We, at The Knowledge Review, begin our quest of finding The 10 Most Valuable Schools in Netherlands 2020, with Amity International School, Amsterdam. The school aims to educate the global citizens of tomorrow by making them realize their full potential.
With the vision to empower the pupils to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners, the school’s community is committed to the well-being and development of each individual so they can develop into innovative and internationally minded students. Opening its doors in February 2018, Amity Amsterdam is a new school in the Amsterdam region. After fully renovating the old head quarter of an oil company, the facilities and its interior have been turned into the perfect location for the top quality education that Amity provides all students.
Amity Amsterdam has just completed the candidate phase for the IB PYP programme and is a candidate school for the MYP programme with hopes to grow into a fully accredited school offering the esteemed Diploma Programme as well. The school focuses on teaching students to think critically, independently, and inquire with care and logic.
During an international trade mission, Amity Global was asked if they would like to open a campus in the Netherlands as the Dutch government foresaw an increase in the number of internationals living in Amsterdam and a shortage of available spaces at international schools in the region.
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.
Amity Amsterdam is a part of the Amity Education Group. As a leading non-profit education group, it offers globally benchmarked education. Established over twenty-five years ago, the group educates over 150,000 students worldwide. Its focus on innovations in science and technology, ultramodern infrastructure, and a perfect placement record has directly resulted in Amity Institutes emerging as one of the most sought-after education destinations globally.
A Welcoming Community
Being a young and vibrant schoolbased in Amstelveen, one of the key differentiators for Amity is the welcoming community. Amity Amsterdam understands that students are successful when they have a close relationship and support system between home and school. The school offers individualised education to the students, making sure that the children’s learning is at the centre of decisions. The school actively looks to engage students with their own education and makes sure their learning is connected to everyday life. Another way to achieve this, is by parental engagement. Friends of Amity (FOA) has been set up by volunteer parents to welcome new families. They are a fundamental part of helping new families settle and adjust to their lives in the Netherlands. A key success of FoA has been the connection they have made between families so support occurs outside of school for new families. Their aim is also to build a connection between parents and the school and to support families navigating the challenges of relocating. FOA organises social events such as coffee mornings, bake sales, the summer BBQ fun day and supports events organised by the school.
Student life at Amity Amsterdam
From riding a bike through a safe and nice neighbourhood, meeting friends in an ultramodern school and having break-times outdoor in the luscious greenery, Amity Amsterdam has a lot to offer students. New students are given a buddy with whom they share a home language, nationality or interest. This has enabled students to settle quickly, develop new friendships and feel at home at the school.
Conveniently nestled between Schiphol and Amsterdam, the school is located in a spectacular monumental building which is surrounded by green spaces and located near the Amsterdam Forest. It has a modern, bright, and cheerful look and feel. From the impressive entrance hall to the indoor gymnasium for the younger students, the music rooms furnished with instruments, and the beautiful libraries on both sides of the building, the infrastructure compliments the school’s curriculum perfectly.
Additionally, the school has invested in technology, focusing on digital design, musical production and top of the range smart boards in all classrooms. Amity Amsterdam takes the safety of their whole community very seriously both virtually and physically: the school has a professional security team, visitors can only enter and exit the building with a special pass and all pupils wear a preprogrammed bracelet, which lets them enter and exit the school at designated times.
The school actively encourages a broad range of activities to make learning fun and engaging. The identity of Amity Amsterdam has been clearly developed through the school’s Student Agency & Student Voice initiatives involving students across the age ranges. For instance, EcoClub is facilitated by the Science Teacher and run by pupils who came up with the plan to make the school more environmentally friendly. Another great example of Amity’s ambition in making a difference to the local community is the work the students did supporting the Food Bank and raising awareness for the Ronald McDonald house.
Think Global, Act Local
The school helps children from all backgrounds to adjust to their unfamiliar environment through integration programmes. Students who do not speak English are aided through Additional Language (EAL) programs. This works with a blended model, allowing the students to learn in their classroom and providing them with one-to-one support for their EAL needs. This way, children at Amity gradually build their English Language skills through a supportive and immersive program which enables them to access the curriculum and encourages them to interact with their peers.
Next to their focus on the English language, the school ensures a multinational language program including Dutch and French classes across the year groups. In both the primary and the senior school, the students have language classes with dedicated teachers, allowing them to learn two additional spoken languages including the national language of the Netherlands.
Being located in a country like the Netherlands also means encounters with water and canals, which is why Amity Amsterdam offers swimming sessions for students ages 4 to 10. These weekly lessons are integrated into the children’s regular schedule and students work towards achieving their diplomas.
After the school day has ended, Amity has a wide range of co-curricular activities (CCAs) which are led by school staff, volunteer parents, or one of the many qualified organisations in Amstelveen. Examples of the activities range from yoga, drama, typing courses to STEM, creative writing, cooking, tennis, tree club and private music lessons.
Amity Amsterdam actively invites local companies in for volunteering projects and exciting insights in the classroom. For example, Amity’s Middle Years Students currently work together with Broadcast Amsterdam to put together a radio show regarding healthy food. The podcasts of these shows are shared on Amity’s website.
Education for Tomorrow
Amity Amsterdam choose to offer the globally recognized IB curriculum that challenges students to take responsibility for their own learning and encourages them to become comprehensive citizens. The program equips students with the fundamental skills to tackle not only the problems of today but also of the future.
Furthermore, the candidacy application for the Diploma Programme is already in the pipeline. Amity Amsterdam will continue to grow until it provides comprehensive education for children aged 3 – 18 years old.
Amity Amsterdam offers opportunities for teamwork and leadership for both staff and students. The school nourishes open-minded and caring individuals who are active and respectful members of the global and local community.
The school has high ambitions for the future. With support from the Amity Education Group, the school plans to expand to its full capacity within the next few years. In terms of infrastructure, a brand new second playground and all-weather sports facility have just been opened.
All in all, newcomer Amity Amsterdam is a great addition for the everexpanding Amsterdam cosmopolitan region. The school is at the forefront in terms of the latest educational pedagogy, investment in resources, use of technology to support learning and developing a strong sense of community both within the local community and for international families.
Learn more about the school by visiting www.amityschool.nl
MEET MISS PIXIE
Another key differentiator to the school is school dog Miss Pixie. Amity Amsterdam proves to be quick to adapt to the needs of the students as Pixie originally was supposed to be a reading dog. The school soon realised Pixie proved to be a successful support dog for several children. Amity is the only school within the Amsterdam region to offer this special class assistant.
NEW PRINCIPAL, NEW VISION
Amity Amsterdam’s Principal, Mrs Sarah Wade, M.Ed. started at the school in July 2019. Originally from England, she started her career as a PE teacher and Head of Year in the UK before making the courageous decision to work internationally, as Head of Girls’ PHE position in Saudi Arabia for six years. She remained in the Middle East for 8 years developing a deep understanding of the IB curriculum as an educator and through school leadership roles at an esteemed IB school in Qatar. Now, she leads Amity Amsterdam, as the school continues to grow and flourish. Under her guidance, Amity Amsterdam has opened its Senior School for Middle Years students. It is Amity’s aim to expand the school through to the Diploma Programme, by opening up new year groups every year. The first Diploma cohort would start in the 2021-22 academic year. Furthermore, Mrs Wade successfully launched the school’s topclass catering services, which allows parents and students to opt-in for a hot healthy lunch. Another important item on her agenda is the continued refinement of the safeguarding practices with a focus on ensuring the well-being of every individual within the school community.
What Parents And Students Say About Amity Amsterdam
“Here, I can be me.” – Middle Years Student “Finding the right school for our children was the one thing we stressed about as parents during this move to Amsterdam. Amity Amsterdam has not only erased any fears for us but truly made this an amazing experience for our three children. They are actually disappointed on weekends when there is no school” – Primary And Early Years Parent
“Amity Amsterdam offers not only excellent facilities and surroundings. with Amity’s engaged, knowledgeable staff it really feels that each individual gets the attention and support to be able to learn, grow and perform at their best. We could not wish for a better start to our son’s school life” – Primary Years Parent
“Amity International School Amsterdam is refreshing . The education environment is perfect and offers a variety of after-school activities, diligent teachers, friendly staff members including the Principal. The staff are polite and energetic and help the parents to drive our kids to enjoy their daily life. Overall it is awesome!” – Early Years Parent