Curriculum

At Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6; ages 7-11 years), we have created a 21st century bespoke skills-based curriculum which not only enthuses, engages and challenges the thinking of young and inquiring minds, but also promotes high levels of attainment and outstanding progress.

We believe that by equipping our children with the core subject skills first and then providing exciting opportunities for them to apply their learning in a range of ways, we are able to cater to their distinct and unique learning styles in an integrated context. Alongside academic skills and knowledge, our key drivers of self awareness, personal development, global awareness and sense of community lead to an overall focus on our students becoming well rounded, community spirited and responsible young citizens. We do not believe learning should be confined to the classroom but enhanced through a multitude of opportunities to inspire such as day trips, residential visits and acts of service learning which enable our children to excel personally and academically.

English

We strive to prepare children for a future where words are more important than ever. Their words will allow them to navigate the world and converse with a greater number of people than ever before. English, within the Junior School, empowers children with the skills and confidence to articulate themselves for this future as lifelong learners.

Quality writing is at the heart of our curriculum. We emphasise the importance of books and literature whilst providing enjoyable and challenging activities. The bespoke topics have been designed to engage children and inspire an enduring love of reading and writing. A rich talk environment ensures that children are equipped with the vocabulary and depth of understanding that allows them to master the curriculum.

Providing constructive feedback is an invaluable skill as we encourage our children to develop a strong growth mindset. With a clear success criteria and purpose in mind, children set about planning, drafting and then assessing either their own, or a partner's piece of writing. Children are adept at articulating their responses to their learning, checking the writing matches any targets and editing their learning as a result.

Communication is an integral part of our learning journey and the children’s participation in the English Speaking Board (ESB) Examination is key to this. Years 3-5 focus on preparing talks, reciting passages and poems and responding to their peers through thoughtful questioning. In Year 6, children acquire the skills of debate, researching and applying critical thinking skills in order to build an effective argument.

Mathematics

Mathematics is all around us; it is an important part of the world in which we live and to function in society we need to able to think and communicate mathematically.

At Tanglin, we have developed a rich mathematical curriculum that is accessible to everyone but at the same time allows room for challenge and creative thinking. We invite our learners to make decisions, to explain their findings and to reflect. Teachers promote discussion and communication within each lesson, with an expectation that accurate mathematical vocabulary is used. We encourage originality and invention but most importantly we want the children to start questioning their maths and to ask questions such as “What if…?”

We believe that every student should be encouraged to develop an enthusiasm and love for mathematics through experiencing a wide range of challenging activities. Tasks set are matched closely to the particular ability level and stage of development of each pupil, with targeted positive support to help those with difficulties as well as extension activities to further challenge the most able students.

We aim to make mathematics fun, challenging and relevant to our lives. We use real life experiences so children begin to understand the importance of applying their mathematical skills in everyday situations. Mathematics is taught as a discrete subject but the skills learned are reinforced wherever possible elsewhere in our rich and varied curriculum. For example, when walking around the school, you might hear a group of Year 5 students discussing translation, reflection and rotation when referring to the works of William Morris in an Art lesson; Year 3 students using Roman numerals to calculate as part of a history project, or identifying shapes on the Taj Mahal as part of their India topic.

Science

We live in an increasingly scientific and technological age where children need to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitude to prepare them for life in the 21st Century. Science within the Junior School develops pupils curiosity, enjoyment, skills and a growing understanding of science knowledge, through an approach in which pupils raise their own questions. They gain an appreciation of how science works and how scientific evidence can be properly used to help understand and look after our world. At Tanglin, we give children the opportunity to explore science in the local community. They achieve a deeper understanding about the natural world around them from their personal experiences and from seeing science in action.

The learning experiences links skills and knowledge with direct practical experiences which engages learners at many levels. As a result of completing a range of investigations children become increasingly autonomous in their decision making and activity. Children are given the opportunity to be resilient learners as they challenge themselves when predicting, planning, observing, measuring, recording, communicating and evaluating. They use scientific ideas in their predictions and explanations; are systematic and accurate in their collecting and analysing of evidence, reflect on their knowledge and set their own personal targets in order to take their learning to the next step. They also progress from investigating simple ideas and familiar things to more complex ideas that are unfamiliar to them and perhaps too small, large, faraway or abstract.

Humanities

The world is an amazing place; unique, vibrant and incredibly diverse. The past histories of different cultures and places can both enthuse and inspire us. The sense of awe and wonder we can generate by investigating and delving into a well chosen ‘picnic basket’ of topics helps to ensure that our children learn the key skills within Geography and History whilst having enormous fun and enjoyment.

The Humanities subjects of both History and Geography are an integral and strategic vehicle that help drive our bespoke curriculum throughout the Junior School. They give context to the children’s learning and provide a wide range of cross curricular links to both core subjects of Maths and English, as well as to more vocational and creative areas such as Music and Art. The studies undertaken are deliberately chosen to reflect both our geographical location as well as our historical ties to the UK.

Regular visiting experts and field trips ranging from Sentosa to the deepest rainforests of Borneo, augment our curriculum. So, whether it is simulating an archaeological Viking dig in Year 3, proposing why Pulau Ubin should or should not be named island paradise of the year in Year 4, being champions for the environment in the pristine places of our world in Year 5 or reporting back from Sarawak on the plight of the rainforests in Year 6, our children utilise all the aspects of our Learner Profile to find out about the World, its people and their history.

Art & Design

The Junior Art curriculum is integrated into the wider curriculum, through both specialist and classroom based teaching. Learning in Art fosters a sense of wellbeing and confidence, and is linked with developing critical thinking.

Art is a practical subject, based on knowledge seeking and technical exploration. The Art curriculum focuses on individual skills development, personal expression and an empathy to the global diversity of Art of different times and cultures. Through a diversity of media, individual and collaborative art is actively inspired and the students are encouraged to be positive, creative risk takers as well as mindful individuals.

Music

Music is a language used by people of every culture to express emotions, ideas and philosophies. The children at Tanglin acquire skills which will enable them to appreciate the music of others, as well as to create music which expresses their own experiences and ideas. We have created a rich and varied curriculum which employs a very practical approach incorporating the key elements of performing, composing and listening.

Activities are devised to meet the needs of all our children offering extension and challenge to those who are competent instrumentalists whilst developing fundamental skills to ensure all children have a strong musical understanding and capability. The specialist music rooms are well resourced with a wide range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments, ukuleles and soprano recorders. Children develop an awareness and understanding of 'World Music' through access to an extensive selection of instruments including a complete Indonesian gamelan orchestra.

In order to give all children the opportunity to have experience of learning an orchestral instrument, our students all learn the violin as well as a wind or brass instrument as part of their music programme. Activities are very practical in nature with singing, movement, listening, improvisation and composition featuring in each of our music topics. We believe in the importance of teaching basic music notation as notational literacy empowers independent musicians. It also gives permanence to musical compositions.

The music curriculum is linked to Humanities topics covered throughout the year in order that children understand the similarities and differences in the music produced among different cultures and throughout history. Beyond the curriculum, individual instrumental lessons are available to Junior children during the school day, delivered by specialist tutors. A number of music ensembles are also available through the co-curricular activity (CCA) programme, leading to performance opportunities in school and the local community.

Drama

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.Plato


Drama in the Junior School is built on the foundation of developing the personal qualities and lifeskills of our children, such as teamwork, leadership and risk-taking. At the core of our Drama curriculum is the focus on the ensemble which provides children with experiences and opportunities to develop communication skills that are inherently important in being successful citizens of the future.

Drama promotes self esteem and gives children a sense of achievement. Through participation in a range of activities linked directly to their learning in other curriculum areas, such as Humanities and Literacy, children’s imaginations are stimulated, curiosity generated and opportunities for viewing the world from a different and more informed perspective are created.

Specialist teaching and facilities enhance the children’s experience of Drama along with regular visits from international theatre companies, theatre practitioners and opportunities for all children to perform in both intimate and large scale performances. These opportunities are further enhanced by an extensive co-curricular programme including participation in ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association) Festivals and the Trinity Guildhall Arts Awards.

ICT

ICT is the study of information, communication and technology and their inter-relationship with each other. In the Junior School, the ICT curriculum forms a key part of our overall technology strategy, which aims to prepare the children for life in a society permeated with technology. Our vision for technology is that Tanglin embraces new technology wherever it supports our mission. Staff are confident users of technology and are encouraged to be innovative. Students use technology to inquire, communicate and safely take risks.

We recognise the importance of digital literacy, by which we mean having the attitudes and skills to use technology critically, safely, responsibly and respectfully in our world. Digital literacy has become part of a broad definition of literacy, which undoubtedly encompasses the ‘find and present’ approach to ICT that embodies much of our primary school practice. It also covers the ability to use a wide range of equipment such as digital cameras, mobile devices, microphones, printers etc. We view ICT as a tool to support students’ learning across the curriculum, and we believe the transformative contribution it can make is immense.

We are living in a world where we are surrounded by computers. Our homes are full of devices that are controlled by a computer; from the washing machine to the games console to ever present mobile device. As a consequence it is imperative we give our children an understanding of how these devices work; how they communicate with each and how they can influence our lives. To this end ICT is very much at the heart of our curriculum, reflecting our belief that the learning opportunities of those who are not confident users of computer technology would be severely diminished, as would be their job prospects and the extent of their participation in today’s society.

Chinese

Chinese lessons are characterised by high levels of enjoyment, engagement and active learning. Children develop their knowledge and understanding of the language through a variety of interactive methods, including: role play, group work, interactive activities, task-based or scenario-based activities, use of technology, singing songs and studying Chinese culture.

These different experiences contribute to a systematic development and consolidation of the children’s knowledge and understanding of the language as they become familiar with more complex patterns. Alongside the speaking aspect of learning the language, Chinese characters are introduced, building from each stroke and radical to the formation of the whole character. To help students better remember their meanings, we create stories together while forming the words.

Technology is highly integrated in Chinese lessons especially with Year 5 and 6 classes. With individual iPads, the students have access to a wide range of apps and websites. This learning approach has been very successful in engaging the children, supporting their language development in a highly personalised way and encouraging self-study.

To increase the children’s exposure to Chinese beyond the classroom, our Chinese classrooms are resourced with readers that children can choose to take home. In addition, the children are introduced to Chinese songs and rhymes with which they can practise with their friends and family. Applying the knowledge in daily life is often the best way to learn a language.

Physical Education

At Tanglin, we are privileged to have some outstanding facilities, enabling us to provide a Physical Education (PE) programme of the highest quality. We deliver a curriculum that gives children the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities in an atmosphere of enjoyment and personal development. Through a mixture of competitive and non-competitive activities the students learn about co-operation and evaluating performance. They also learn about making choices and about balanced and healthy lifestyles.

All students benefit from lessons delivered by specialist PE teachers, as well as by their own class teacher. Over the course of a year, this gives the children an opportunity to try out a range of 15 different activities from invasion games, net and wall games, striking and fielding games, athletics, outdoor and adventurous activities, health related fitness, swimming and gymnastics.

In addition to the curriculum, all students have opportunities to take part in competitive sport through the House system and the co-curricular activities (CCA) programme. There are also opportunities to represent the school in local and regional tournaments. Curriculum activities have been chosen to compliment our extensive CCA programme, encouraging the children to try out new sports, as well as to pursue excellence in their chosen field.

Pastoral Curriculum

We recognise the importance of supporting children in their growth towards becoming independent, confident and globally aware citizens with well-rounded social and emotional skills. Alongside the ongoing pastoral care from class teachers, a bespoke pastoral curriculum is delivered through weekly Impact Hour lessons. Whilst this is based on UK objectives, our sessions are tailored to meet the needs of our children in Tanglin’s specific international context, including the rich cultural and religious diversity of Singapore.

Children’s learning takes place across a diverse range of topics, where they learn to connect with people around them while staying safe. Health is an area of focus where children understand the benefits of being active and eating well. Children are also encouraged to be mindful and reflect on the world around them, whilst developing their resilience trying new things and taking opportunities to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Philanthropy is a key part of our pastoral curriculum where children are encouraged to volunteer their time in a service activity whilst supporting others in both year group and whole school charities.

Click on the links below to hear student's reflections for each year group:

"The level of learning is astonishing and our children have progressed way beyond our expectations"
Junior School parent