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Explain HK Kindergarten to Me

  1. #1
    MLBW Guest

    Question Explain HK Kindergarten to Me

    In HK children start kindergarten at 3-years-old. In the States, where I'm from they start at 5-years-old but if the child misses the cutoff date for age (i.e. school starts in August but the child won't be 5 until October) they have to wait another year and start at 6-years-old. Some kindergartens are half-day (mine was) and some are full-day.

    What is a HK kindergarten like? Is it more akin to what Americans would call pre-school? it like, well...kindergarten?

    I don't really want to put my child in a full-on kindergarten at 3-years-old.

    Also, I have heard that getting into the "right kindergarten" is sort of essential here. And the wait lists are long and the application process can be brutal. Is this true?

  2. #2
    lalligirl is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    hong kong
    I used to work at a local bilingual kindergarten. basically local kindies are like school. the kids are expected to sit still and listen and do homework etc. there is little time for play, or fun activities. At the one i worked at, they had lessons in cantonese, english & putonghua. it was pretty full on!

    not sure what the international or esf kinders are like.

  3. #3
    MLBW Guest
    Thanks Lalligirl. That is what I have heard in passing about the kindergartens. If that's the case, I refuse to put my tiny 3-year-old into that environment. Does anyone know about the International kindergartens?

  4. #4
    little mum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Hong Kong
    Hello MLBW, not all kindergartens are similar to what lalligirl talked about. True that some kindergartens are very typical and old type HK teaching style - sit and listen, but there are more new learning style kindergartens around that let the children learn how to play together, share and develop their mind through activities. I think " creative" is one of them. Try to explore more.

    You are right that kindergarten education is quite important in HK as most good primary school has strict entry test. The mind development, the sharing and how the kid get along with each others is important part for the entry test. But of course, parents may select not to let kids go to kindergarten and teach the kid themselves.

  5. #5
    mushi's Avatar
    mushi is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    happy valley
    hi, my son goes to a woodlands pre-school - he started when he was 3 yrs....the school offers lots of fun activities along with some structured learning fact your child would never know he is going to a 'school' as it is packed with fun and play like singing, reading stories, clay modelling, park time, baking cakes, i would not worry about putting my child in such a school at an early age.

  6. #6
    MLBW Guest
    Hey Little Mum and Mushi,

    Thanks for your replies. Are the kindergartens you're talking about full-day or half-day? Are there tests and homework?

  7. #7
    dimsum mum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Pokfulam Hong Kong
    hi mlbw
    small world Christian kindergarten is a half day kindy with morning and afternoon classes located on borrett road. there are no tests and no homework. there is an outdoor playground the kids visit daily and children are put into classrooms according to their age. there are loads of activities, some individual, some group.

    the whole concept of kindy at such a young age can be daunting. you can call small world for a tour and to talk with the principal, gail maidment.

  8. #8
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong
    At most Int'l Kindergartens kids learn through play, singing, reading etc. No, they don't get homework and school is only 3 hrs.

    D got accepted to Kindy at 3, but as he was a late talker, I didn't feel he was ready, so we waited till Jan and started when he was 3 1/2. I wouldn't recommend starting any later, as some kids may need longer to adjust. Also, primary 1 interviews etc start in K2 when the child is 4. For some reason, the ESF interviews seem to be earlier and earlier each year. I think the P1 teachers visited the kindys in Oct/Nov last year. Not sure about this year.


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