If you’re looking for the best English school or kindergarten for your children, this is the mini guide written just for you.
When searching for an international school for my first kid, I did some research into international schools in Tuol Kork district of Phnom Penh. After spending some days, I compiled this comprehensive list of the top best international English schools, preschools or kindergartens in the heart of Phnom Penh. So you don’t have you to.
In Phnom Penh, there are many international English schools. Parents have many choices for kindergarten or pre-school education than ever before. Most of these schools are well-established, reputable, and internationally recognized. I also included links to the schools’ website for more details and latest updates.
A List of the Best International English Schools & Kindergartens in Phnom Penh of Cambodia
Footprints International School (FIS)
Home of English
Preschool: starting from $5,040; Kindergarten – Year 5: $10,020
#532, Street Try Heng 3,
Sangkat Krang Thnong,
Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh
+855 12 550 522
International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
Northbridge International School of Cambodia (NISC)
Kindergarten & Grade 1: $12495
Ocarina School: French language
Zion International School
The Giving Tree School, an English school in the heart of Phnom Penh
A play-based English language school in Phnom Penh, The Giving Tree School has opened since 2008. The international preschool is open to little and growing learners, from the age of 1 year to 10 years old. Although it’s not affiliated with the Montessori education, at the core of the Giving Tree’s approach to nurturing young children is: play.
This kindergarten offers children a playground to grow and learn about the world through their discovery at their own pace. It a preschool where children have the space to imagine and express themselves, so that they can gain confidence and understanding. When the morning starts, children can enjoy a variety of activities, which include arts, music, gym, yoga, swimming, water play, and even cooking. We all know how important it is to give our kids time and space to explore and experience the world around them.
In addition to play-based learning approach to nurture young kids to learn, it’s the space, the setup, and the environment for the kids to become more self-independent. From changing their clothes for water-play every Tuesday to eating and drinking, the boys and girls learn to be on their own. Most of the time, children tend to rely on their the adults to side with them and support them. But the teachers and the assistants know their way very well.
After a few weeks of enrollment, you’d also have a chance to meet with your child’s teacher as well as the parents of your child’s classmates. It’s called Monday Night, when you can get a better understanding of your child in the classroom from the perspective of the teacher. This is when you’d feel excited about asking the teacher about your young learner. You’ll have a chance to get to know other parents as well. While this is a chance to have a chat with the teacher in person, it’s not the end.
The teacher communicates with the parents through a small booklet, which gives you daily mini report about your child. It’s like a debrief of the activity and behavior of your son or daughter day in day out. The teacher also shares with us parents weekly updates through a blog with notes, photos, and announcements. Every week, you also receive email newsletter from the school principal.
The Giving Tree School usually engages with parents through community events (for instance, the Gardening Day), which allow everyone to participate, share, and enjoy the school space. The community here also means diversity. You’d be surprised to learn that the teachers and the pupils come from many many parts of the world to share one thing in common: educating and learning with joy and fun.
Last year, The Giving Tree School teachers took the pupils to Think Big Cambodia, a nice place where they can improve their motor skills with Legos, Pearler Beads, Kinetic Sand, and WaveLay. You can check out Think Big Cambodia (located in BKK 1) on Facebook here.
It’s one of the first organized trips to get outside of the school. Getting there on the bus together with the classmates, get the rules from their teachers, and be more on their own is a way to help kids to learn and adapt to external environment in a very enjoyable way.
Strong Spirit of Community
Although The Giving Tree School is not actually run by the community, but the school tends to engage with the parents and form a community. The school has working to organize the After School Activities, so that the school space is more open and accessible to everyone in the community and the public.
One of my most favorite things about The Giving Tree School is that the school is open to us parents during non-school hours. There are times when you want to spend quality time with your children during the weekend or an afternoon. So you may have to take your kids to the swimming pool or to mega mall AEON or Kids City Edutainment Center. But the school is an ideal outdoor place to take your kids to. What you may not know is that unlike other children schools, mostly housed in the conditioned buildings, The Giving Tree School had dedicated space for a variety of outdoor activities. In short, the school is the open space playground.
What’s the IPC?
The school’s primary program follows a globally recognized international curriculum, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). It’s basically a comprehensive curriculum with a clear process of learning and with specific learning goals for every subject, for personal learning and for international mindedness. It’s an educational system for 3-12 year olds. Until now, the IPC is being used by schools in more than 90 countries around the world.
The nursery class’s annual fee is about $2,380. The kindergarten has classes such as Monkeys (3-4 years), Owls (4-5 years), and Elephants (5-6 years): the fee starts from $2792 to $4040. In each school year (see calendar), there are 4 terms. The school usually starts in August and concludes in July.
One of the most important things about choosing a school for children is the school location. For those living in the Cambodian capital, in Boeng Keng Kang 1 (BKK 1) in particular, you may notice a few of The Giving Tree School branches in this lovely area. The main branch is close to Chea Sim Boeung Keng Kang High School or a just a few walk from City Villa Hotel Phnom Penh. Its two other branches (pre-school and nursery) are also in this area. In addition to the location in BKK 1, The Giving Tree also has a more spacious school branch in Toul Kork.
The Giving Tree School Toul Kork branch: sand, swing, and swimming pool among other kid friendly stuff in a spacious playground-like environment.
If you want to take a look at the school, this gallery page is the first to start:
House #50, Street 322 BKK1,
Phnom Penh – Kingdom of Cambodia
House #17 Street 71 BKK1,
Phnom Penh – Kingdom of Cambodia
+855 (0)17 997 112; Office Hours 7:30am – 12pm; 1:30pm – 4pm
#9 Street 370,
Phnom Penh – Kingdom of Cambodia
+855 (0)17 997 112
Visit The Giving Tree School’s official site here:
Review: Footprints International Schools (FIS) in Phnom Penh
Footprints International School offers both English and Khmer languages to the pupils with primary focus on 4 disciplines: mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. With a growing number of branches across Phnom Penh, FIS also includes basic technology, health, arts, music, swimming, and physical education. The school believes that “children learn better when new skills and ideas are taught to them using a theme or a topic to help them learn.”
Opened its door in 2007, this school is an extraordinary example of how a small, local school has grown to become an internationally-recognized institution. In 2016, FIS has 4 branches in major parts of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh: Tumnub Teuk I & II, Toul Tom Poung, Beoung Keng Kang, and Tuol Kork district.
Licensed by the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, FIS was this year accredited with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. For its primary and secondary programs, the school is registered with Cambridge International Examinations.
FIS has more than 200 personnel. Foreign teachers come from The United States of America, England, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Canada, and Indonesia. While the majority of the students is Cambodian, the rest comes from Australia, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, England, the United States of America, Japan, Canada, and France. This is very remarkable for a locally-run school that has grown rapidly over the past years.
The Footprints International School’s Toul Kork campus is very spacious. It has a swimming pool, an outdoor playground, a technology lab, and a library. The Tuol Kork branch serves from nursery to grade 5.
One important thing to note, though, is that the FIS increases its tuition fee by 10% annually. Which frustrates most parents.
Footprints International School’s official website:
How to Find the Right Private English School or Kindergarten in Phnom Penh for Your Kids
- All schools have their website. You can learn some more basic information about the school, its location, tuition fees, and more. This saves much of your busy time before making direct contact with the school for details.
- Compare locations and travel time from school to your home.
- Visit each of the choices for kindergarten schools during an open house.
- Find a kindergarten with a low child-to-teacher ratio.
- Ask the teachers what the children learn every day.
- Talk to parents whose children either attended the school in the past or attend the school now.
- The annual tuition fee is very important. Find out before hand how the school increases its annual fee.
Good to Know
How many international English schools in Phnom Penh as of 2019? There are more than 50 private English schools in the Cambodian capital city.
The reason I write this review of international English schools in Phnom Penh is fairly simple. I live and raise two kids in the city. Before enrolling them, I have to do some research, talking with friends who have sent their kids to school. As you can see, I’ve written more details about some schools than others as my kids have studied there.