Avondale Grammar School - Where Positive Education Thrives

Avondale Grammar School
Phoenix Park
Central, Singapore
May 2015

Merlion Wayfarer was recently at Avondale Grammar School as part of the HeritageFest's event titled Avondale Grammar School: From Past to Present at Phoenix Park. The guided tour saw the doors of the former headquarters of the British Military and Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs at Tanglin Road opened to the public for the first time.

Offered a guided tour of an international school for the first time, Merlion Wayfarer was very impressed by the innovative educational curriculum.

Motor Skills

This handcrafted phoenix represented the original naming of Phoenix Park.
Made by 3 to 4-year-old preschoolers, the collage was formed with different-coloured rice
to signify the member countries in the Rice Talks...

What better way to teach preschoolers about shapes than to use food?
In this simple exercise, students cut out simple shapes and pasted them onto a paper plate pizza.
Besides training their motor skills,
they also learn about aesthetics, shapes and numbers at the same time.

Presentation Skills

Boys from Year 3 with their cute little mustaches role play a British Major, a Colonel and a General discussing the formation of SEATO. Despite their young age, they are able to project their voices well with clear articulation...

Cultural Understanding

In one of the Level 1 classrooms, one's eye is naturally drawn to this picture board.
"Where In The World Do You Read?" was its title.
People from all over the world are featured doing just one thing - reading. 

The School has children from over 20 nationalities. To teach them about the values for global harmony, they create an interlinked chain with coloured paper and handwritten values...

Sensual Awareness

In learning about materials, students are taught to use their 5 senses.
A pair of scissors, an example of "metal",
can be "shiny" (visual), "sharp" (kinesthetic), and can "cut things" (action)...

Language & Grammar

These were other posters found in the classrooms

How do you tell time... Using an analogue clock is very different from using a digital timepiece.
Do you know what time is a "quarter past seven"?

Without using a thesaurus, how many words and phrases can you come up with to mean "addition"?

Using animals, what does it mean to "slide" and to "flip"?

Stressing the importance of punctuation...

If you find yourself always using the same word...

Sentences are composed of these parts - adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, nouns...

Current Affairs

Much is built into the curriculum so that the students, most of who are temporary residents of Singapore, learn more about their host country and grow to appreciate their time spent here.

How much do the students know about Singapore leaders?
Quite a lot - as shown from this running slide show on Lee Kuan and profiles of prominent Singapore politicians pasted on the doors of key rooms in the school, such as this one of Professor Jayakumar at door to the music room.

Visual cues like these provide reminders for the assimilation of knowledge.

In this map by Year 5s, the students researched the history of the local area surrounding Phoenix Park. Using this information, they wrote newspaper reports about the interesting facts uncovered...

With old photographs of Orchard Road, students drew what they thought Orchard Road was like in the past...

In the above project, the Year 5s learnt about research skills, writing techniques, article formatting, while at the same time, practiced their sketching and understanding of perspective.


Colour-coding to inculcate correct classroom behaviour...

How do you contribute to a team/community/family? Are you a hog that delays everyone due to your own agenda? A log that is slow to move and holding everyone up? A cog that does the work? Or...


Year 4 students are provided with a camera to photograph the architecture of Phoenix Park. In this activity, in addition to camera angles, they learn about organic and geometric shapes so that they can be creatively incorporated into their photographs.

A QR code is included below every framed photo with a description of it...

Appreciation of art with a poster of art pieces in the Musee du Louvre in Paris...


Of course, the environment matters too. Quality furniture is a must for students in their growing years.

An ergonomic classroom chair...

Positive Education is taught at Avondale Grammar School through the Bounce Back programme created by Dr Toni Noble and Helen McGrath. Positive Education is exactly as its name suggests: a pastoral learning programme that teaches children the skills and attitudes they need to promote resilience and guide them along the pathway of well-being. In school, students not only experience a positive school culture and environment, they are also taught skills in how to enhance their well-being, deal with life’s challenges, live a life of meaning and purpose, strengthen their relationships with others and strive for their dreams. Positive education lessons and activities emphasize the benefits of a growing and optimistic mind and a grateful heart. The programme also prepares children for life’s challenges by strengthening their problem-solving skills and resilience. Such lessons set students up for lifelong learning and flourishing beyond the school gates. 

Celebrating life in colours - Snapshots of the students in school activities...