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Victoria, CIS, HKIS, CNDIS?

  1. #1
    jaime526 is offline Registered User
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    Victoria, CIS, HKIS, CNDIS?

    I've applied Victoria, CIS, HKIS and CNDIS for my 4 years old boy for the up coming school year. So far he went to 3 interviews already, HKIS will be the last interview coming up in March. We got the results from Victoria and CNDIS, and they both accepted him for the program. Now, here's the problem, I really like all of those schools, really don't know how to decide. Could any one give me any informations and comments about those schools? One important criteria is that I think Mandarin is essential,does anyone know about their Chinese program?

    Thank you so much!!

  2. #2
    Linda&Hanley is offline Registered User
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    I have experience with Victoria, CDNIS and CIS, and can perhaps give you some advice.

    Victoria is more like a local school despite its renowned reputation for being international among the local people. The 2 Chinese (Cantonese / Putonghua) teachers usually play a much more active role than the expatriate teacher in the classroom. What I have reservation about is that the Chinese teachers sometimes even take the role of the English teacher to lead some English songs and communicate with the children in English!!!

    If you would consider sending your child to a local primary school, Victoria kindergarten could be an option. But if you are determined to continue in the international stream then CDNIS and CIS would be better alternatives. If Mandarin ranks high in your priorities, CIS would meet your expectation better (there is 50% Mandarin in their lower grades as compared to 25% in CDNIS). CIS is also more acadmic-oriented than CDNIS. CDNIS provides lots of ECAs and their facilities are fantastic!

  3. #3
    jaime526 is offline Registered User
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    Thank you so much for your advice Linda&Hanley. I've put Victoria out of the list coz I'm pretty determined to let my child receive his education in the international stream. I still haven't receive the result form CIS yet. I'm quite impressed with their Mandarin program. But I heard the students in CIS are quite stuck up coz of their wealthy family background, have you noticed this problem?
    Well, I guess right now it's a bit early to decide coz i still haven't receive the results yet. But you know that's how parents are, so many things to worry when it comes to your child's education. once again, thank you so much for your advice.

  4. #4
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    that's the general feeling i have after checking the website re: victoria, plus that i know many kids who go to the victoria kindergartens. but victoria shanghai academy runs the PYP from IB. on the IB website, they're registered as PYP English program, but on the victoria website, they say they're bi-lingual from p.1-p.6. it's quite confusing? anyone know anything about it? i know it's very difficult to do a bi-lingual PYP program from IB, that's why no school is doing it yet. anyone know what exactly victoria shanghai offers?

  5. #5
    Julia66 is offline Registered User
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    Victoria Shanghai Academy

    Hi ladies

    Here is a bit of insight into Victoria Shanghai Academy.
    The Principal and deputy of PYP program are both Aussies. They have a very Australian International school/British way of dealing with things. I am also Australian and have taught in the UK so have a good understanding of where they are coming from curriculum and policy wise.
    I have just resigned from my job as a teacher at VSA as I am expecting a baby any moment now. As a professional
    I could not speak more highly of the IB PYP billingual program.
    The PYP program consists of 4-5 classes per grade P1-P6.
    Each class has 2 homeroom teachers - one being a Putonghua speaker and the other an English teacher.
    The English teachers are all westerners - mainly from UK, Australia, NZ, Europe or Canada and all are very experienced teachers. The Chinese teachers are either from HK or parts of China and all have a good level of English.
    Both teachers co-teach the IB program of Inquiry and mathematics. Maths is taught in English following the HK curriculum. The IB Program of Inquiry is taught in both English and PTH. The Chinese teacher is meant to speak to the kids in PTH but obviously if your child is an English speaker, exceptions are made. There are several kids in the school from Australia, Holland, US, Canada and UK where Chinese is not their first or even 2nd language.
    The school has 2 strands of PTH - the A strand for kids who are competant learners at Mandarin and the B-strand for new speakers.
    The kids have specialist teachers for Music, PE, and IT - and these classes are taught in English. There are also support teachers for English, and PTH.

    It is the only school in HK that is fully certified and follows the entire program right through to the end of secondary school. I enjoyed my time working at VSA. It looks like a local school from a distance as the majority of kids are from HK - but in order to get a place at this school your child must be competant at English or PTH. Both Western and Chinese staff interview students before they are accepted.

    The level of education at Victoria is the same as at ESF schools and CIS. They are just miles ahead with the IB program, and they pay their staff considerably less than ESF schools !

    Hope I have helped someone out there to make an informed decision.

    Julia

  6. #6
    lucinda_k is offline Registered User
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    My son goes to CIS. He was there in Reception and is now in Year 1. I have to say, before he started I was concerned. There were so many rumours about how the school is too academic, the parents and kids snooty, teachers too strict etc.

    I have since discovered none of it is true - I've never experienced it anyway. We're not wealthy. We did not buy a debenture (are you kidding?!). Are not well-connected in HK etc.

    My son loves the school. The teachers he's had have shown themselves to be committed, encouraging, very open to parents' concern, actively discourage outside tuition (really), make great efforts to help parents help their kids. I am so impressed with the teachers, I can't say enough nice things.

    The kids - First of all, the school is big on discipline and respect. The kids, especially the older ones, I have found to be well-mannered, helpful, and surprisingly watchful and considerate of the little kids. Also, my son has told me on two occasions that he fell while playing in the school playground. On both times, he said some of the older children took him to the nurses office to get looked at. No-one he knew. Just older kids. There are also few kids from our building who attend CIS - all older kids from 8 years old and up. All super polite. They greet you when you or they enter the lift, they old the doors open for you, invite you to walk before them, (usually) thank the driver and bus mom when they get off the bus (something I am sad to say I have never seen the kids from FIS, HKIS, South Island and Kellet (buses that come to our building) do. NEVER.

    The moms- sure there are some unfriendly moms but they are very few and far between. I found them normal and so not from another planet! And dare I say, most are really really nice.

    I actually think these rumours were started by bitter parents whose child did not get a spot at the school. Its not a perfect school, perfection does not exist. But my fears have been dispelled thus far and I am pretty sure it will continue this way!

  7. #7
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    thanks Julia66. are there lots of homework at VSA? it is competitive like the local schools? are they teacher more gentle at their teaching or more chinese stern style. i'm lean towards the gentle approach/inquiry appraoch than the spoon feeding style. i'm considering CIS, ISF, HK Academy & VSA which all offer IB-style curriculum. if my daughter goes to an international kindergarten that doesn't teach reading or writing, is she going to get into P.1? because CIS, ISF & HK Academy offer Reception (i.e.K3) for 4.5 yo, so they get prepared to go into P.1. But VSA only offers P.1. How does one go from int'l kindergarten where teaching is more free to P.1?

  8. #8
    Julia66 is offline Registered User
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    vsa

    Hi Joanne

    Homework varies from teacher to teacher - but the teachers generally make sure that not too much homework is set. I would not set a pile of English H/W if my partner set PTH homework that day. It should be fairly balanced.
    The teachers there are lovely. It is not an in your face type of Chinese instruction that you would find at a local school. Inquiry is encouraged throughout every subject.
    As for transition from an International Kindergarten to VSA - not all students come from the Victoria Kindergartens, and phonics is definitely encouraged and taught from basics to
    P1 students. Teaching is supposed to be differentiated and cater to all levels at our school, no matter what your background. I was a kindergarten/reception teacher in both Oz and the UK. Once kids start school they are like little sponges and if the teacher is good and the kid is responsive and keen to learn, they soon pick up on reading and writing really fast. VSA is using the PM reading program - which I also used in Sydney with my 5-6 year olds. The school aslo uses Jolly Phonics.
    Hope I have helped.

    Julia

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