Author - AIS Admin

AIS Welcome Back BBQ Party

Dear Parents,

The new school year 2019-2020 has started extremely well. All AIS families are invited to the annual Welcome Back BBQ Party! It is sure to be a great event and I look forward to seeing you there!

The details are as follows:

Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Sports Field, Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho Street, Dist 2, HCMC
5.00 pm – 7.00 pm

Dress code: Casual
Please remember that AIS is a non-smoking campus

There will be food and drinks, lots of games and activities for children, musical performances, fashion shows, photo- booth, face painting…

To assist with catering, please RSVP by 20 Aug, 2019 using the following link:





Student Age: born from 01/9/2013 – 01/02/2018)

A Free Trial experience will allow your child the chance to get a feel for the program’s challenges, see our classroom dynamics, as well as meet our teachers, and like-minded peers. Special benefit: Waive of application fee (3,180,000VND) and cute gifts (Australian Koala + AIS Water Bottle) for students.
Condition: Application fee will be paid during registration, and deducted in tuition fee when receiving the offer, or refunded when students failed the test.
Register Now!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email:

Hotline: 19006940


The Challenge of Good Parenting

Recently a number of staff have become parents for the first time. The joy on their faces is simply wonderful, despite the lack of sleep! Although my own children are adults and I now have grandchildren, I remember the day that each of my children was born and the sense of overwhelming love that flowed through me. Yet as they grew, I realised that in all the challenges of life, being a good parent was one of the hardest for we want the best for our children, but we don’t always know how to make that happen. As I reflect on this, I realise that good parenting comes from two simple thoughts – the importance of spending time with your children and setting the right example.

But modelling the best behaviour for our children can be very challenging indeed!
An example of this is when our children become teenagers and we are helping plan their futures. Often children can say they want to finish their high schooling overseas (so they can be more grown up) and as parents, we think we need to support this as a demonstration of being a good parent. But is this the best choice?
When we send our children away, we can send them into cultures, which can have values that clash with our own. For example, some western countries may be more permissive about sex, alcohol and drugs. When we add the lack of supervision, this brings considerable risks. There is no doubt that some thrive in a new and challenging environment, but more just survive, and some finish barely alive. Research has shown us that as ‘parachute kids’ (as children who are parachuted into new cultures are known) are separated from their family and culture at a formative age, they are more susceptible to isolation, aggression, anxiety, depression and suicide. In fact, a reasonable number do not settle and end up returning to their families, which leads to further disruption academically, socially and emotionally.
As good schools know, the greater the cooperation between parents, child and school, the greater the outcomes for children. This is almost impossible when we send our children away. Yet excellent cooperation is a feature of AIS where we have such a high quality staff to support us, and that our children will have so many opportunities to grow.
If we want to help our children succeed – and isn’t that what we all want- then we need to find time to be with them, and model what we wish them to do. For me, time with our children passes too quickly, and so keeping a family together so that we can be there to support our children and help them make good decisions is too precious to give away. In the end, it wont matter what we say if we don’t live what we believe and find the time our children need to be with them.

Dr Roderick Crouch – Executive Principal


The Benefits of Music Education

I wrote about the importance of physical activity, including Physical Education and sport at AIS. Another important pillar of the AIS curriculum is the Performing Arts, and in particular music. Most people appreciate that music contributes to students’ development as well-rounded individuals. What is less widely known is that studying music actually enhances students’ brain function and thus their ability to learn.

A study led by Dr Anita Collins from the University of Canberra concluded that formal music training has positive effects on several aspects of brain development. According to Dr Collins, “learning a musical instrument lights up all functions of the brain in a unique way, and improves vocal, vocabulary and memory skills.” Another study conducted at the University of London found that musical experiences enhance processing ability which, “can impact on the perception of language, which in turn impacts on learning to read.” There is also evidence to show that learning music can help students’ self-confidence, self-discipline and team work and, according to Nina Kraus from Northwestern University in Chicago, that “musical training during [childhood] may produce long-lasting
positive effects on the adult brain.”

Put in simple terms, learning music in general, and learning instruments in particular, helps students to progress in all of their academic subjects including the critical core of English, Science, Maths and Languages. In this light, students at AIS are well served in terms of musical education. Specialist music teachers are employed to deliver our music programmes for Kindergarten through to IB. There is a strong focus on learning instruments. In the primary school Year 4 students learn the recorder, Year 5 students, the ukulele, and in Year 6, guitar. From personal experience – I have twin daughters in Year 5 – I can attest that the karate belt system that is used has been particularly effective in motivating students to learn to play their instruments. Students learn progressively more challenging songs and as they master each one they are awarded a coloured ‘belt’ ( in the form of a ribbon which they can attach to their instrument), starting with white and culminating in the highly prized black belt.
In 2016, former Music teacher, Mr Andrew Sweeney made learning to play concert band instruments the basis of Year 8 – 10 Music classes at AIS. This continued the focus on learning to play an instrument. It also resulted in a major expansion of the music performance groups in the Secondary School to the point that by the end of the 2017-2018 academic year the Concert Band comprised 40+ members. Mr Colin Burstow, who took over from Mr Sweeney when he returned to Australia in June, has continued to enhance the performance music programme at AIS both in terms of quantity and quality. By the beginning of the second semester we will have five important ensemble groups: a Concert Band, Jazz Band, Junior Concert Band, Rock Band, and the Choir. The AIS Concert Band gave one of the standout performances at last month’s Saimuse Concert, an event involving music groups from most of the major international schools in Ho Chi Minh City, adding to AIS’s growing reputation for excellence in the performing arts.

Mark Vella – Deputy Executive and Secondary Principal


How To Be A Good Listener

Have you ever found yourself saying to your child ‘why aren’t you listening to me?’ ‘What did I just
say?’ or shaking your head in disbelief when your child has not understood a small task you have
asked them to complete (several times!)
Below are a few ideas that might help your child improve their listening skills, which may help at home
and also in school. But first let’s consider what it means to be a good listener.
What do we need to do to be a good listener?
• Prepare yourself for listening.
• Focus on what is being said.
• Listen to ideas not just words.
• Wait and watch for non-verbal communication.
• Maintain eye contact wherever possible.
• Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
• And most importantly … stop talking.
How can I help nurture good listening skills with my child?
• Ask your child to repeat what you have said, for example, after giving an instruction.
• Read stories – let your child predict the ending, retell the best part (make the story interactive).
• Audio stories – listen to the stories together with your child or as a family.
• Add-on stories – this can be done in a group where each person adds onto the story every 4 or
5 sentences.
• Identify sounds – play or make sounds while your child’s eyes are closed and they must try to
identify them.
• Copycat – play games like broken telephone, clapping a pattern or repeating silly made-up rhymes.
I hope that these ideas help you and your child work on their listening skills, and if you have any further
ideas please feel free to share them with me.

Rachel Perkins – Primary and Kindergarten Principal


AIS Secondary Prize Day

The 2018-2019 Academic year culminated in the annual Secondary Prize-Giving Ceremony held yesterday, 13 June 2019. Following addresses from CEO of ACG Schools and AIS General-Director, Mr Clarence van der Wel, the original founders of Australian International School, Ms Thuy Nguyen and Mr Nigel Russell, and the Executive Principal, Dr Roderick Crouch, prizes were awarded to over 100 students. Prizes included awards for Academic Excellence, Academic Endeavour and Citizenship, Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year ( Senior and Junior ), Musician of the Year, and Senior Leadership. The ultimate academic prize, Dux of AIS, was awarded to 2018-2019 Head Girl, Seung Yoon Jung. To see a complete list of the awards go to the June 2019 AIS Newsletter:


Primary Prize Day

Many congratulations to our Primary Prize Day winners on receiving their certificates and prizes today. We are very proud of their achievements and efforts this year.


The PYP Exhibition 2019

The PYP Exhibition was wrapped up over the 2-Day presentation. It went exceptionally well. Students, teachers and parents enjoyed talking and listening to Year 6 students, sharing their actions. Through their reflections, Year 6 students shared how they have become more confident in public speaking, competent in organising their time and effective in expressing their points of view. Visiting teachers and students from other schools commented on how they were very articulate in sharing their passions and influencing others to also make a difference. The students are to be congratulated for their perseverance, commitment and positive attitude towards their learning. It was a great experience for all involved, including the teachers.



Recently we held our leadership assembly for the new school leaders in Year 12. The following is an extract from my speech to the students. Recently I saw Avengers: Endgame. As I watched it, it had me thinking about leadership. The Avengers – especially Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, were all leaders in their own right, but they all had flaws.
They may have had amazing powers or abilities, but they were not perfect. They needed to work together. One of the statements in the movie is that the Avengers will do “whatever it takes’’ to make the world better. Normally this statement has a bad meaning, as people use it to cheat, or deceive to achieve a goal and say that the end justifies the means. But as the movie shows, “whatever it takes” has a new meaning – in other words, I will do whatever is
in my means to help another, even if it means self-sacrifice… And that is exactly the type of leadership we wish to see students show at school. At AIS, we believe servant leadership is the best form of leadership. In other words, we lead by helping others, and setting the right example. True leaders inspire, sometimes by words, but more commonly by deeds, that is, they set the example that others want to follow. Leaders work together to benefit others. As Albert Schweitzer said, Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
Similarly, all of us can be leaders but all of us need to act. There is another old saying, sometimes attributed to Edmund Burke or John Stuart Mill which says, The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

This is a wonderful school community and I love leading it. I stand each day and watch students come to school happy to see their friends, and keen to be a part of AIS. But I also see some things that make me sad or disappointed – these things happen in the shadows. Occasionally (not often) Emails or social media accounts are set up and used to make someone else’s life difficult. Sometimes these accounts use the Schools name or have the AIS logo attached. They are not school accounts. Mean, nasty and unkind comments are then added by others as it is very tempting to join a group that targets another student or to add a comment.
My encouragement to all students is not just to stand by and do nothing – this only encourages bad things, but to act. To say to your friends that what they are doing is not right. To encourage them to take down inappropriate posts or accounts. After all, leaders act positively to make our school a better place for everyone.
The challenge for all of us, not just our student leaders is how do we harness the energy and enthusiasm of the school community to help the School be the best we can be for both our community and the world. And we can harness it by combining our own individual gifts for the benefit of others. Just like the Avengers we are much stronger together. When we do this we build community and through that we all build resilience.
This week, our school, and our leaders have been tested in the hardest possible way and I am very proud of them. It can seem overwhelming sometimes. Finally, it is important that we all remember this,
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow. 
When we persevere, like the Avengers, we succeed… and our school is better for it.

Dr Roderick Crouch – Executive Principal


How Creativity, Activity, Service IB Projects Prepare Students for University

A bare, multi-color back slips into a river made with dollops of vivid blues and greens.

A striking red horizon enjambs the soothing water, suggesting turmoil. “I drew myself trapped in a river, where past and present coexist, constantly collid[ing with] each other and confus[ing] me,” explains artist Hyun Jin. She painted 11 works which were displayed alongside those of 10 other students as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Australia International School (AIS).

By focusing on more than simply the technical aspects of art, the IB program develops artists who can “tell their own story,” Hyun Jin tells Saigoneer. The mentorship, rigor and freedom of expression the project demands allow her to experiment and use a variety of materials, learning about the possibilities of art beyond narrow classroom settings. Such an understanding has not only prepared her for university (she has been accepted at the prestigious UAL Camberwell and London College of Communication as well as Kingston University London and Ontario College of Art and Design University) but also success as an adult able to connect ideas across disciplines.

To attain an IB Diploma, students must complete three requirements: take theory of knowledge (TOK) courses and pass a formal assessment; write an extended essay of up to 4,000 words; and complete a creativity, activity, service (CAS) project. This last element, in particular, gives students great freedom to explore their unique passions. Students like Hyun Jin, her classmate Jonathan — who is working on film — and others working with audio, chose to immerse themselves in fine arts. Each student has an individual mentor to guide them through the self-directed work. Art Program Coordinator Nigel Hall says the arrangement is unique in the way it encourages “a personal interview with yourself to find out what you want to say as an artist.”

The CAS projects foster engagement with more than just creative subjects, however. Many students work on projects related to more conventional academic fields. For example, Jerry, a final-year student, decided to explore his interest in tangible international problem solving by leading a Model UN program. Representatives from five international schools in Saigon gather to represent different countries and debate an issue, hoping to pass a resolution after hours of deliberation. Participants not only gain a firm understanding of global issues and perspectives but learn applicable problem-solving, cooperation, public speaking and research skills. Jerry expects the experience will give him an advantage when he attends the London School of Economics in the fall.

“The most important part is the reflection portion,” Jerry explains. CAS projects are ultimately assessed through regular written reflections. To monitor progress and think critically about major events and accomplishments, students must complete short essays regularly during the two-year process.

Milly, a Vietnamese student who transferred from a local high school to AIS for the university preparation offered by the IB program, focused her CAS project on the Global Issues Network (GIN) conference held at AIS this past spring. Students from all grades formed different groups to discuss diverse subjects — such as LGTBQ issues, sustainability or animal trafficking — and developed creative ways to present their ideas and insights to one another including posters, plays and games. Reflecting on the event, Milly says that she learned a great deal about time management, organization, leadership and learning to work with people from different backgrounds.

The students that spoke with Saigoneer all stressed that a major reason for choosing AIS was because of the IB curriculum, which readies them for life after high school, away from home at foreign universities. From very tangible skills such as knowing how to write thesis-driven essays reliant on significant research and a mastery of numerous subjects to more ephemeral soft skills such as teamwork and confidence in one’s ability, they know that whatever they encounter in university is likely to be something they’ve already faced before.

AIS believes in producing well-rounded students who not only are able to get top marks on standardized assessments but also become active life-long learners with an eye for community involvement. The IB program exemplifies this aim through the balance of traditional classroom work required for the TOK examinations and the more open CAS projects. Even the essay allows for a mingling of conventional and modern learning outcomes by applying a strict methodology to any subject that interests them. Milly, for example, investigated antibiotic-resistant bacteria and traditional medicine employing the types of research and experiment procedures she will use when studying biology at university in Australia next year.

The projects often produce breakthroughs in how the students see and engage with the outside world. When showing us a selection of her paintings, some of which have won major prizes, Hyun Jin explained how her depictions of the plight of Korean comfort women gave her a unique opportunity to learn more about and reflect on her country’s culture and her place within it.

“In public school, these activities never existed,” Milly says when asked if she would recommend her peers in Vietnam consider attending AIS for the IB program. The CAS projects specifically help inspire and motivate students, engage new areas of their brains and perhaps, most importantly, discover the subjects, skills and activities they might pursue for the rest of their lives.

Source: Saigoneer