Homegrown education provider EtonHouse International Education Group has been around since 1995 and, since then, has expanded internationally with more than 120 schools.
So, unless you’re new to Singapore or new to parenting (or maybe living under a rock?), you’ve probably at least heard about award-winning EtonHouse.
Still, there may be important things about this international school leader that you don’t already know, from its unlikely founding to its unique educational offerings.
And if you’re looking for a great school for your child, it’s important that you do know!
Watch our exclusive video about EtonHouse here, then scroll down to read more about the trend-setting school below!
Here are 5 surprising things to know about EtonHouse:
It’s never too late to achieve your goals! EtonHouse International Group’s founder, Ng Gim Choo, was in her 40s when she decided to set up her own school in 1995. The Singaporean lived in the U.K. during the 1980s when she first started her own family and was inspired by her daughter’s kindergarten experience there.
“[My daughter] enjoyed it so much that on the weekends she would put on her uniform and wait for me to bring her to school,” recalled Gim Choo The Finder’s 2020 #SGFaves cover story. “I started out as an auditor at Ernst & Young. At the peak of my career, I gave up my job and followed my husband (who was posted on an assignment) to London. I was a housewife for 12 years before returning to Singapore to start EtonHouse.” Upon returning, Gim Choo wanted to recreate a school where learning was a joyful experience.
“I was surprised that [my daughter] enjoyed school (in London) so much. And so I decided to become a parent volunteer. Through that, I saw a world where children learned through play – and learning was a joyful experience. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to education in Singapore more than twenty years ago where it was stressful for children,” said Gim Choo. And this inspired her to set up EtonHouse. “I wanted children to enjoy their learning in school and not be discouraged from being creative and from expressing their individuality.”
But that didn’t come without hard work! Gim Choo had to school herself on education before establishing EtonHouse. “While my background in accountancy helped in understanding the need for policies and professional financial operations, I was not trained in education. So, I took up a teacher training course, and experienced first-hand how it was like to be a teacher. I went on to obtain a Masters in Educational Management.”
Today, EtonHouse International Education Group boasts a stellar reputation of 120 schools in more than 12 countries, including 4 EtonHouse International Schools and 10 EtonHouse Pre-Schools located around the island of Singapore offering programmes from Pre-School to High School. Wow!’
That’s not all, its “boutique school environment” offers personalised learning (see below). Its focus on quality and passion for the well-being of its students is a huge contributor to its international and local success.
Boutique School Environment: Thoughtfully designed learning environment
EtonHouse believes that a child’s environment is its third teacher. (The first two being parents and classroom teachers respectively.) Its schools are designed to be functional, beautiful and reflective of the child’s learning. Apart from inviting classroom environments that are seamlessly integrated into common areas, EtonHouse schools are also beautifully designed with richly resourced studios like digital ateliers, light studios, visual arts spaces, integrated outdoor and indoor learning spaces, piazzas and more!
EtonHouse first started as a pre-school on Broadrick Road in 1995. Propelled by the early EtonHouse parents, it went on to build its primary, secondary and high school levels.
Its K-12 Education Pathway – created for students from 18 months through 18 years old – makes it easier for students to experience a smooth transition between the different levels of education. This way, the students can also be nurtured from childhood to young adults with EtonHouse.
In 2018, EtonHouse opened its first K-12 campus in the heart of Orchard. Two years later, the Orchard campus is now EtonHouse’s 10th IB World School!
EtonHouse’s curriculum uses internationally renowned best practices, all with the goal of future-proofing its students. It recognises that children are going to live in a world that is very different from the world they were brought up in. It is therefore EtonHouse’s mission to hone lifelong learners. Its inquiry-based approach to education helps students do just that, preparing them for the future.
EtonHouse’s Inquire.Think.Learn curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach where inquiry and exploration nurtures a child’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. EtonHouse is the only school in Singapore that collaborates with Reggio Emilia in Italy, also known as the best early years educational approach in the world, for training and best practice implementation via REACH (Reggio Emilia in Asia for Children). Its curriculum is designed to nurture lifelong skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
In 2004, EtonHouse Broadrick became its first IB World School. Meaning? It is authorised to provide the IB programme which aims to promote a culture of education that focuses on academic and personal achievement. Showing that it’s not all about grades, the IB track, through its SMART projects programme, enables students to hone and pursue their own interest, and develop the skillsets that they will need to take on the 22nd century confidently.
EtonHouse also provides a strong career guidance programme starting from the primary level in preparation for university and future career prospects.
Here are the programmes offered by EtonHouse:
- International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for primary years;
- Cambridge IGCSE Programme (IGCSE, the Cambridge O Level equivalent) for secondary years that is taught in three years instead of two to maximise greater depth of knowledge; and
- International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) for senior years.
Did you know that its founder Gim Choo wasn’t always bilingual? And she understands first-hand the struggles of learning a second language.
“I studied in a Chinese-speaking school. In University, I had to put in a lot of effort [to study] the English language. When I started working, my husband was my English teacher and he helped to edit my reports. Along the way, I learned how to improve my English. It was hard and people laughed, but I did not give up.” – EtonHouse founder, Ng Gim Choo
It is to no wonder that bilingualism is at the heart of EtonHouse’s pedagogy. EtonHouse schools offer a solid bilingual programme for all students. Apart from English and Mandarin, it also offers Hindi, Japanese, Malay and Spanish. EtonHouse International sees language as a fundamental communication skill that imparts value the appreciation and respect across cultures – to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected world we live in.
For an intensive Mandarin immersion:
For parents looking for intensive Chinese language education in the early years, its Zhong Hua Pre-School campus is the first childcare centre in Singapore to offer an inquiry curriculum delivered exclusively in Mandarin. In response to the popularity of the programme, its pre-schools at Robertson Walk and 717 Mountbatten Road also offer a 100% Mandarin Immersion Programme in the early years.
Alternatively, it also offers have dual-language classrooms where two qualified teachers (one native Mandarin speaker and one native English speaker) jointly deliver the programme within the curriculum framework in pre-school and primary. See how it’s done here.
In the primary years, competent Mandarin learners can also choose the bilingual immersion programme offered at the Broadrick campus where there are intensive language sessions delivered entirely in Mandarin.
Apart from in-class learning experiences, children are given opportunities to participate in Chinese cultural performances and experiences which allows them to practice the language in the real world. EtonHouse aims to develop bilingual and bicultural global citizens who are confident in using Mandarin in everyday life.
From now till 28 Feb 2021, save up to $1,250 (terms apply) when you enrol your child at these EtonHouse schools:
- EtonHouse International School Broadrick
- EtonHouse International School Orchard
- EtonHouse International School Sentosa
- EtonHouse International School Thomson
- EtonHouse International Pre-School Mountbatten 718
- EtonHouse Pre-School Mountbatten 223
- EtonHouse Pre-School Newton
- EtonHouse Pre-School Upper Bukit Timah
Book a school tour here at your choice campus to find out more.
By Willaine G. Tan, December 2020
More on The Finder:
#SGFaves 2020: Here’s The Mother-Son Duo Who Have Put The Fun Back Into Learning
Find Out About This International School In Singapore That Offers DIVERSE Bilingual Programmes
#SGFaves 2020: Find Out What 27 Inspiring Local Business Owners LOVE About Living Here
BEST International Schools And Preschools In Singapore For Children 6 And Under