Message from the Early/Primary Years Principal

Neil White, Early/Primary Years Principal February 1, 2019
Message from the Early/Primary Years Principal

It has been a busy few weeks since school resumed on January 8th. Please find below updates on some key events and projects that we are currently working on.

Arts Week

Last week students, teachers and parents had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the GEMS (Singapore) Arts Week. The event was highly successful and enjoyable!

It was wonderful to see such a positive and creative atmosphere around the school. Art Week is a great way to bring the GEMS Community together to express creativity and participate in various artistic activities. It has been fantastic to see our Early/Primary Years students engaging in activities that they have never tried before and had a lot of fun!

Arts Week is a valuable opportunity to recognise the important part that the Arts plays in the learning experience of a GEMS student. In addition to the school Arts team who did an amazing job, thank you to all the Early/Primary Years staff who have been involved in offering activities during the week, this is very much appreciated. A big thank you also to all of our parents who were involved in the Artists Showcase led workshops for our students or worked alongside them in creating artwork throughout the school.

Parent Portal 

We are delighted to announce the launch of the GEMS (Singapore) Early/Primary Years parent portal. This portal is a centralised information space where parents will be able to check their child’s timetable and attendance, find and contact their child’s teachers, view new and archived newsletters and find all relevant links to other systems used by the school. All content is user-specific (only information about your child/children and notices relevant to his/her grade level are available) and is taken dynamically from our management system and database. Early and Primary Years parents have already received an automated welcome email with detailed instructions and user-specific access codes for the initial login.

Please contact our Parent Relations Executive team (Shelley & Cindy) with any questions related to the parent portal at  

After the Chinese New Year Holiday, we will be updating the parent portal with our divisional scope and sequence curriculum documents which the teachers and leadership team have been working on during the first semester. We will be providing parent engagement sessions during Quarter 3 to further navigate and explain these documents and how they are used in teaching and learning.

Cognitive Abilities Test

Our Grade 3-5 students have been undertaking the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) during the past two weeks. This is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning. While many tests focus on a child’s attainment in core subjects, CAT4 is designed to give schools a much broader, more rounded view of each child, their potential and how they learn. Results help teachers make decisions about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed. Tasks involve thinking about shapes and patterns (Non-Verbal Reasoning), words (Verbal Reasoning), numbers (Quantitative Reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (Spatial Ability). CAT4 is based on years of research and development.

International Schools Assessment 

On the 19-21 February, students from Grades 3, 4 and 5 will be taking part in the International Schools Assessment (ISA’s). Grade 5 will be taking the ISAs on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th February 2019 due to the Grade 5 camp.

The ISA assesses mathematical literacy, reading, writing (Grade 3-10) and scientific literacy (Grade 7-10 only) using the internationally-endorsed frameworks from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In general, the questions assess how well students can apply their mathematical, reading, scientific and writing skills to situations relating to real life in the 21st century. The ISA does not assess a particular curriculum, and it is not designed to address the full scope of the curriculum in mathematics, reading, writing and science for any school. It addresses as broad a range of key skills and understandings as is possible in a short, standardised test.

Chinese New Year Assemblies

Yesterday we held both our EY and PY Chinese New Year assemblies. Students led these assemblies which involved musical performances, songs and dances as well as a lion dance from the Ghee Heng Athletic Association group. It was wonderful to see the students dressed in their Chinese New Year colours. We have also held calligraphy workshops during the week and the students have been inquiring into this special celebration in classes.

Special thanks go to our Mandarin team, Ms Vivian, Ms Alice, Ms Qi Hang and Ms Sharon.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our families a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year, safe travels and we look forward to seeing the students back at school on Monday, 11 February 2019.



Neil White, 
Early/Primary Years Principal 


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CPE registration number: 200803726H, 19 March 2017 to 18 March 2021
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