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Tapping into school and community support for expat families in Singapore

Updated 22 Aug 2018

Vibrant city life, exotic temples, and an abundance of family-oriented activities make Singapore an attractive destination for expats, particularly those with children. In a recent HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, 70 percent of respondents indicated that their children's quality of life is higher since moving to Singapore. Educational opportunities abound for expat families, with 63 percent agreeing the education their children receive in Singapore surpasses that which they would have experienced in their home country.

That said, parents have much to consider when relocating their family, and it can be tough to do so without the right support systems. Here are some tips on how to make the most of the school and community support available in Singapore.

Where to start

Expats adventuring to Singapore for the first time are often surprised by the love and support shown for children by the community at large. Many parents find support through the Parent's Association at their school. For expats who seek to explore everything Singapore has to offer, starting out at local playgrounds, pools and water parks allows them to meet up with others who may have insider tips on local activities for children. Parents and children tend to thrive in their community when they feel like they belong, whether at home or half a world away.

Enjoy a family-friendly environment

Children in Singapore are encouraged to explore and learn naturally, and this philosophy can certainly work to the benefit of expat children adjusting to their new home. Youth athletics, art classes and even game clubs promote cooperation and a sense of community. Learning opportunities abound while visiting the Singapore Zoo, the Science Centre and Jurong Bird Park. Wild Wild Wet and Adventure Cove Water Park are only two of many water parks families flock to during their leisure time. For the thrill seekers and lovers of all things cinema, Universal Studios on Sentosa Island is a must.

Theme parks and water parks are great fun, but day-to-day life in Singapore often involves finding reprieve from the heat and humidity. Choosing a home or condominium with a pool will make life easier in a number of ways. Children of all ages have a chance to cool down and relax, plus it gives them the opportunity to meet and play with children who live close by. Since many expats choose to live in condos, check with yours to see if there is already a schedule of activities for children or families.

Take advantage of school-sponsored community activities

Great schools do not get that way on their own. Parents, students and teachers pull together to support academic and social growth of the whole school community.

The OWIS Parent Committee (OPC) offers new parents a voice in their child's education. Experienced parents support newcomers as they learn to navigate the Singaporean landscape. As part of the OPC, parents support school events and participate in the planning and implementation of select activities. Taking part in these activities offers children a chance to get involved beyond daily school life, strengthening bonds with their schoolmates and developing skills as they do so.

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