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How to Foster a Close-Knit Community within a Big International School

community feel at GESS
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With an emphasis on student support, a “school-within-a-school” philosophy, and myriad ways to get parents involved, GESS is a big school that aims to feel like a home away from home

Many students who move to Singapore may come from small towns or village schools, so entering a large international school can feel like a shock to the system. Of course, benefits can include world class facilities and the chance to become part of a diverse and multi-cultural student body unrivaled by practically anywhere else on earth!

With a brand new state-of-the-art campus, and a community of over 1,600 students from Preschool through Grade 12 comprising 65 different nationalities, GESS certainly offers the major benefits of a world class international school. But it’s also a place where a sense of community is highly emphasized, with a goal toward fostering a family atmosphere and becoming a home away home for students of all ages. The school achieves this impressive balance in three ways:

  • A unique approach to students
  • Campus infrastructure
  • Parent involvement

Read on to learn how GESS gives its students a small school feel!

primary school community at GESS
GESS takes a student-centered approach to foster a school-within-a-school feeling

The GESS Approach to Students

Even before new students join the school, the Academic Heads invest a lot of time into understanding each child’s backstory, specific needs, and past school experiences to ensure that when they come in, the school can meet them, right where they are. This ensures each child feels welcome, seen, understood, and cared for – just as they would in their own families.

This principle swings the other way, too, as students are important stakeholders at GESS, with student councils in both the Primary and Secondary School to encourage kids to engage and take an active role in creating the kind of school community they want to be a part of! At GESS, older kids organise Halloween parties for the younger kids, students are consulted on uniform redesigns, and much more!

community at gess secondary school
GESS strives to ensure that all students feel seen, supported, and comfortable in their own skin

Besides providing a warm safe environment for students, GESS counselors do their best to ensure they are at ease as themselves and have good relations with their peers. They organize events and initiatives throughout the year, including Pink Shirt Day (an anti-bullying event), Kindness Day (to show appreciation toward fellow students), and Buddy Bench (to make sure every child feels welcome on the playground).

Campus Infrastructure

GESS’s school-within-a-school approach means that all students from Nursery through Grade 12 are housed under one roof, but the school also has defined, age-specific learning spaces to foster a strong sense of community amongst students of similar age groups. For instance, there are pods for students in each grade to allow them to spend time together in a warm, safe, and comfortable setting.

parent involvement at gess community
GESS parents are actively involved in raising the whole community of children

Parent Involvement

GESS is run by a Board of Governors comprised entirely of parents, so the school truly empathises with the needs of its students and their families from the top down. Along the same lines, GESS doesn’t just engage with students, but with entire families, creating a “home away from” atmosphere for everyone. The school also has strong parent-led organisations that drive popular events like the International Summer Party and the legendary Christmas Bazaar.

Parents also spearhead the Buddies Committee, which is intent on making sure that all new families feel truly welcomed to the GESS community, and have an experienced “buddy” to help them navigate the new landscape.

Parents are also warmly welcomed on campus during its many celebrations and events, whether as mystery storytellers in the library or career coaches for older students. GESS parents are actively involved in not just raising their own children, but an entire community of children.

Why not visit GESS to experience its unique and welcoming community spirt firsthand, mama? Click here to register for its two upcoming open days, on 29 January (Preschool) and 19 February (Primary and Secondary)!

All the details!
What: GESS Open Days
When: Tuesday 29 January (Preschool) and Tuesday 19 February (Primary School and Secondary School)
Time: 9:30am (both events)
Where: GESS, 2 Dairy Farm Lane, Singapore 677621
RSVP: Click here to register, mama!

www.gess.sg

Brought to you in partnership with GESS

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