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Schools guide

  1. #1
    soon2bmom is offline Registered User
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    Schools guide

    Dear moms,

    my son is only 1 year old, but after browsing thru threads on kindie application and stuff, I am starting to think that maybe I should get my acts together now and do some research. Sure, there is more than enough information on the Internet, but I find it rather disorganized and random. Are there any books that will tell me about the education system in hk, different pathways, how and when to apply to certain schools?

    Many thanks

    ps: are there any extremely well informed moms/dads who will be willing to give an informal talk on this matter? I am sure there are lots of clueless moms like me who will be more than happy to attend some sort of talk/seminar to learn about it rather than staring at the computer screen until my eyeballs hurt :-)

  2. #2
    Sedenya is offline Registered User
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    I am 200% with you! Wish I could help but am also a clueless mum...

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Sleuth is offline Registered User
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    This should be the SCMP Good SChools Guide and it explains a lot of the different HK systems.
    Latest Hong Kong, China & World News | SCMP.com

    Since we kept our son out of school until he was older (like in the US or, evidentially, the EU), we discovered the issue to be available spots. If the school is small and trying to maintain a decent teacher:student ratio, the issue becomes the kids already in the school from the age of 2 and 8 months. If the class you are trying to get into is already full of kids rising from the prior class, you have to hope somebody decides against continuing in order to open a spot.
    And I think you have to visit each school in order to get a feel for it. Even our 3 YO has an opinion and preference on the schools. Which, unfortunately, do not exactly match the opinions of his parents, so we'll have to work on that.

  4. #4
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    soon2bmom & Sedenya, I wish someone had told me to start my research sooner as I was told on September 20th that applications for 2010-2011 Nursery for my 16 month old were closed on September 16th when the applications were only made available on September 1st! In general, it looks like you need to have a pretty good idea at which schools you would like to submit applications at least twelve months in advance of the child's first day of school. Hence, I was too late!

    Now, that I've done some belated research, the main factors seem to be as follows:
    1. Medium of Instruction - are you looking for English, Cantonese, Mandarin or a combination of the above short-term/long-term?
    2. Location - how far are you willing to travel with your child to go to school?
    3. Cost - more expensive is not necessarily better, but it does help you decide what your options are; and
    4. Timing - what is the birthdate of your child and work from there. Sleuth raised an excellent point about the number of places, which is pretty important. It's generally easiest to get into a school during the first year that they accept students, but that is not the case with all schools.
    5. Citizenship - some schools explicitly give preference to children/parents from certain countries. For example, the Canadian International Schools give priority to Canadian citizens, Singapore International School give priority to Singapore citizens, etc.

    On age, a pre-school will usually accept a child for Nursery if he is over 2 by September, but some are really strict and will follow the guideline of 2 year + 8 months. After Nursery is Kindergarten 1 for 3+, Kindergarten 2 for 4+ and Kindergarten 3 for 5+.

    This website lists all the kindergartens in Hong Kong. It may give you some options that you may not have considered before:
    ????? Kindergartens Profile

    OK, for example, these are the considerations that we took into account for my son, currently age 18 months:
    1. Medium of instruction - prefer 50/50 Mandarin & English long-term, indifferent between traditional or simplified Chinese characters, exposure to Cantonese optional;
    2. 15-45 minutes door-to-door;
    3. Indifferent between public or private;
    4. DOB May 2008
    5. Singapore and US citizenship

    Given the medium of instruction preferences, we were considering only a small number of public and private schools - KCS, SIS, CIS, & ISF. From there, we knew we would have easier entry to SIS because of his citizenship. SIS' first year of entry is PY1, which corresponds with Kindergarten 2. Therefore, we were looking for a suitable pre-school for the nursery and kindergarten 1 years only. We missed the cut-off for KCS' nursery program and may consider reapplying later, but obtained a place at Wisely Kindergarten, which is conducted in Cantonese, English and Mandarin located less than 10 minutes from home on public transport. We've also submitted an application for the Tri-lingual and bilingual (Mandarin/English) program at Victoria Kindergarten. In the meantime, we've just found a local church playgroup conducted twice a week, 1 hour at a time, in Cantonese to help him become more familiar with the language.

    My 18 month old hasn't expressed any opinions on his preference on schools yet, but I am relieved that my older son is enjoying SIS. He entered in PY1, which has 4 classes of 20 students each. Had he entered in PY2, the class size would only increase to 22, making only 8 additional places available from PY1. At Primary 1 onwards, the class size is 25, making only 12 additional places available from PY2. After that, a place is only available if another child leaves the school. At PY1, my elder son's interview consisted of a friendly chat with two teachers answering six questions. From what I hear from friends, the entrance requirement for Primary 1, the sit-down examination is over two hours covering English, Chinese and Math!

    Hope this helps. It's amazing how quickly time flies, but fortunately, I think you all have started not too late!

  5. #5
    reei is offline Registered User
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    yonge, thanks for your detailed explanation.

  6. #6
    Sedenya is offline Registered User
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    You are an Angel Yonge!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for taking the time. My son is 13 months now and will be 23 months (under 2) next September 2010, so I guess according to what u wrote I will not be abble to unroll him in a Nursery.????

  7. #7
    soon2bmom is offline Registered User
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    Yonge, thank you so much for the details. And the SCMP guide is a good start. Thanks for all the replies.

    Sedenya, we must be in very similar situations. My boy is also 13months now and we are also in TC ( I read your other thread about DMK and Sunshine House). We are looking for an English speaking kindie, too.

  8. #8
    shwetakhanna is offline Registered User
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    My daughter is feb born and she will be 2 years 7 months in sept next year. Have been confused for a while that should we send her to nursery in the coming year or should we wait for another year - which i found a little disturbing - to wait for an year just becuase of one month?

    I am not very keen on starting her school early, but as i observe her in the playgoup, she enjoys going to school and is very happy to be with other children. So we were thinking to start nursery next year.

    Are there any parents with february born children who can share their experiences for admission in Nursery?

    thanks

    shweta

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