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English/Cantonese bilingual schools

  1. #1
    donosti is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    English/Cantonese bilingual schools

    Are there any English/Cantonese or mandarin bilingual schools? If so, where are located? I am supposed he will need to go to a playground or Pre-school (sorry for the ignorance, but I am still not sure about the school system there)

    My husband wants to take our son to a local school and I am more inclined to take him to an English International School. We speak Spanish at home and he has been quite confused with both languages. He will be 3 years old in a month and he barely speaks. When he does, amazingly, he speaks in English.

    I think this will be the best option if available. We still dont have an appartment and we could look around the school. My husband will be there at the end of June. We will be there in August. We wont have a car ( if this needs to be taken in consideration)

  2. #2
    matthew_mama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    where did u live, in hk side had few choice,victoria,woodland etc

  3. #3
    sharonwong is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    hi ani
    i was in the same position. we speak english at home i'm chinese and my husband german. the kids know abit of german but not to my expection. the children ages are 2 1/2 and 6 both have applied to GSIS which is a fantastic international school with 2 streams (international and german). GSIS has a good reputation and can very suit my children however i would like for them to have a strong mandarin experience while in hk.

    before leaving for hk for a week in search of schools and apts., i was introduced to a friend that highly recommended ISF (independent school foundation) a relatively new school that caters to local kids that can not adapt to the vigorous local systems and western students who want a strong mandarin program. i visited the school and right now it's in a temporary site. 2007 they will move to pokfulam (where i most likely be residing) by the water. they offer reception 1 and 2 then primary 1 onwards to primary 6. reception one is like prek. the classes are taught 70% in mandarin and 30% in english for the primary and down. after primary, mandarin and english are taught equally. since your child is 3 you may need to think of where you want him to attend in primary school as getting placed in any international school is tough. waiting lists are long. there are assessments too.

    my daughter will have an easy transition to ISF. she will be going to woodland bi-lingual program in repulse bay. i believe that is the only woodland school that offers a bi-lingual program. other prek/kindergarten i heard of are victoria (several locations), high gate (which i could not find the # in directory) and kingston (kowloon). all schools mentioned except for kingston are on the hk island. kingston is a great school i heard.

    if you want your child to focus on one language while in hk i think mandarin is good and worthwhile. just think of the business oppurtunities your child will have in the year 2030 that also depends on if your stay in hk is permanent or not. i don't know if there is a school that is spanish based but certainly schools may offer it as a second language. english will be used on an everyday basis in hk so your child will be able to maintain it. any other languages will be hard unless is spoken on a continous basis.

    if you decide not to go with bi-lingual program you can check out other woodland montessori programs around. there are many of them.

    good luck!

  4. #4
    donosti is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    bel-air HELP!!!

    Thank you sharonwong,
    We are planning on moving to Bel-Air. My husband loved it there but we dont wan’t to give them our response until we have the school figured out.
    Any of these options are close by? Do they have bus service?
    We don’t have a car!! Please help since we would like to get back to the agent as soon as possible.
    Also, do you have any info on fees and debentures? Some of the schools I have checked seemed extremely expensive.

  5. #5
    jubee is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Hi sharonwong,

    Can you provide more details of ISF(phone/website)? What age do they start at? I have a 20 month old and have just moved this past month from the US. It seems from meeting people and reading threads, school starts out really early for the little ones. I just want to make sure we don't miss the boat!

    I just moved to Bel-Air (Cyberport/Pokfulam area) and seeing ISF will be relocating close by next year, it wouldn't hurt for me to check it out. Also, where are they currently located? We don't have a car either.

    At home, I primarily speak English, but have started to speak what little Cantonese and Mandarin I can muster up and my husband can speak Cantonese fluently. I would love to find a bilingual school for the little one. Is it too soon for him or should I start looking now?

    I appreciate any inputs you have. thanks!!!


  6. #6
    donosti is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    How do kindergartens work in HK? There is an specific start date? and registration? I am not sure when I will be there but I was planning on leaving the US at the end of September. Thre is an specific date I should be there... Since my husband is there already, should he go to Victoria and register? I am not sure how the process work so any input will be really appreciate it.

    Julia, if you could share with me anything you find out will be great too. It is so difficult to find information from here.

    Also, I won't be working at the beginning and would like to take some cantonese classes, anything close to Bel-Air?

  7. #7
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong

    Kindergartens start in Sept, but they also have intakes in Jan and I think sometimes in April.

    Julia, here's the ISF website.

    They're currently located in Wanchai
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  8. #8
    somebodyfamous's Avatar
    somebodyfamous is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hong Kong


    Know this reply is a few months late but thought I would give my perspective growing up as a bilingual child!

    Dad was English, Mom is Chinese.

    Most importantly I didn't even know I spoke two languages until I was 10!

    As long as my mother (who is fluent in both) didn't mix up the two languagues - nor would I.

    I was looked after by a Cantonese-speaking cousin - so spent the day mostly conversing in Cantonese. I watched childrens programs regardless of language - just watched what I was intereted in. I listened to English songs cause my Dad loved music and only spoke English to him and went to ESF playschools and schools where I spoke English.

    I sub-consciously knew I had TWO ways of saying everything and if one way didn't work, I'd use the other.

    Children can absorb languages easily - I think it's a shame to only speak English to your child(ren) if you are actually fluent in other languages. It of course takes more effort if there are not others that speak the other languages around. However its WORTH the effort, your chlidren will be SO GRATEFUL as adults to know more languages and also EXPLORE their roots. I have Chinese cousins who grew up in Canada who are now adults and regret losing their 'Chinese' identity.

    Just my two cents
    floridamom and AngelaBoarder like this.

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