Holistic Development at OWIS Singapore: How We Nurture the Whole Child

Primary School students at OWIS Suntec learning music | Well-rounded education at International School near Orchard

At One World International School (OWIS) in Singapore, academic excellence is a top priority. We want your child to excel in university and throughout their career, which is why we offer rigorous, inquiry-driven learning programmes from early childhood to secondary school. But as much as standardised test scores, grade point averages and college acceptance rates are important, they only capture a fraction of what it means to fully educate a child.

With this in mind, our curricula at OWIS also incorporate opportunities for holistic development. Beyond demonstrating academic proficiency, our students pursue passions like art and music, engage in social-emotional learning activities, develop critical thinking skills through sports and contribute meaningfully to their communities through service projects. We believe this multifaceted methodology shapes children into well-rounded young adults capable of affecting positive change in the world.

To help parents learn more about our dynamic pedagogical approach, we have compiled 15 blogs about holistic development at OWIS below:

1. The Value of Hobbies and Co-Curricular Activities

Learning isn’t limited to the classroom. That’s why all students at OWIS are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities, from playing the saxophone and making ceramic pots to acting in a play. In this blog, we discuss different co-curricular opportunities available at OWIS and how these opportunities help children develop important social-emotional skills, such as confidence and healthy risk-taking.

2. The Importance of Personal, Social and Physical Education

In this blog, we discuss the personal, social and physical education (PSPE) curricula at OWIS. This programme teaches students how to develop attitudes, skills and habits that promote physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social health. Physical education lessons might teach a child about the importance of eating a balanced diet, for instance. Meanwhile, a daily meditation practice allows students to develop stress-management techniques.

3. How Sports Promote Social-Emotional Learning

At OWIS, physical education is an integral component of curricula. Of course, these lessons teach students how to move their bodies in fun, healthy ways. However physical education lessons also promote social-emotional learning. A student may learn about collaboration during a game of basketball. Or, they may learn the valuable lesson of losing gracefully during a foot race. In this blog, we delve deeper into this concept.

4. The Loud Role of Music

When a child learns to play an instrument, they learn so much more than modulation and chord progression. Your child also learns the importance of practice, hard work, commitment and other life-long values. Additionally, the act of performing music can help children develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Some research even shows that playing an instrument can engage the left hemisphere of the brain, strengthening critical thinking skills. In this blog, we talk more about the benefits of our music programme.

5. The Larger Implications of Art Interpretation

In art, interpretation is the process of deriving meaning from a specific work. Art interpretation typically involves analysing the visual elements, considering the context in which the artwork was created, exploring the emotional or philosophical themes conveyed by the artwork and reflecting on one’s subjective response to the work. This process nurtures a child’s critical thinking skills, helping them make connections between abstract and concrete concepts. We discuss this in more detail in this blog.

6. How Cultural Diversity Improves Learning

In this blog, we talk about how cultural diversity can foster a more positive classroom environment. When children learn alongside others who are different from them, they are exposed to a wide range of perspectives and beliefs. They engage in discussions with their peers about cultural traditions, customs and values, broadening their understanding of the world. These interactions promote tolerance and respect for diversity while preparing them to live in an increasingly interconnected society.

7. Why Character Education Matters

At OWIS, we believe educating a child is about so much more than imparting information about algebra and grammar. A well-rounded education should also encompass character education, a form of learning centred around the development of moral and ethical values, social skills and responsible behaviour. In this blog, we discuss how we incorporate character education into our curricula. For example, students may learn about tolerance and inclusivity by organising an anti-bullying campaign. Or, they may learn about empathy through a service learning project.

8. How Mindfulness Promotes Social-Emotional Learning

In today’s fast-paced world, children are over-stimulated by everything from social media to video games. To help our students settle their minds, we incorporate mindfulness lessons into our curricula at OWIS. These lessons are proven to improve students’ mental, emotional, social and physical well-being. By learning to cultivate mental clarity, students also exhibit more control over their behaviour and emotions. This blog goes into more detail.

9. Why We Advocate for Play-Based Learning

In this blog, our educators discuss the importance of play-based learning in early childhood. Beyond improved academic performance, play-based learning encourages imaginative thinking and creativity as children explore, invent scenarios and express themselves freely. Through play, children also develop key social-emotional skills, such as sharing, taking turns and resolving conflicts.

10. The Importance of Outdoor Learning in Maths

It’s not unusual for maths teachers at OWIS to teach outdoors. Students may use chalk to mark areas to measure or count the number of leaves on a specific tree. These lessons keep students focused and engaged, improving academic outcomes. However, they also foster creativity and curiosity — two lifelong skills that are crucial in university and beyond. We discuss these benefits in this blog.

11. How Positive Language Affects Young Learners

At OWIS, we understand that the language we use with young students matters. That’s why our educators use positive language in our early childhood classrooms. This communication strategy avoids words such as “no,” “don’t” and “stop.” For example, instead of saying, “No yelling,” an educator might say, “Let’s use our inside voice, please.” These phrases empower children by providing specific guidance. In this blog, we discuss positive language and its effect on a child’s development.

12. The Impact of Building Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

School is about more than achieving academic mastery; it’s also about learning how to communicate and build lasting relationships with peers as well as teachers. When a child nurtures a positive relationship with their educator, they feel more comfortable asking questions in class, exploring interests and seeking help when needed. This rapport creates a supportive environment where students thrive not only academically but also emotionally and socially.

13. How Storybooks Build Social-Emotional Skills

Reading is an integral component of our early childhood curriculum at OWIS because it helps build young learners’ vocabulary. However, as we discuss in this blog, reading also promotes social-emotional learning. When children immerse themselves in a story, they are exposed to different characters, perspectives and situations. They learn to empathise with characters’ emotions, understand their intentions and navigate complex social situations, all important skills for the real world.

14. How We Provide Students With Support and Encouragement

At OWIS, our educators are committed to providing students with the support and encouragement they need to succeed. In this blog, we talk more about our pastoral care programme. Underpinned by kindness and compassion, this programme is designed to teach students of all grade levels to think critically, recognise and express their emotions and believe in themselves and their abilities. These traits are crucial not only for academic success but also for personal growth and overall well-being.

15. The Importance of Restorative Practice in Classrooms

In this blog, we discuss restorative practice. As the gold standard for correcting behaviour and promoting a positive culture in the classroom, restorative practice is an approach that focuses on building and maintaining positive relationships, resolving conflicts and fostering a sense of community. Rather than punish students for wrongdoings, teachers foster conflict resolution, encouraging students to repair the relationship. Additionally, there is an emphasis on behaviour modelling. Teachers and staff adhere to the same standards that students are held to.

At OWIS, we help shape students into well-rounded young adults through our holistic pedagogical approach. This approach emphasises academic excellence, of course. However, we also incorporate opportunities for social-emotional learning, such as character development and mindfulness. Additionally, students are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities like music and art. These enrichment activities empower children to navigate the complexity of the modern world with confidence and compassion.

To learn more about how our approach and how we nurture the whole child at OWIS Nanyang in Jurong and OWIS Digital Campus in Punggol, please contact us today.


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