06 June, 2024

Why Northbridge is the school of choice in Phnom Penh for an Australian parent

Why Northbridge is the school of choice in Phnom Penh for an Australian parent - Why Northbridge is my school of choice in Phnom Penh by parent Jason Berkeley
Why Northbridge is the school of choice in Phnom Penh for an Australian parent

There are many reasons why Northbridge International School Cambodia is the academic school of choice in Phnom Penh, including our quality education that produces the best IB Diploma results in the country; the exceptional quality of our highly experienced and qualified teachers; our renowned spacious green 20 acre campus; and our inclusive and supporting community, which is welcoming to all. But we wanted to know what our parents thought.

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Please introduce yourself
My name's Jason Berkeley. I have two children here at Northbridge, one in Kindergarten and one in Grade 2.


We moved from Russia to Cambodia, and the lifestyle here is very different. In Europe, there are large parks and playgrounds, which are not as common in Cambodia. Therefore, the school and where we live become central to our children's activities and play opportunities. We live close to the school, which makes commuting easy and allows the kids to run around with their friends after school.


How did you know Northbridge?

Before bringing my kids here, I knew Northbridge as a respectable school in Phnom Penh. I first heard of Northbridge when I was in northern Thailand, so it's known quite far afield.


What attracted you to choose Northbridge for your children?

Nord Anglia schools are well known around the world. wasn't fully aware of all the different Nord Anglia connections available, but I definitely knew the name.


What do you love most about our school, and why?

At school, my kids have friends from various nationalities. There are many events for parents to attend, which help us feel connected to the school community. The transition from Early Learning to Kindergarten was managed well by the staff and didn't cause any undue stress for my son.


My kids love swimming, partly due to the lessons at school. Their interests have expanded; my eldest enjoys arts and crafts and often brings home what he learns in school to try new things. Since joining Northbridge, their English has improved significantly, becoming as strong as or stronger than their Russian.


My oldest son really enjoys his French lessons. He always comes home talking about his activities in French and is very enthusiastic about learning the language.


In today's connected world, it's likely that my kids will need to interact with people from all over. Being able to communicate in another person's language is valuable and expands their opportunities. My children are already bilingual, so adding a third language is beneficial. I believe multilingualism benefits students in other areas of their learning as well.


What do you know about the bilingual IB Diploma?

My kids are still far from getting their diplomas, but I hope they graduate from a school that offers the IB diploma. My understanding is that the bilingual diploma means students study two languages at the language and literature level, making them fluent in both, which is different from the regular diploma where a second language is considered a language acquisition.


The IB curriculum is international, not tied to any specific nation. Unlike American or British schools, the IB curriculum is designed to be country-agnostic, which is important for families that move around. The primary years program of IB is inquiry-based, allowing students to explore areas of interest and learn skills along with content. It's not just about memorizing facts, but also developing skills like analysis and critical thinking, which can be applied in any situation.


The flexibility of the IB system is crucial. Prescriptive syllabi from national systems leave little room to adapt to local cultures or student interests. The IB program allows schools to incorporate the best parts of other systems while adding relevant content for their students. This skills-based approach prepares students to process new knowledge and use information productively.


In today's rapidly changing world, preparing students to be flexible and adaptive learners is more important than ever. The Australian curriculum I grew up with was very specific to Australia and didn't necessarily prepare me for an international life. In contrast, my kids are being prepared to live and succeed anywhere.


Has your child joined any of the Northbridge Global Expeditions, Performing Arts Trips or Regional Sporting Events?

The big trips and sporting carnivals are exciting, but my kids are a bit young for those now. They look forward to taking advantage of those opportunities when they're older. In Phnom Penh, they do a lot of art classes outside of school and some football training. They've also been on field trips to the Phnom Tamao Animal Sanctuary and a cultural village. I believe a lot of learning happens outside the classroom, and applying what they've learned in real-world situations is very valuable.


Most kids talk about the fun parts of their day, like playing with friends and games at lunchtime. I think play and engagement outside of lessons are important for their growth. The Northbridge campus is the greenest and most open in Phnom Penh. It's a safe environment designed to engage the students, allowing them to enjoy and play with their friends.


What are the most important education aspects for you?

When it comes to education, three things are most important to me: safety, academic support and challenge, and happiness. Northbridge provides a safe and beautiful campus. The lessons are supportive and challenging, and overall, my kids are happy here.


Transitioning to a new school can be tough and emotional for kids. It's important to trust the school and its staff. They've handled new students countless times and are professionals at it. While it's natural to worry as a parent, there comes a point where you need to let go and trust the staff to do their best. The partnership between home and school is strong here.