Traditionally, boarding schools were a luxury that only wealthy families could afford as this involved sending children overseas to pursue their studies. Today, as a result of the evolving international education segment in Singapore, student boarding options, facilities and standards have improved greatly.
Many people believe that the only advantage of boarding is the time saved from commuting between home and school. In reality, there are various benefits of boarding for a child. The experience of living and interacting with peers of different nationalities and learning to live independently at a young age serves as a catalyst for personal growth.
Types of Boarding
There are three main types of boarding. These include the following:
1. Full boarding – students have the option to stay within the school for seven days a week.
2. Weekly boarding – students apply for a five-day week stay and return home on the weekends.
3. Flexi boarding – students can choose to stay as many nights a week depending on their preferences.
There are a few common types of boarding schools that offer specialized curricula that give students varying skill sets that prepare them for life beyond school.
1. College preparatory schools
College preparatory schools help to develop students for conditions at universities abroad or locally. These include specialist schools such as sports, performing arts and religious schools.
2. Military schools
Military schools are focused on preparing students for military careers and/or civilian service such as National Service (NS).
3. Special/Therapeutic schools
Special or therapeutic schools are focused on emotional growth and development. These schools usually cater to troubled teenage students or students with concerning disabilities such as blindness or autism.
Benefits of Boarding
Parents may not consider boarding schools due to the cost and the fear of prolonged separation from their children, thus translating to the fear that their children may grow up emotionally detached from them. However, boarding schools have many benefits such as training students to be independent by instilling in them the ideals and principles needed for caring for themselves and others. Here are some benefits of going to a boarding school.
1. A convenient and conducive learning environment
As students live on school grounds, getting to class is convenient and hassle-free. Boarding schools are equipped with conducive learning spaces, countless amenities and facilities – allowing students to utilise the facilities around them to enhance their learning.
2. Strong focus on academic excellence
Boarding schools have strict rules on punctuality apart from having designated periods for studying and completing homework after school hours. Therefore, students do not have excuses for coming late to class or forgetting their homework. Furthermore, boarding schools design schedules for students, ensuring they are always on top of their work.
3. Variety of activities, traditions and events
Most boarding schools offer first-class facilities that support a variety of sports and performing arts activities. From football fields, and tennis courts to spacious auditoriums, boarding schools provide a nurturing and well-equipped environment for students to carry out their extracurricular activities. In addition, students get to experience traditions and events such as school dances and competitions.
4. Constant care and support
Parents will not have to be concerned about their children’s needs as the management and staff of the school are usually very attentive to the physical and emotional welfare of boarders at all times. Boarding also instils a family atmosphere. For example, boarders can share their feelings and memories during meals and leisure pursuits. The house parents are empathetic and focused on ensuring that borders are comfortable, excel academically, and are socially engaged.
5. Build life skills
At boarding school, students learn to be more independent and responsible. They will also learn to manage their time wisely, balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities and spending time with their friends. Moreover, boarders can build good study habits and discipline due to their strict study schedules. Apart from that, students will learn how to live alone in a supportive environment. Students will have a taste of what living alone will be like and this will prepare them for life after school.
6. Oppurtunities to create lifelong friendships
Boarding schools are a student’s second home in helping them build lifelong friendships with their roommates, dormitory mates and classmates. House parents and dormitory supervisors are parental figures to students as they supervise, discipline and foster them. Furthermore, students will be exposed to different languages and cultures by interacting with their peers from various backgrounds.
7. Diverse community
Students will get a taste of world cultures at boarding school from international students. This includes learning how to speak a second language, understanding cultural differences, and getting new perspectives on global issues.
Levels of Education Offered
Most boarding schools in Singapore offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum. St.Francis Methodist School offers Australian, British, Singaporean and Cambridge curricula. Waseda Shibuya Senior High School follows the Japanese curriculum.
- Hillside World Academy
- Waseda Shibuya Senior High School
- United World College of South East Asia
- Hwa Chong International School
- ACS International – Singapore
- Canadian International School Singapore (Lakeside)
- St. Joseph's Institution International
- St. Francis Methodist School
Specialist (Athletic) Schools
- Singapore Sports School (SSP)
Boarding schools provide many skill sets to borders impacting their lives positively. Some key factors to look out for when deciding on a boarding school for your child are as follows:
1. School track record
Parents deciding on boarding schools should do a background check on the school and boarding facilities to ensure the academic performance and physical and mental health of students. Communication with the school’s alumni is also a great way to find out more about the school.
2. Extracurricular activities
The school should have a wide range of extracurricular activities that will expose boarders to new experiences and help them discover new hobbies or passions beyond academia.
3. Characteristics traits
Parents and children should visit the school and boarding facility to observe and view if the environment, facilities, ethos and schedule among others, are suitable for the wants, needs and expectations of both parent and child.
There are numerous benefits of boarding from emphasis on academic performance to personal development. Additionally, there are a number of schools in Singapore offering different boarding options and curricula that are suited for the child and family. If you are unsure if boarding is suitable for your child, pay a visit to the school and speak to representatives and alumni to know more about the school and boarding facilities offered.