week in discrete lessons. In the classroom, Mandarin is taught through themes and topics. The intensity of the task is modified according to age-appropriateness, readiness and language proficiency level. Language is presented through songs, rhymes, language games and instructional activities. From Year 3 up, all children are exposed to a second additional language, through weekly French classes. Brighton is set to open Years 7 and 8 in August 2023, so keep your eyes peeled! Admissions are open all year round, with the next Virtual Open House happening on 14 June 2023 and the next In-Person Open House on 23 June 2023.
Brighton College (Singapore), 1 Chuan Lane, Singapore 554299
GESS – International School
GESS is a not-for-profit international school where every child gets the freedom to grow through tailored academic and talent support within a caring community. Currently, over 15 languages are offered from beginner to mother tongue level, integrated within the curriculum or conducted after school. Dedicated and professional language educators in each grade help children through their language learning journey. Starting August 2023 (academic year 2023/24), GESS will be launching a redesigned language programme for Secondary School, giving students more options – students can continue to study their mother tongue plus a foreign language like French, Spanish, Mandarin or German. GESS will also be debuting a new fully-integrated Dutch Mother Tongue Programme in IB Primary School – making them the only international school in Singapore to offer an integrated Dutch Mother Language Programme combined with the International Baccalaureate for grades 1 to 12! This will help children achieve native-level proficiency in the Dutch language and literature while benefiting from a truly international education. Families who move back to Europe will benefit from the programme enabling children to reconnect with a Dutch-speaking school system almost seamlessly. Also, Dutch-speaking graduates have an advantage when applying to universities in the Netherlands.
GESS – International School, 2 Dairy Farm Lane, Singapore 677621
Holland International School
Happy children learn better! Holland International School prioritises happiness, encouraging holistic growth in kids beyond academic pursuits – which in turn builds their confidence, leadership and life skills that are essential for thriving in the 21st century. Holland International School is one of the top three oldest international schools in Singapore, sparking a love of learning since 1920. They also have a bilingual preschool (50% English, 50% Dutch) to prepare children for their next step. At primary school, Holland International School teaches the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) in English and Dutch and both streams meet the standards of the national curricula. Regardless of the chosen track, students can look forward to an excellent education with smaller class sizes, personalised and differentiated learning, character building in co-ownership, equality and critical thinking and a safe, happy and empowering learning environment
Holland International School, 65 Bukit Tinggi Road, Singapore 289757
One World International School (OWIS)
OWIS Nanyang offers an optional Chinese-English Bilingual Programme for Primary Grades 1 to 5 designed to enhance language skills in Mandarin (Chinese) and English for learners. This programme is specifically targeted towards students who already have a certain level of language proficiency in Chinese and English and wish to expand their skills. OWIS Nanyang’s Chinese-English Bilingual Programme provides an immersive and enriching learning experience for students. Through this programme, students have the opportunity to enhance their speaking, writing, and listening skills in Mandarin and English. The Bilingual Programme is aligned with the IB PYP and follows the same inquiry-led learning approach of other Primary classrooms. By engaging in hands-on activities, collaborative group work and other stimulating tasks, children can further develop their language abilities in Chinese and English.
One World International School (OWIS), 21 Jurong West Street 81, Singapore 649075
Singapore American School
At Singapore American School, children enrolled in the Chinese immersion program go beyond simply learning the language – they use the language for learning. Through the program, students have language opportunities integrated into every moment of their school experience, allowing them to gain a deep understanding of the language and truly become global citizens. Students get to communicate directly with English and Mandarin-speaking communities on a variety of levels, gain the cultural competency of one who knows what it is to have two inner worlds based on the roots of two different languages and values. This allows students to practice critical thinking that will allow them to analyse conflicting messages or information between languages, and come to reasonable conclusions with the ability to understand two different value systems and ways of life. The Chinese immersion program at SAS was first launched with two immersion kindergarten classes in 2017-18, and has been rolled forward each academic year, bringing the program across preschool through fifth grade. Through an immersion model in preschool, children are able to acquire Chinese and English the same way they learn their first language. The pronunciation, structure, intonation, and nuances of Chinese and English are naturally and seamlessly woven into the Reggio Emilia-inspired learning environment. The 80/20 immersion to 50/50 bilingual program model helps students to build academic language in Chinese and English starting from the early learning centre, where oral language development is the primary focus.
Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Singapore 738547, email@example.com, Tel: (+65) 6360 6312
St. Joseph’s Institution International (SJI International)
SJI International Elementary School’s Bilingual Programme, launching in January 2024 (for Prep 1, Prep 2 and Grade 1 classes only), is a comprehensive bilingual programme that will give your child a head start in today’s global society. Their unique programme enables students to become equally proficient in English and Chinese. It is designed for both native and non-native speakers and follows a ten-day teaching cycle dividing the language of instruction by subject area as well as by time. The programme will not only provide students with language proficiency but also cultivate their intercultural competence, critical thinking and analytical skills. Through exposure to a wide range of ideas and cultural perspectives, students will develop increased creativity and cognitive flexibility, preparing them for their future as global citizens. SJI International’s Bilingual Programme stands out from other international schools thanks to the Two Way Immersion (TWI) Bilingual education model, which allows students to develop fluency and literacy in both English and Chinese. They also have high academic standards in Chinese, Math, and English, ensuring students receive a well-rounded education. Additionally, there’s an intensive reading programme for both Chinese and English, which helps students develop their reading comprehension and language skills.
St. Joseph’s Institution International, 490 Thomson Road, Singapore 298191, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (+65) 6353 9383
Other bilingual international schools in Singapore:
– Dulwich College (Singapore): English-Chinese bilingual programme.
– GIIS: Bilingual education in English and Mandarin.
– Hillside World Academy: Chinese-English immersion programme and added support for students’ mother tongues.
– International French School: French and English bilingual programme with language support programmes.
– Invictus International School: English-Chinese bilingual programme.
– Swiss School Singapore: Bilingual education in German and English or French and English.
Bilingual Preschools in Singapore
Established in 2006, Mulberry Learning is an award-winning preschool and the category winner of the ‘Established Brands’ award under the Singapore Prestige Brand Awards (SPBA). They pride themselves on making the preschool experience memorable and enjoyable while transforming a child into a competent explorer, an imaginative thinker, and a creative problem solver. It is the first and only preschool network in the world to be certified by the Institute for Habits of Mind™, an approach shown to help preschoolers manage distractions and better focus on the task at hand. Mulberry Learning offers Reggio Emilia-inspired learning spaces and comprehensive bilingual programmes that help children acquire an expressive vocabulary of over 4,500 English words and more than 2,000 Chinese words, master over 80 Chinese idioms, and recite 16 Chinese poems by the age of 6!
Mulberry Learning, 16 locations islandwide in Singapore, Tel: (+65) 6653 8082, email@example.com
LeClare Preschool adopts an Integrated-Inquiry approach to learning, where children are encouraged to ask questions and voice their opinions. The curriculum will have children investigating a unit of inquiry each term in both English and Mandarin. The team at LeClare values and recognises the importance of a strong foundation in Chinese for lifelong learning, mostly through igniting the children’s passion and appreciation for the Chinese language. The Chinese language is made alive in the classrooms as it is deliberately planned to intertwine with traditions, the arts and games. Sprouters (what they endearingly call their students) will explore reading and writing in Chinese characters following the Chinese phonetic system, immerse in Chinese art and calligraphy as well as music and rhymes. During festivities such as the Chinese New Year or the Mid-Autumn, children are exposed to different cultures and traditions through narrative stories and fun games. To introduce the beautiful, lyrical part of the Chinese language, poetry is introduced, with the Sprouters enthusiastically discover the history of its origin and values behind them.
LeClare Preschool, 7 Shenton Way #01-02, Singapore Conference Hall, Singapore 068810
Embark on An Amazing Growth Journey at Alphabet Playhouse! Established in 1995, Alphabet Playhouse has been a trusted premium preschool for over 27 years. Alphabet Playhouse seeks to uncover every child’s potential through developing confident young explorers with a “Growth Mindset”. Aided by its unique World Adventurer™ bilingual integrated programme, which incorporates sports, music, creative arts, and top-of-the-line facilities, Alphabet Playhouse ensures top-notch education that cultivates a curious thinker, a resilient champion and a caring citizen.
Alphabet Playhouse @ Somerset: 16 Dublin Road, Singapore 239805
Alphabet Playhouse @ East Coast: 440A Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 466497
Tel: (+65) 6653 5618, firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue House International
At Blue House International, bilingual education begins from Playgroup to Kindergarten (18 months to 6 years). Mandarin and English educators work concurrently to provide children with immersive bilingual learning and exposure to Chinese culture. Children absorb the languages through music, art, scripts, identifying symbols and culinary arts, often driven along a common line of enquiry led by the children’s interest. Mandarin is used throughout the day contextually, and proficiency is built through daily exposure and use; this allows for a more holistic exposure to Chinese culture.
Register today and receive a $300 enrolment fee waiver at Kay Siang and Jalan Mutiara campuses! Valid on enrolment forms received in the month of May & June 2023, to start within two months of application.
Blue House International, multiple locations including River Valley, Tanglin and East Coast, Singapore
House on the Hill Montessori Pre-school
House on the Hill is a family-run group of preschools in Singapore. Founded in 2012, they are passionate advocates for the educational excellence of the Montessori Method. Mandarin is a very important part of the curriculum. Expect lots of hands-on learning and a personalized curriculum designed for each individual child. Their bespoke Mandarin programme is taught by a team of highly qualified and dedicated teachers. The focus is on building a strong foundation in the language from young through the key skills of listening, speaking and communicating clearly, and writing, using a variety of games, activities, and cultural experiences. Educational tools such as flashcards, storybooks, sandpaper strokes, drama, games, rhymes, music and movement help make learning fun and educational. Parents can opt to enrol their child in the 天天向上 afternoon programme, a dedicated, full immersion curriculum designed to deepen their fluency and love of the language.
Enjoy registration fee waivers worth $540 when you sign up by 30 June 2023! Valid for children starting at Mount Sophia, Hollandse Club and Pasir Panjang Campuses only. T&Cs Apply.
House on the Hill, multiple locations including Mount Sophia, Balmoral and Pasir Panjang, Singapore
Lorna Whiston Preschool
Experience Lorna Whiston Preschool’s award-winning Bilingual Programme, where English and Chinese teachers co-teach in every classroom. Their focus on Early Literacy Skills is powered by the unique Individualised Reading Programme, fostering confidence in language. Through hands-on experiences, the bilingual preschool embraces discovery-based learning to provide a safe and stimulating environment where children are happy, motivated, and eager to learn.
Lorna Whiston Preschool
Winchester Campus: 9 Winchester Road, Singapore 117783
Kallang Wave Mall Campus: 1 Stadium Place, #01-28 Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore 397628
Tel: (+65) 6871 8844, email@example.com
Other Bilingual Preschools in Singapore:
– British Council Preschool: Bilingual English and Mandarin curriculum.
– Blue Lion Preschool: Bilingual English and Chinese preschool with Buddhist approach.
– BrainFit School House: Immersive English and Mandarin curriculums.
– Children’s Cove Preschool: English and Chinese programme with native teachers.
– ChildFirst Preschool: English and Chinese preschool.
– Little Paddington Preschool: Mandarin immersion programme.
– MapleBear Preschool: Bilingual immersion programme.
– My Learning Haven: Bilingual programme.
– Pat’s Schoolhouse: Bilingual Immersion curriculum.
– Preschool for Multiple Intelligences: Reggio-inspired bilingual Mandarin programme.
– Primus Schoolhouse: Chinese and English bilingual programme
– Odyssey – The Global Preschool: Chinese Immersion programme
– Shaws Preschool: Play-based bilingual Mandarin-English curriculum.
– Trehaus School: Bilingual and Mandarin immersion programmes
Read more: Preschools with Outdoor Spaces in Singapore
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