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New Schools, New School Year

September, 2013
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A new school year brings new schools to Shanghai: the newly opened Montessori Academy in Jinqiao, Pudong brings its excellent early childhood education to children from 6 months to 6 years, while Britannica International School opens its doors in Gubei, Puxi to offer a British-style curriculum initially to students aged 2 to 13 years. The new school year also sees new buildings and facilities at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai and Western International School of Shanghai, which will make teaching and learning more exciting for everyone on campus!

Montessori Academy: Authentic Montessori Kindergarten from Australia

ma-3Montessori Academy (MA) welcomed their first group of children and parents on 1 September at their beautifully designed campus. It boasts spacious classrooms with observation windows, a large indoor play area and a rooftop play area, which create a joyful and natural learning environment for the young children.

Montessori Academy has been living up to its motto “Excellence in Early Childhood Education” since 2004. MA’s environment and education follows its Sydney Centre, and the main emphasis is on cultivating awareness, independence, and responsibility in a multi-age community. Children are encouraged to choose their activities from among a wide range of prepared materials in a carefully planned and structured environment. Teachers see themselves as guides and facilitators of children’s learning. Teachers prepare the learning environment, assist children in making choices, and observe and record progress in order to better follow the interests and needs of each individual.

For the multicultural children enrolled at Montessori Academy, a special program called “Global Classroom” was designed for the children where they can learn to share their cultural experiences. The kindergarten also provides an exchange program allowing children to attend classes at MA campuses in Australia. This cultural bonding helps them to gain friends from around the world.

ma-4Montessori Academy has also designed a special APP for school parents to get involved in everyday school activities, to get updates about their child’s arrival and dismissal time record and also about their children’s everyday special moment pictures lunch menus and more.

Montessori Academy teachers hold accredited AMI certificates. They are trained specifically to follow the child’s progress and present the appropriate Montessori material and environment according to the academic and developmental needs of the child. The Chinese teachers are required to familiarize themselves with the Montessori philosophy and attend workshops that support their work in the Montessori school. All the teachers are required to engage in professional development of varying types on an annual basis.

Britannica: A New British-Style Education in Shanghai

britannica-1Britannica International School Shanghai hosted a “Meet the Teacher” day on 30 August in advance of the opening day on 2 September 2013. All visiting parents and students were very happy to meet the staff and view the wonderful facilities.

Britannica is the latest school in the Orbital Education (UK) group of international schools and offers a British-style curriculum, initially to students from Pre-Nursery (age 2) to Year 9 (age 13+), leading eventually to IGCSE & IB Diploma Examinations.

After two weeks of orientation, planning and preparation the team of sixteen highly qualified and experienced staff are very much looking forward to welcoming students to the school and making use of the wonderful facilities and resources. In addition to 36 standard classrooms, the facilities include a theatre seating 300, a 25-meter indoor heated swimming pool, a sports hall, two libraries, three ICT suites, two art studios, a music room with four rehearsal rooms, five science laboratories, a football field with athletics track and an additional outdoor basketball court. The school also has a large cafeteria and boasts an indoor play area where students will be directed during rainy days or when the pollution levels are too high for outdoor play. All classrooms are fitted with touch screen interactive whiteboards to facilitate learning.britannica-6

The school building is modern in appearance and has some noteworthy features, especially the large windows in each classroom that enable all visitors to have an excellent view of classes in action and additionally provide a bright, welcoming and ‘open’ atmosphere.

Britannica has an excellent extra curricular program, offered to all students each school day, thus providing students with an opportunity to experience a wide range of activities or develop their interests and skills in a particular area.

The principal, Alun R. Thomas, who has previously opened new schools in several countries, including Iran, Thailand, Bahrain and Vietnam, sees Britannica Shanghai as the most complete, exciting and rewarding project that he has undertaken.

WISS Continues Expansion with New Gym and Classrooms

This year is the 8th anniversary of Western International School Shanghai (WISS) and the school continues expanding in all areas. Beginning this new school year, WISS opens a brand new building housing a new gymnasium, equipped with a rock-climbing wall, a new 25m swimming pool, a large cafeteria and café and new primary classrooms.

wiss-2WISS also is also opening a new music wing and visual arts wing with a revamped theatre and new rooms for theatre arts. The library has seen an extension with an early years reading room and a secondary multimedia center.

With students from 45 countries, WISS will be hosting programs in 11 different languages. The school is fielding more sporting teams than ever before, and they continue forward with their academic achievements. This year also sees exciting new collaborations to keep students inspired: the Premier League Stoke Football Academy, international award winning music, the WISS choir performing at Disneyland, service work in Cambodia, Borneo, and South Africa, and helping others every week in the local community. 

YCIS New Building for the Leaders of Tomorrow 

Experts agree that school buildings are important tools in the learning process: enhanced facilities, they say, enhance learning. YCIS Shanghai is delighted to announce their newest campus project, called “C Building” at the school’s Hongqiao Campus.

ycis-1The new C Building features an indoor gym, a multi-purpose room for science and art, a new cafeteria and an outdoor roof area where students may play. There are also many new classrooms as well as specialist rooms for reading, music, an Information Communication Technology lab, dance, and an art room with a Kiln. Having a connected walkway with the “B Building” allows for all students to easily access the specialist areas in the new building. Each classroom also has heated flooring and is equipped with Wi-Fi. 

In discussing the newest addition to the campus, YCIS Shanghai Hongqiao’s Campus Co-Principals, Andrew Mellor and Julie Zheng, reflected that, “The different shapes and sizes of each classroom give each room their own unique identity, so children and staff feel that their area is special. Our use of windows to allow natural light into rooms is known to be beneficial for children’s learning. Windows also allow for observation of the world outside, which provides a wonderful, natural learning opportunity. In addition, the corridors have been thoughtfully designed to create ‘learning pods’, which students can use as reading areas or for group discussions.” 

ycis-3The spacious, new indoor gym features retractable basketball hoops and a drop-down screen to separate the gym into two spaces. The gym is also equipped with a screen, data projector, and sound system to serve as a multi-function space for special events, concerts, and after-school activities. The library, in addition to having a large collection of books, has several Smartboards, computer stations for research and comfortable places for children to read. 

The new building has been arranged so that all Early Childhood Education and Primary students will benefit: Year 5 and 6 classrooms are now situated in the C Building, while other year levels are able to enjoy the use of the specialist areas within the building. In addition to the new gym, the spacious cafeteria features all brand-new equipment, allowing students access to a greater variety of healthy foods, while also empowering them to make some of their own decisions in selecting healthy meals.

The new C Building will support the aim of all YCIS teachers and administrators to provide a truly international curriculum for their students to develop into global citizens. 


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