In the year 1662, a Minim priest,Father Nicolas Barré saw the need for the education of the poor in France. He, therefore, recruited educated women to help set up his first school near Rouen. As the enrolment increased, more schools were established, and four years later, the ladies in charge of these schools began to live in a community under a Superior. This was the beginning of a religious congregation whose main work was the education of the poor. The year 1666, therefore saw the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus.
The outbreak of the French Revolution brought about several social and political changes in France but the work of the congregation spread rapidly. Less than twenty-five years after the opening of the Mother-House in Paris, eighty schools for free education and forty boarding schools had been established in France. With the granting of official approval from Rome, the Sisters extended their work to America, England, Spain, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand.
In The East
In the year 1849, the Rev Jean Marie Beurel of St Brieuc (Brittany) suggested to Governor Butterworth that it might be worthwhile to found a charitable organisation for girls next to the Church in Victoria Street. In August 1852, Father Beurel bought the house at the corner of Victoria Street and Bras Basah Road. He paid $4000 of his own money for it. Father Beurel also appealed to the Superior General in France for sisters to run the Convent. Four Sisters were sent to the East. After a long and perilous voyage, three of them landed at Penang. One had died at sea. The three sisters established a convent in Penang.
In February 1854, three Sisters led by Rev Mother St Mathilde Raclot arrived in Singapore and setup the Convent in Singapore at Victoria Street. The sisters got to work and within ten days took in orphans, did needlework to support themselves and taught fourteen children. Soon the number of pupils increased and the school became well-known. In 1894, there were 167 pupils. Ten years later,the enrolment had increased to 300. Secondary education began in 1905. Under Mother Hombeline, the expansion programme continued.In 1984, a new era began as we movedto Toa Payoh as the site at Victoria Street had been earmarked for the Raffles City Project. The staff and pupils of CHIJ Primary Victoria Street, along with a third of the staff and 300 pupils from CHIJ Kellock, moved to the new premises.
In November 2002, the school relocated to a temporary site at Jalan Rajah as the 18-year-old building in Toa Payoh underwent major upgrading.
In January 2006, the school has moved back to Toa Payoh Lorong 1, to a brand new building with the latest facilities.
The school moved in November 2012 to a holding site while upgrading took place. The school moved back to its upgraded building on 30 May 2014.
mid-2014 – to-date: CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) @ 628 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
2012 – mid-2014: CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) @ 430 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
2006 – 2012: CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) @ 628 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
2003 – 2005: CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) @ Jalan Rajah
1984 – 2002: CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) @ 628 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
1854 – 1983: CHIJ Victoria Street