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will local kindy affect chance of int'l primary

  1. #9
    bbc mom is offline Registered User
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    Hi mannyw,

    In the end, we decided to take the international school route all the way.

    I weighed up all the pros and cons for both options, and to be honest, in our opinion the local school only had two pros – learning cantonese and being cheaper! On the other hand, there were just too many things about the local school system which we couldn’t accept – namely the more stricter/regimented environment, the teaching style and the daily homework.

    All my local friends advised us not to go ‘local’ – their kids have no time to themselves and are up at all hours doing homework or taking extra tutorial classes trying to catch up. They are also constantly studying for dictation and achieving anything less than 100% is unacceptable, not to mention the pressures of not getting into their chosen schools. One local friend had had enough and emigrated to Canada for the schooling and her son is so much happier over there.

    I don’t mean to sound so anti-local schools. There are some good local schools out there but they are really competitive to get into, and you hear of parents queuing up for hours to get applications forms and spending thousands of dollars creating portfolios to impress at the interview. It just seems so ridiculous!.

    Anyway, our plan was to always put our son into ESF/Int’l at primary level and we felt there could be a real risk of losing out on a place had we chosen a local kindy. Under ESF criteria, any child who can speak cantonese would automatically be downgraded to a Category Two priority.

    It seems that only overseas chinese are considering this local route because we want our kids to read/write chinese (but they can still learn this at int’l schools that have a good mandarin programme). The only downside is that his spoken cantonese will be limited to what we know – but at least he will have the free time to study it should we decide on a private tutor later.

    It’s a very personal decision and a lot will depend on your own family dynamics and how long you will stay in Hong Kong. But more importantly for us, we’ve chosen an int’l kindy where my son will be happy and learn/develop at his own pace.

    Incidently, I’ve taken my son to playgroups at both local and international schools, and he was always happiest at the latter. Sometimes you have to choose a school that suits your child’s personality.

    Good luck in your decision making.

  2. #10
    mannyw is offline Registered User
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    Hi bbc mom,

    Thanks for replying so quickly, I really appreciate your time.

    I understand all the points you mentioned, I've seen it happen with my little cousins.

    I'm bbc myself, English, Hakka, Cantonese, Mandarin and my wife is local HKnese so she could help on the teaching! lol.

    Seriously though, we are still investigating the routes and the options, you know there is local schools who use the English medium or Mandarin medium etc.. anyway really need to understand the systems. Since I am living in N.T. either way I will need to move out to be it an Int'l or a good local school.

    Btw, was it difficult to get into ESF school?

    Thanks a million,
    M

  3. #11
    bbc mom is offline Registered User
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    Hi M,
    You certainly have more options open to you if your wife is a local. I know a few overseas chinese married to locals and most of them have chosen the local route - mainly because they are here for the long term and their spouses/in-laws can help with the reading/written chinese.

    My son will attend Hong Lok Yuen Int'l school this Sept, but we may switch to ESF later as there's a chance we will also move out to Kowloon/HK side.

    As well as local EMI and PMI, you may also consider the DSS schools.

  4. #12
    mannyw is offline Registered User
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    Hi Bbc mom,

    Thanks again for your kind reply. Your son is starting Nursery this Sept? Where did he go before for Kindergarden (if he did go?)

    Since I live in YL, I will begin to search for a new place in Kowloon/HK later this year. It's early days yet for my daughter who is 10months old. I'm not so sure there is any great schools in YL.

    But it's never too early hence I'm doing a lot of research to see what options I have.

    I may be totally wrong but initially I plan that for Kindergarden, she goes to a billingual one. Also keeping in mind to leave options open for ESF or a good local school.

    Since I'm bbc, I'm consicious that I want her Chinese to be excellent but bearing in mind that some day she will go abroad for Uni and I don't want her English to be lacking.

    M

  5. #13
    bbc mom is offline Registered User
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    Hi M,
    My son is only 2yrs 4mths so hasn't started formal schooling yet, but since 18mths old I've been taking him to formal playgroups. He'll be starting nursery class (equivalent to local K1) this Sept.

    I don't know of any good schools in YL area, but you can check out all the schools on the EMB website. There's also a book/directory which has all the kindergarten listings (but this is all in chinese) and gives basic info on no.pupils/teachers, languages taught, size, facilities, fees etc.

    For more first hand info on good local schools, check out the baby kingdom website which caters for the local parents. Most of it is in chinese (maybe your wife can help out here) but there are some english postings.

    Finally if you want your daughter's chinese to be fluent - I've been told they should stay at a local school up to primary level, and only switch to english speaking at secondary level. Obviously it will be beneficial if you continue to speak english to her at home, so that her pronounciation can become more native english sounding.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #14
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    somebodyfamous is offline Registered User
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    I'm on a very similar research mission regarding my twin daughters who are 1/4 chinese.

    Whats the exact URL for the babykingdom site? Thanks!

  7. #15
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    My children went to a local Chinese kindergarten (I was very happy with this particular school) and then on to International school. The only problem came when we applied for ESF. At ESF schools you have to join your correct age group year. This can be a problem as local kindergarten continues until the child is six years old but ESF starts at five years old.

    You can miss the last year of the kindergarten to start ESF in P1 or have a headache catching up the reading and writing in English to start P2. The local schools don’t teach phonics and ESF does so missing P1 can put your child a long way behind.

    Both my younger children are currently on the ESF waiting list. They both speak Cantonese but because they are now in international school are in Category One on the waiting list. I had to put forward a convincing argument about why I think they should be in the year they are currently studying (one year down because of finishing the local kindergarten) rather than the correct age group.

  8. #16
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbc mom View Post
    Finally if you want your daughter's chinese to be fluent - I've been told they should stay at a local school up to primary level, and only switch to english speaking at secondary level. Obviously it will be beneficial if you continue to speak english to her at home, so that her pronounciation can become more native english sounding.
    I have an English friend who has done this with her children. But please don’t think for a minute that it isn’t hard work. My friend studied Chinese at university and so can plough her way through the Chinese written work but she had to spend at least one day a week while her son was at school doing it.

    This son will be changing to ESF school in the coming September. He is now studying P5 and will start in Year 7 (basically skipping a year) so that he can join his correct age group. Fortunately he is a very capable child and this isn’t a problem.

    Because he spoke fluent Cantonese and can read and write Chinese at first he was put into ESF’s Category Two. But my friend complained and told ESF that she could no longer support his Chinese study and (because she is English and Caucasian ??? ) he has been placed in Category One and given a place.

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