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ESF Hillside-notes from a tour

  1. #1
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010

    ESF Hillside-notes from a tour

    Visited ESF Hillside the other day. I'm currently torn between an afternoon slot that has been offered for my K2 or keeping my kid at Woodlands Peak for a morning (English) and afternoon (Mandarin) program.

    Some interesting notes from my visit to Hillside.
    * ~20 kids per group x 4 groups per session (morning/afternoon). Legally they can go to 22 but rarely hit that.

    * 75% of the parents want the morning session, but only 50% of the slots are for the morning. By Chinese New Year though, anyone who has expressed an interest in switching has generally been offered an opportunity to do so.

    * Of the 84 kids that applied to ESF primary, 83 have already been offered spots, and #84 (who got their paperwork in very late) will likely get an offer later this Summer/Fall.

    * The ESF teachers / "scouts" come over and the kids who have applied to ESF are given stickers to be observed, reviewed.

    * The ESF school emphasized "their relationship" with the ESF primaries in helping to facilitate the admission and transition process.

    * Woodlands v. ESF is basically "a draw" academically. The advantage to ESF was the larger class size which might help them socially develop for ESF primary, where there are 30 kids in a class. Woodlands are a bit smaller class sizes.

    * Mandarin is offered as an activity (20-30 minutes) once a week(?). It was not very formal though.

    * A new outdoor play area (at the end of the bus drop off area) is being developed and should open by the start of the school year.

    * The K2 area will be expanding by taking over 1/2 of the teachers lounge to give them more room to run around.

    Anyway, though some of these items were interesting to those who come later and search these forums.

    As for us, we're really torn. We originally were at Woodlands AM/PM for an English/Mandarin experience, then we thought ESF would be our best bet, and now we're second guessing and thinking of staying at Woodlands for the full year prior to applying to ESF primary school (Peak) for 2011-12 or an international school. Still haven't come to a final decision yet.

  2. #2
    happyflipper is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    As it is open classroom teaching - did you find it very noisy with all the K1 and K2 classes together during your visit ?
    How it that compared to Woodlands?

    How about the large class size - would that affect the kid learning in the class?

    I thought their teacher ratio is the best in HK being 1 teacher + 2 assistant to 20 students (ie 1:7 or 8 ratio)


  3. #3
    shaanmom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Mid Levels
    From what I understand from ESF teachers, going to ESF kindy does NOT guarantee a space at an ESF school. It seems that Woodlands kids are on par with ESF kindy in terms of admission. Personally I was not very happy with the large classes at ESF Hillside (even though it IS much much better than their old place), and also the whole open plan concept. I personally feel that kindy is the first step in a long journey and kids should be comfortable and happy. So if your child is already at Woodlands, maybe you should just leave her/him there till Primary 1. Just my opinion, of course!

  4. #4
    JKemp is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Hi, just wanted to set the record straight on the admissions for ESF mentioned above by shaanmom
    Quote Originally Posted by shaanmom View Post
    From what I understand from ESF teachers, going to ESF kindy does NOT guarantee a space at an ESF school. It seems that Woodlands kids are on par with ESF kindy in terms of admission.
    This is not actually true. Woodlands get no priority for interview. However, ESF kindergarten children do. You are right in that they are not guaranteed an interview or place, but going to ESF kindergarten makes you much more likely to get an interview in the first place. Which can be really important in some catchment areas.

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