Frequently Asked Questions

Are new students accepted during the school year?

Yes, SAIS adopts a rolling admissions policy. Although we encourage students to begin the school year at SAIS, we do accept applications throughout the year and provided that space is available, students can enroll at any time.

Who is eligible to apply?

In accordance with Chinese Bureau of Educational policy, SAIS accepts applications for students who hold a foreign passport with a valid Chinese visa, as well as students from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

What are the school hours?

8:30 am through 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Students of ELE1 and ELE2 (3 and 4 year olds) will take a one hour nap every day.

After school activities from 3:30 to 4:30 pm Monday to Thursday are optional.

What is the maximum class size?

Ele1-K, no more than 18 students per class, G1-G5 , no more than 20 students per class, G6-G8 , no more than 24 students per class, G9-G12, no more than 26 students per class.

The student-teacher ratio is 1:7 in ELE and kindergarten classes, 1:10 in first through 4th grade, and between 1:10 and 1:20 in middle and high school, depending on the class.

What do students need to bring to school?

For ELE (3 and 4 years old) classes: A backpack to carry their items including work, extra clothing for temperature changes and accidental situations, etc;

Bedding includes a blanket, a bed sheet and a pillow for nap (ELE students will bring them to school on Mondays and bring back home for washing on Fridays); A water bottle.

For kindergarten and up: A backpack and a water bottle.

Does the school provide bus service?

Yes. Currently we provide school bus service to students living in Nanshan and Futian districts at an additional cost. There will be a bus monitor on each school bus. School bus fee please check the fee schedule page.

Does the school provide lunches?

Yes. Optional hot buffet lunches and various lunch boxes are available for purchase from the lunch company NomNom. To see the lunch menus and lunch fees please check: /?p=1273 .

Students who bring their own lunch box can use the microwave ovens in the canteen to heat up meals. Teaching assistants will supervise students during lunch time in the canteen and the outdoor playfield.

What is the language of instruction?

English is the primary language of instruction. Students from Kindergarten and up have one Chinese (simplified Chinese) class every day. All other courses are taught by expat teachers in English.

If my child doesn’t speak English, what does the school provide in terms of support?

SAIS students are mostly English language learners and so all of our teachers are ESL teachers. However, SAIS also provides extra language instruction to those students that are new to SAIS and/or need extra support in English. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, students who are new to the English language in grades 3 and up will receive additional ESL classes at no extra cost. 

Where do the teachers come from?

Our teachers are fully qualified and are from all over the world including the US, UK, Canada and South Africa.

Is IB curriculum adopted at SAIS?

No. SAIS provides high-quality academic instruction based on American educational standards including the Common Core State Standards. The Project-Based Learning approach, which also started in the US, is the main focus at SAIS, helping students learn key academic content and also cultivate their critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity as they construct high-quality, authentic products & presentations.

What is the school’s homework policy?

Based on research about homework, students in ELE through grade 8 will have an expectation of reading (or being read to) for at least 30 minutes every night. There will also be opportunities for following up on projects at home for those students who are interested. However, formal homework assignments outside of independent reading is not given to students in grades 8 and below.

What is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional approach that requires students to do sustained inquiry in interdisciplinary areas of study that have relevance in the world beyond our classrooms. Research has proven that PBL fosters 21st century skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration. High quality projects include the following elements:

Does the school give exams and how are students assessed?

One of the main forms of assessment at SAIS, as a Project-Based Learning school is the “performance assessment.” These include presentations, portfolio defenses, and other high stakes, public assessments that demonstrate students learning in much more meaningful ways than tests can ever provide. However, in order to assess student skill levels in English and math, students will also take the MAP tests twice a year, which are normed against students all over the world and many in the U.S. who also take the tests. Quizzes and tests may be a practice in individual classrooms, depending on the teacher and subject but is not as much of a priority as the performance assessments. Students are also given quarterly report cards and will participate in student-led conferences once each semester, during which they present their work and learning to their teacher and parent. Students in 5th grade, 8th grade, and high school will do portfolio presentations about their learning and growth as well.