We recently sat down with Julie Moreno, Principal of the Mandalika Intercultural School (MIS) to find out more about Kuta Lombok’s International School.
The school has been in operation since 2017 and this year will expand to a brand new, purpose built campus in central Kuta.
The school serves all year groups from early years through to high school. As a small school, students experience a unique, tailored learning environment that is very connected to the local community.
Read on to learn more and if you would like to get in touch with the school, you can do so here.
Hi Julie, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about Mandalika Intercultural School (MIS). Can you tell our readers a little about yourself and what brought you and your family to Lombok?
Yes sure, I am originally from Brisbane, Australia and have been working in international schools for more than 20 years. My area of specialty is high school teaching, in Biology and Geography though I have taught many subjects at many grade levels. I also have a Master of Environment in Education for Sustainability and am passionate about service learning and global citizenship.
After traveling the world extensively and teaching in schools in 4 other countries, myself, my husband and 2 children, fell in love with Indonesia and its people. After 10 years in Java, we finally followed our dreams and moved to Lombok to settle in our forever home. We love living close to such beautiful beaches, being part of a small, vibrant tourist centred community, and being part of a fast developing hub, which is exciting and challenging at the same time.
Can you give us a brief background on the school? When it was formed? What year groups it serves and curriculum that is follows?
MIS first opened as Rinjani Indah School in 2017 by Rod and Jacqueline Chin, who had a vision of an international school embedded and interacting with the local community. While our lessons are in English, we have a strong Bahasa Indonesia program, teach the national curriculum requirements for Indonesian students and are developing our English as an Additional Language program.
We strive to be inclusive of children from all cultures, backgrounds and abilities, and welcome students from 3 years old into our Early Years program. Our eldest students will enter the Cambridge A Levels program (for 16-18 year olds) in August 2022. Our Early Years program is play based and follows the Australian Curriculum Framework. The primary and middle school outcomes are from the Australian Curriculum with an international focus for HASS (Humanities and Social Studies) and Science. High school students have a choice of subjects from the Australian and International Cambridge courses. We currently have about 50 students enrolled.
What do you love most about the Mandalika Intercultural School?
There are quite a few things I love about the school!
Because we are a small school, we can really cater to every student, to support them in areas they need and encourage them to pursue and grow in their talents and passions. We have excellent teachers who are caring and creative. Our ratio of students to teachers (currently 1:5) means teachers can support each student with their learning. We are very connected to our local community and our students are involved in many activities: sports, creative and community service, both in class time and outside of school.
My own teenage children attend the school and I am very happy that as well as being a principal, I am also a parent. I love that my teens interact with children of all ages from all types of backgrounds. While their native language is English, they are both competent in Bahasa Indonesia and Spanish as well. I love that they are active outdoors and have been involved in several community projects. My daughter has 4 levels of SCUBA diving certificates, Model United Nations (MUN) awards, organised Lombok’s first interschool MUN event (MUNBOK), can surf, skateboard and helps regularly with the welfare of stray dogs with Kuta Lombok Dogs. My son runs an after-school club for Dungeons and Dragons, has an award for Bahasa Indonesia speaking, has participated in several Model United Nations competitions and loves being in the Security Council, learns Muay Thai and Circus skills. I love that he can also pursue his passion for History and is taking classes above his year level in this subject.
I really love that all our children have so many opportunities to follow their passions and learn new skills. They have learnt to interact with people from all backgrounds and they are truly global citizens.
What are some of the unique things the kids enjoy about the school?
We have very creative students! They love to build and construct, to cook and to explore solutions and multiple perspectives. What other school would be doing Shakespeare on a mountain between Tanjung Aan Bay and the drama of the ocean. When we need to exert ourselves, we just pack up and go on a nature hike, where the starting point is less than 5 minutes away. Our school activities range from skateboard classes to highly academic science fairs. We are as diverse as our community!
About living in the area in general – kids can feel safe to ride their bicycles to school, to walk down the streets with their friends, to hang out at the beach on the weekends.
What are some of the biggest differences the students find with the school and their previous school education?
Small class sizes, low teacher to student ratio, Individual education plans, wellbeing program, authentic learning, inquiry learning addressing real world issues and solutions.
Extra curricular activities : Surfing, skateboarding, yoga, martial arts, SCUBA diving, camping, hiking
Our students help with local community organisations, Kuta Lombok Dogs, Mandalika Dog Shelter, Batu Bambu kids foundation, Lombok Aid, Lombok Plastic Free and more
Our students learn to be patient and flexible as clearly we do not have some of the facilities of a big school say in Jakarta. South Lombok is a developing area and although the infrastructure is improving, we sometimes have to change plans and make do with what we have. Our teachers and students learn to go with the flow and make the best of a situation. This can make for spontaneous and creative learning.
Our younger students often do not wear shoes!
What are some of the common questions you receive from potential new parents / students interested in enrolling in the school?
If students attend our school, can they return to school in their home country?– YES! Our curriculum is internationally recognised and our assessment and reporting outcomes are clear and transferable.
What if they cannot speak English? Immersion is the best way for children to learn a language. EAL students join regular classes, with support, and we find that their English develops very, very quickly.
Do we offer the National Curriculum and examinations for Indonesian students? Yes, our Indonesian National students must take the national curriculum from grade 4. We offer Bahasa Indonesia and Civics classes, and organise Religion classes and prepare students for their national exams.
When does our school year start and finish? Our academic school year starts in July/August and ends in June. Students are welcome to join at any time of the year. As we have students from both the Northern and Southern hemisphere, our main holidays are split between Dec/Jan and Jun/July.
We see there are some great plans in place for a campus expansion. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Our brand new campus is currently under construction and is planned to open later this year.
The campus is designed to fit sustainably with the environment, to be bright and airy with collaborative learning areas and to make the best use of the extensive green spaces and under cover buildings. It will include a dedicated Early Years centre, large, covered Multi court space, Science/Art space, Library, outdoor learning areas, sports field and an organic farm.
A huge thank you to Julie for taking the time to chat to us about the school.
If you would like more information you can contact the school here.
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