Choosing a School in Singapore

Do not be deceived by the advice from expats who scoff when you comment on how confusing the entire schooling system is in Singapore, then in response to your solicited advice, they retort with comments like: “Don’t get so fraught by the school, your child is only 5 years old!” or “Just stick to the same curriculum that your child is already studying, you can’t go wrong.” or even worse… “Just go for the ones with the biggest wait list, they’re the best.”

These comments are usually fortified with the fact that they have been living in Singapore for at least 10 years and, 10 years ago, there were not even half of the International school choices there are now! There are over 30 International Primary/Secondary Schools in Singapore, not to mention the 500 preschools.

In all honesty… yes it is relatively simple to narrow it all down to 5-6 preschools and 5-6 primary/secondary. But on what basis, how do you draw up the short list , what priorities come first?

  • How long will you live in Singapore
  • How old is your child (ren)
  • What type of personality is your child (ren)
  • Is school paid for by a company or is it a personal expense

All of these factors, plus 10 or more others, are all important considerations and every family situation and profile will have very different priorities.

Whilst listening to your new best friend, “random expat forums”,  and trying to digest subjective comments from a well meaning (but a stranger to you and your family) expat parent, always remember this… YOUR child is unique and only YOU know what environment and curriculum could, should or might best suit them.

Butterfly provides objective, impartial advice on schooling based on family’s individual profiles and needs.  We assist with advice on curricula, special needs, individual tuition – Butterfly is here to help you and your child(ren) to land gently.

By Sarah Bowler

Private Clubs in Singapore

Singapore Polo Club

To club or not to club…that is the question. Butterfly is often asked “Should we join a club?”, “Which club should we join?” or “ My wife is French and I’m American, should we join the Swiss Club or the American Club?”.

There was a time that International private clubs were a place to get a bit of “home” for expats living in Singapore. In fact, there are so many countries’ allegiances to choose from, you could go from club to club and feel like you’ve traveled the world! Well, today there is no need to be club-centric. 

Once upon a time the club was a place to do everything from your dry cleaning to your entertainment. Today, Singapore offers modern conveniences and comfort foods for any nationality on just about every corner. Many of the condos have built-in facilities like tennis courts, pools and gyms, so if you are looking for a property, it may be something to consider when you are signing a lease.

There are many good reasons to join a club too, especially if you have young children or you are empty nesters. The clubs are as much a melting pot as Singapore each featuring different sports, activities and events. The social benefits for children and adults can certainly aid with settling into Singapore. 

Our suggestion is to shop around after you have moved into your new home and examine what you really need from the club before you write that check!

Butterfly has an extensive list of clubs, their facilities and costs, as well as alternatives. Give us a ring, if you would like us to advise or organize tours!