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How much is enough?

  1. #1
    louisouis is offline Registered User
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    How much is enough?

    My son is currently 20 months old and attending playgroup twice a week. He will be attending interviews soon for pre-nursery, I am just wondering how many days should I enrol him for, 2 days, 3 days or 5 days. I will like him to have a nice 'childhood' and play and I presume he will have many years of full time education ahead of him. Yet i am worried that if he does not attend pre-nurser for 5 days, he may be lacking behind other kids. And since I am a working mum and reliant on my MIL and DH to look after him, and I know they are rather reliant on the TV, should I just bite the bullet and let him attend pre-nursery everyday? Very confused and have very contradictory thoughts, will appreciate it if you can share some of your experiences.

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i was totally against my kids going to school before they were 4-5 years of age. however, when i took our circumstances into account, i changed my mind. we live WAYYYY out in sai kung country park and although there are quite a few kids in our village, they all go to school.

    my son was left at home with his little sister too much. he started at 1/2 day kindergarten (he was 3.5 but the youngest in his class was 2 years 9 months). he LOVED it!!! he went for 1/2 day, 5 days/week. he liked it so much (and we wanted him to speak more chinese) we put him into full day this year. we have not had one complaint from him.

    my question to you is this: how much "playing" is he actually doing at home with grandma and helper? do they take him out to places like the science museum, ocean park, kowloon park, the supermarket, the playground? or do they sit at home in front of the tv all day? (we can't answer this, only you can.) if the answer is, yes, they take him out and about and do different things with him, then i'd say maybe he'll not be happier going to school if the answer is, he mostly sits in front of the tv and doesn't get a chance to interact with other kids, maybe he'd be happier going more often to "school". (even so, expect some crying for the first couple of weeks!)

    keep in mind, pre-nursery is NOT and should not be sitting at a desk doing homework. they will be playing, a lot. just with different things, and in a different way. he'll be singing songs, reading stories, doing art work etc.

    in the end, it all comes down to what will make YOUR child the happiest.

  3. #3
    Konradsmom is offline Registered User
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    My son is attending pre-nursery every day, and he went from reluctant to willing and then anticipating school ....every morning he picks up his school bag and heads for the door without looking back. I'm a working mom as well , and I can rest with some peace of mind that he is doing something everyday which contributes to him being happy, and getting the amount of socialisation which he heeds ( he's the onyl child ) and with the right age group. My helper takes great care of him but I really cannot expect her to give him the "education" he needs at this level.

    I truly think he enjoys it, and I know they play a lot at school ( more free play time than circle time). I don't think most pre-nurseries would give them homework or actually have an academic cirriculum, but you need to research the school first.

    My son is now going to school alone - they have done a great job with separation and he si now more confident with doing things by himself....all in all, I think pre-nursery is a good thing for him. And he looks forward to being there everyday......I was the only one who was worried (at firs) !!

  4. #4
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    I am a believer that little children should have the opportunity to be children without the pressures and formalities of going to school. I didn't attend nursery or any type of pre-kindergarten school (it wasn't the norm where I'm from) and started kindergarten when I was nearly 6-years-old (because of my birthday, I had to start at this time). I had a great childhood and I think my parents made the right choice. However, my parents weren't living in Hong Kong at the time so it was a totally different world than what we deal with here.

    I work part-time so I can spend time with my son when I'm not working. My mother is living with us at the moment. We just hired a domestic helper who has been with us for about a month. I can honestly say that we never have the TV on during the daytime in our house. I do, however, understand that many local Chinese families (my husbands parents included) almost can't live unless the TV is on--at least for background noise. Personally, I can't stand the noise all day long. Anyway...so when my son is at home he spends his time playing with his toys and interacting with my mother and helper or me if I'm home. Sometimes they go out to shop or just walk around the village. I'd say he has a pretty active and happy toddler life.

    But, we did make the very difficult decision to enroll my son in nursery school. My son already does go to a playgroup about two times a week and has really enjoyed it. The reason why we decided to start him into nursery school in January 2010 is to prepare him for kindergarten in September. He will be younger than 3-years-old when he begins kindergarten in the fall and our friends suggested just enrolling him in a nursery program we like so that we can avoid the whole "kindergarten interview process." In most nurseries--if there is an associated kindergarten, if your child attends the nursery school they don't have to interview for a placement in the kindergarten--they have priority for that placement.

    Where we live there isn't a lot of selection for EMI kindergartens and the ones that are here I haven't been really impressed with and on top of that they are extremely expensive. We're not ready to move and we also do not want to send our child by bus any long distance to go to kindergarten so we had to make the choice to send him to nursery school at a local nursery school.

    We went and checked out seven separate nursery schools that had been recommended to us and then chose the one we had the best feeling about.

    These local nursery schools begin classes at around 9 am and they end school at 4:30 pm! We found that to be an extraordinary amount of time for our son to be away from home at two-years-old! For local working parents who work late, they can also leave their children until 7:30 pm and the nursery will feed them dinner as well!

    After discussing the daily schedule with the teachers, we found that most of the teaching goes on in the morning. From 9 am to about 1:30 pm they have their lessons and playtime and then have lunch. From 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, they just nap! Then for the final hour of the day they have maybe some free play time or a music lesson and then that's it!

    My husband called the schools we were looking at and asked if we could just send my son half-day--meaning he would be picked up after lunch. Most of the nurseries were really surprised like, "Why? You'd still have to pay the same amount. Don't you want to get your money's worth?"

    We decided that since the nursery is much less expensive than an EMI kindergarten we would just pay the full fee but only send him half-day. In that way, I can still spend time with him at home if I'm not working and he'll have a better naptime anyway if he's at home.

    Unfortunately, these nurseries do not offer a half-day option but they were willing to compromise with us. Our son will be attending 5-days/week, half-day. But, if we find that that becomes too much or too overwhelming for him (and us) we may only send him 3-days/week. In the end, I think as carang said, it comes down to what is healthiest for the whole family and sometimes you have to try it out to know. Remember, nursery school is optional so don't feel pressured to put your child in one.

  5. #5
    Obiwan is offline Registered User
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    Reading through the various threads, I'm still a little confused I'm afraid ... are playgroups = prenursery, i.e. the 'schools' children go to before kindergarten? And most of these 'playgroups' start at the age of 18 months and kindergarten at the age of 3?

    Thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    the kindergarten my son attends has a "nursery" class = K1. he didn't attend any "pre-nursery" school/classes. he came to the playgroup that i teach. my daughter is following the same way. HOWEVER, my daughter will attend kindergarten next september and will go for a whole-day to start with. she already wants to go to school with "goh-goh". we have decided to start her with whole-day instead of 1/2 because we live a 30 minute bus ride away from the kindergarten. as it is, my helper gets on the 8am bus with the kids, and drops my son at school at 8:30-8:45am. if my daughter was going for a 1/2 day, she would then get the 9am bus home and the 11am bus back to pick up my daughter, then she would get the 12:30 bus home and the 3:30 bus back to school to pick up my son.

    to me, that is utterly ridiculous! so, instead, she'll drop both kids off in the morning and i'll pick them up in the afternoon.

    as thanka said, my son does most of his "learning" in the morning. has lunch at 12pm and then they nap from 12:30-2. they wake up and play, have stories etc until 4pm. the doors open at 4 and you can collect your child anytime between 4-5:30pm.

  7. #7
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Hey Obiwan,

    Playgroups are playgroups and nursery is nursery and kindergarten is kindergarten.

    There are playgroups in Hong Kong for children from birth upward to about 3-years-old. These can be formal or informal, for a fee or free.

    My son attends a formal playgroup which we pay a fee for. He attends twice a week for 2 hours. At this playgroup they have activities that are structured play. They have a song time, craft time, exercise time, snack time and story time etc.

    Nursery is a different thing altogether. Most nurseries are for children that are around 2-years-old but there may be ones for 1.5-year-olds. Nursery school is like what we would call "pre-school" or "headstart" in the States. At this point, they do all the same things that they probably would do in their playgroups but maybe with more of a concerted learning focus (specifically learning colors, shapes etc.). It's sort of a half-way point between playgroup and kindergarten in style, I think.

    Also, nursery school is longer and most nursery schools are associated with a kindergarten--usually the kindergarten and nursery classes are in the same building. I think a lot of local parents may want to send their child to nursery school to keep them busy during the day and give them a chance at learning as the parents are away most of the day.

    Most playgroups are only an hour or two long and some playgroups have a specific focus like music or math or art or something.

    Now that my son is going to nursery school he's in "line" for the associated kindergarten with that nursery school. The classes are held Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

    At 3-years-old (or 2-years-10-months), children can begin kindergarten. My son will be in the 2-years-10-months category as that is the cutoff for age for children allowed into the upcoming kindergarten classes.

  8. #8
    Obiwan is offline Registered User
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    Thank you very much. Let's see if I get it right this time.

    Roughly as below -

    Birth to 1.5 - 2 years old: Playgroup
    2 years old: Nursery
    3 years old: Kindergarten

    I haven't seen any playgroup for really young children, was under the impression that start at about 18 months or so. There were also a lot of discussions on interviews the kids have attend. Are these for Kindergartens?

    Thanks.

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