Read in: Nederlands
The former head office of Van Leer’s Vatenfabriek on Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen has been brought back to life. Amity International School Amsterdam has revived the impressive old building by fully renovating its interior and turning the facilities into a fitting location where children are taught at the highest educational level.
The premises of Amity International School Amsterdam doesn’t immediately strike you as a typical school: there’s a lot of green around the building, trees and large open spaces and… oh yes, that must be a playground for children over there. And what an entrance! On entering the building, one steps into the very impressive atrium that would rather befit a beautiful museum than in a regular school. The receptionist assures us that we indeed have arrived at the school and welcomes us into the building.
We are welcomed by Judith Meijer, the school’s Marketing & Communications Officer. “We opened our doors one year ago and you could say we’re currently transitioning from a start-up to a scale-up”, she says.
No waiting list at Amity
Amity International School Amsterdam is ready to receive a large number of new students and that expectation is very realistic. “In the first year of our existence we have grown from two to 120 students and we expect this number to go up quickly as the other international schools in the area all have waiting lists. We currently have spaces for approximately 320 primary school children and another 280 in September, when the left wing will be occupied by the secondary school,” says Judith.
Amity International School Amsterdam is part of a leading educational organisation offering top-level education worldwide
Amity International School Amsterdam is a valuable addition to Amsterdam and Amstelveen. The school is part of a leading educational organisation offering top-level education worldwide, from kindergarten to Ph.D. level. At this moment, the Amity Group has 150,000 students worldwide at campuses in Dubai, London, Singapore, New York, Mauritius and China.
Highly regarded curriculum
“We are a Candidate School for the PYP, pursuing authorisation as an IB World School*. Taught in over 109 countries around the world, the PYP curriculum framework is uniquely adaptable to state and national standards. Guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, students deepen their learning by developing their conceptual understandings; strengthening their knowledge and skills across and beyond subject areas. All schools offering the IB Curriculum follow the same philosophy. This means a student who moves to a different IB school will be able to continue learning in the same way, guided by the same principles”, Judith explains.
Why did Amity come to Amsterdam? “During a trade mission to India, organised by the Dutch government a few years ago, we were asked if Amity would like to open a campus in the Netherlands as the government foresaw an increase in the number of expats (partly due to Brexit) and a shortage of available spaces at international schools. Given Amity’s worldwide experience in international education, they decided to join forces with the municipalities of Amsterdam and Amstelveen in order to create new international school places.”
‘We encourage the children to love learning, to be curious and to investigate things for themselves’
It’s time for a tour of the building as we cannot wait to see what it looks like on the inside. Once we enter the students’ section, the building looks warm and colourful. The floors are carpeted and there are cheerful-looking craftworks hanging on the wall. Suddenly, it feels like we are in a school!
We pass the classroom for 10- and 11-year-olds. The students are sitting on ergonomic chairs in a nice-looking space. Eh, students? “Yes. we refer to the children as ‘students’, we take them seriously and do expect them to be responsible members of the community at this school. We teach in so-called Units of Inquiry, six-week blocks in which the class focuses on a specific theme or concept. For example, recycling, animals and nature. During those weeks, the students work in groups to dive deeper into the subject and investigate things at their own level; this way we encourage them to explore and develop themselves as learners.”
David Porritt, Principal of Amity International School Amsterdam, adds: “We focus on one-size-fits-one solutions. At our school, every child is an individual. We encourage the children to love learning, to be curious and to investigate things for themselves. The social aspect is very important as well, so we make sure they do a lot of things together. Children of expats are often moving to a new house and changing schools. This means our students know all too well how crucial it is to welcome newcomers. In our experience, at this school a child has new friends ten minutes after arrival.”
Extra learning support
As the school requires students to perform on a high educational level, are there any children who need extra support? “The main spoken language in our school is English. Still, there are a few children who have only limited knowledge of English when they enter the school. For them we have a special English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher. We would never ask students to leave this school; instead we offer extra support to those who need it. Children gradually build their English Language skills through a supportive and immersive program which enables them to access the curriculum and begin to interact with their peers.”
And then it’s 3 p.m. – the students are ready to go home. Suddenly the atrium is filled with high-pitched voices and with parents and au-pairs waiting for children. The former Van Leer building has been given a very nice new lease of life…
Amity International School Amsterdam is a candidate school for the PYP pursuing authorisation as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education. Only schools authorised by the IB Organisation can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorisation will be granted.
Amity International School Amsterdam
Read in: Nederlands