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Choice of school for a 3 year old

  1. #1
    mammalove is offline Registered User
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    Choice of school for a 3 year old

    We're Indians settled in Singapore for the last 5 years and have a 3 year old daughter. We'll be moving to HK in Feb end or March. I was looking for good schools in HK which would help my daughter develop as a well-rounded individual. Here she goes to an Indian International school (which was a big let-down for us :( It has an ICSE syllabus mixed with montessori methods for preschool. Fortunately, she picked up a lot of skills because of a nice class teacher who's very dedicated and approachable. Otherwise the school is pretty bad. She joined school when she was 22 months old (pre-nursery) Now she is in Nursery (she is 3 years and 3 months old) and will be completing this term by March. She is a very affable and intelligent child, quick to learn and is already trilingual (in Indian languages) to some extent. She speaks English fluently, Kannada and Tamil too, and a bit of Hindi as well. As my husband will be working in Central in HK district, we'll probably look for something in Tsing Yi or something like that (as many people have suggested) and I'm looking for a school in that vicinity. I am quite impressed with the ESF curriculum, but not really sure as I havent practically seen the facility. I did write to them, they replied saying Abacus admissions are closed, a couple of others have waiting lists. Tsing Yi ESF has not replied yet.

    Another thing I wanted to know was what is the system there...here it is pre-nursery, nursery, K1, k2 and then primary. How does it go there?? If we're moving to HK in March, my daughter would be going to K1 as per the system here. Please let me know.

    We were told Mid-Levels is quite expensive and the houses are very small which is why I am not considering Hillside ESF at the moment although they've asked to send the application. Please do feel free to suggest as we're totally new to HK.
    Thanks so much for your help.

  2. #2
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    We can't speak highly enough of ESF at Tsing Yi. For us, it was an absolutely spot-on decision. It's a huge difference in standard in comparison to where our child was before. The teacher and TAs in his class are such gems. Our child's done much better. I love their no worksheet philosophy - it's all about a child's imagination. You'd be surprised at how much more they learn without them!

    Try ESF at Wu Kai Sha... apartments are cheaper around that area compared to Mid-Levels. Except for WKS and Hillside and I think most established ESF schools have closed applications and you'd find yourself on a long waitlist.

  3. #3
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    Hi Mammalove

    We just moved from Singapore to Hong Kong (my 2nd time and my husband's 5th time) six months ago. K1 in Singapore corresponds to K2 in HK. Our son (who's in K1) currently attends Singapore International School at the Preparatory Year 1 level or PY1, which corresponds to K1 in Singapore or K2 in HK. If you or your husband have Singapore citizenship or PR or your daughter does, then you would have priority in the admissions process. As PY1 is the first year to enter SIS, admissions are easiest at this point. My son had an interview with 6 questions and was not intimidated at all. PY1 is made up of 4 classes of 20 students each. It gets much harder entering in later years, because the children tend to continue at the school and the class sizes only increases to 22 at PY2 and 25 at Primary 1. The entrance requirements are also tougher if you were to enter later - e.g., P1 entrance examination is a 3-hour sit-down in English, Mandarin and Maths. The class is approximately 30% from Singapore and many other children who start at the PY1 level have no prior exposure to Mandarin. I think they do a pretty good job introducing the language as my son is speaking far more Mandarin now that we're living in HK than when we were living in Singapore. Another thing, if you're planning on returning to Singapore and putting your daughter into a local school, only SIS HK is run by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, allowing your daughter to transfer to the local school system without further entrance requirements. If she were to transfer from a HK ESF school, she will need to be assessed before she can enter a local school.

    We're currently living in Mid-levels, which is surprisingly 'affordable' as it is slightly more expensive than what we would be paying if we were renting in Singapore. Our son takes the school bus to school. Western Mid-levels/Pokfulam is less expensive than Central/Eastern Mid-levels, so please don't rule it out! My husband works in Central and can get to work on a minibus in the morning in 20 minutes!

    Hope this helps. Welcome to Hong Kong and feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions about SIS or Western Mid-levels.

  4. #4
    mammalove is offline Registered User
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    Thanks :)

    Thanks very much, Yonge! Thanks for writing in such detail, it has indeed been very informative.
    I have a question: My daughter will be 3 years and 6 months when we arrive at HK. Would she qualify for K2? (I mean is there only one level after nursery, and before primary 1?) If yes, it would mean she would be in primary 1 at the age of 4 years and 6 months. I'm not quite clear about this.
    We are not yet sure if we'll come back to Singapore (although we're PRs here) or if we'll go back to India. My concern is that she should be able to integrate into schools in India as well after she has studied in HK. That was actually the reason for my enroling her with an Indian International School here in Singapore. But SIS is definitely one of my choices, if I'm not able to get her any place in any of the other international schools.
    And yes, I'll start looking for houses in Mid-levels western/Porkfulam etc. What kind of a place is Happy Valley? Too expensive? We will be depending on the public transport there as both of us don't plan to drive. So I'm looking for a place that should be well connected as well.

    Thanks for your time. I will probably come back to you with more questions soon...please bear with me :)


    Quote Originally Posted by yonge View Post
    Hi Mammalove

    We just moved from Singapore to Hong Kong (my 2nd time and my husband's 5th time) six months ago. K1 in Singapore corresponds to K2 in HK. Our son (who's in K1) currently attends Singapore International School at the Preparatory Year 1 level or PY1, which corresponds to K1 in Singapore or K2 in HK. If you or your husband have Singapore citizenship or PR or your daughter does, then you would have priority in the admissions process. As PY1 is the first year to enter SIS, admissions are easiest at this point. My son had an interview with 6 questions and was not intimidated at all. PY1 is made up of 4 classes of 20 students each. It gets much harder entering in later years, because the children tend to continue at the school and the class sizes only increases to 22 at PY2 and 25 at Primary 1. The entrance requirements are also tougher if you were to enter later - e.g., P1 entrance examination is a 3-hour sit-down in English, Mandarin and Maths. The class is approximately 30% from Singapore and many other children who start at the PY1 level have no prior exposure to Mandarin. I think they do a pretty good job introducing the language as my son is speaking far more Mandarin now that we're living in HK than when we were living in Singapore. Another thing, if you're planning on returning to Singapore and putting your daughter into a local school, only SIS HK is run by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, allowing your daughter to transfer to the local school system without further entrance requirements. If she were to transfer from a HK ESF school, she will need to be assessed before she can enter a local school.

    We're currently living in Mid-levels, which is surprisingly 'affordable' as it is slightly more expensive than what we would be paying if we were renting in Singapore. Our son takes the school bus to school. Western Mid-levels/Pokfulam is less expensive than Central/Eastern Mid-levels, so please don't rule it out! My husband works in Central and can get to work on a minibus in the morning in 20 minutes!

    Hope this helps. Welcome to Hong Kong and feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions about SIS or Western Mid-levels.

  5. #5
    mammalove is offline Registered User
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    Thanks:)

    Thanks very much for sparing the time to reply Spockey!

    Tsing Yi has sent me a mail saying admissions are closed...and waiting list etc. I'm not looking at Wu Kai Sha because it seems so far away from Central (HK district) where my husband will be working...I found out from some sources that it takes about 1 hour and 45 mins to get there...any takes on this information??

    Like you said, I'm considering the Hillside centre, also on a waiting list though! But I hope she'll get through. If not for ESF, are there any other good schools that are predominantly English oriented? This is because we will probably move back to India later and all the schools there teach predominantly in English, apart from the language of the region. I don't mind having an extra language taught because children learn very quickly at this age and it is good to learn a few languages and to integrate with the locals. But I wouldn't want Mandarin/Cantonese, etc. as the main focus.
    I'm looking at schools that would have a curriculum that is recognised worldwide. Also Longe on this forum suggested that we could look at Pokfulam/Western Mid-levels etc for housing. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks:)
    P.S. Is there a locality where I can get Indian grocery easily. Vegetables from any region are fine, but I would definitely need spices and other condiments from an Indian store. Do you have an idea where I could find these?
    Thanks again!
    Quote Originally Posted by spockey View Post
    We can't speak highly enough of ESF at Tsing Yi. For us, it was an absolutely spot-on decision. It's a huge difference in standard in comparison to where our child was before. The teacher and TAs in his class are such gems. Our child's done much better. I love their no worksheet philosophy - it's all about a child's imagination. You'd be surprised at how much more they learn without them!

    Try ESF at Wu Kai Sha... apartments are cheaper around that area compared to Mid-Levels. Except for WKS and Hillside and I think most established ESF schools have closed applications and you'd find yourself on a long waitlist.

  6. #6
    0ze_Kid's Avatar
    0ze_Kid is offline Registered User
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    You may want to look at a Montessori program in HK also (MMI homepage). I know that MMI (they run all the Monte schools around the MRT's in Singapore) are opening up in HK early in 2010. Contact them as they may be near you in Tsing Yi.

    Also consider English Adventures (Home) until a place becomes available at a school as other PP have said, lists can be long to get into the school you want. We are currently on 5 school lists for a P1 place!

  7. #7
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    We love Indian food! Whatever we can't find from the local Taste/Wellcome/ParkNShop, we've stocked from the supermarket at Pacific Place in Admiralty. We found Indonesian grocery stores littered all over Hong Kong useful too. The most useful Indonesian shop we've been too is in Tuen Mun (which is a hike from Central/Mid-Levels area). Otherwise, we've popped into small Indian grocery stores around the Jordan area and Sham Shui Po areas.

  8. #8
    Neha is offline Banned
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    Indian groceries try tsim sha tsui many India groceries in chunking mansion and mirador mansion on Nathan road they also deliver to most places. India food is no problem in hk

    welcome to hk

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