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English + Cantonese preschool for 3.5 year old in HK?

  1. #1
    etotheipi is offline Registered User
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    English + Cantonese preschool for 3.5 year old in HK?

    Hi - I'm being posted to Hong Kong for a year or so and am concerned about my English-native 3.5 year old, who I'd like to learn a bit of Cantonese to speak with people, being forced to learn Mandarin by dint of most preschools doing 50-50 English Mandarin: he's not going to speak to anyone in it (except at school, I guess), and won't two additional languages and moving house be a bit much for him to absorb at once?

    Anyone have any thoughts/tips on:

    1) English + Cantonese preschooling in Hong Kong
    2) English-speaking children learning Mandarin in a Cantonese-speaking native environment?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    marie313 is offline Registered User
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    my daughter goes to HK Man Sang in North Point

    H.K. Man Sang Kindergarten and Nursery

    it is half english and half cantonese, and they have mandarin lessons a couple of times a week. she was already bi-lingual but has picked up loads of mandarin, and loves going to school.

  3. #3
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    We are 2 western parents with 3 trilinual kids.
    Our kids were educated in nursery/kindergarten in a 100% Cantonese environment (Lingnan).
    They then graduated to a 90% Mandarin environment (KCS).
    We are slowly transitioning them to an English environment as they are getting old enough for secondary school.

    It is not easy, but very doable. You will need support (extra tutors) as you wont be able to help with their homework and you will also need to keep the language up with extra curricular activities.

    I would suggest, if you are serious about Cantonese, go for 100% Cantonese Kindergarten. Having said that, if you are only going to be here for a year, I would not bother. A child of that age, if language is not persistant and reinforced will very quickly forget the language. (I've forgotten 2 languages that I used to be fluent in).

    HC

  4. #4
    etotheipi is offline Registered User
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    Thanks marie313 - very useful!

  5. #5
    etotheipi is offline Registered User
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    Thanks howardcoombs. Good point about the length of time we'll be here - that's the big variable now, as we might only be in HK for 9 months.

  6. #6
    sho135 is offline Registered User
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    If you're only here for 9 months, to be honest I wouldn't bother. I teach English at a Cantonese/ English kindergarten - an English boy attended nursery last year and he picked up some Cantonese but didn't become fluent.
    If it's 100% Cantonese, I think the stress of not understanding what's happening for the first month or so will not be outweighed by any language benefits - as the other comments have mentioned, even if he is fluent after a few months, he will forget it unless he's constantly practising. However, if you are willing to get a Cantonese tutor/babysitter etc when you get home (which is definitely possibly if you live near a University - there are always lots of Chinese students who would love that as a job) it might be worth considering.

  7. #7
    1stimemum is offline Registered User
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    continuing this thread as i have a problem in the same vein. We are now 90% certain that we will be moving back home to singapore in 2013 (2yrs from now). My son is now 1 yrs old and i am undecided what to do with him the 2 yrs we will be here.

    Its a little pointless enrolling him for kindergarten / nursery at 2yr 8 mths since term only starts sep 2012 and have him only study for 3 mths at most! at the same time, we were told we would be leaving last year but suddenly husband's contract ( 7wks before we were due to fly home) got renewed!! I dont really want to stay past 2013 if i can help it.

    my issue, where can i send him from 18- 36mths where can he learn languages (mand/ eng, cantonese is not required since we are definitely moving home at some stage) and grow mentally?

    also i should just register for some kindergartens if for whatever reason we do have to stay longer i guess but I have to replicate and do the exact same research for back home if we do go back so I'm basically enrolling in 2 countries at the same time!!

    This is wearing me down - ps I"m also little upset as hubby thinks nursery/ kindergarten is irrelevant - child's play he calls it.
    i'm sure mums are the ones who plan / worry about such things and its annoying to have him undermine my concerns.
    Last edited by 1stimemum; 01-31-2011 at 08:36 AM.

  8. #8
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stimemum View Post
    ps I"m also little upset as hubby thinks nursery/ kindergarten is irrelevant - child's play he calls it.
    i'm sure mums are the ones who plan / worry about such things and its annoying to have him undermine my concerns.
    I'm sorry that you are upset. I would be upset if my husband took it lightly (if we were in Singapore/Singaporeans)

    Is your husband Singaporean? If he is then, he is not being realistic about education in Singapore. I've got friends (locals not expats) who tell me that they've gotten homework (especially for Mandarin) twice a week from nursery! And they have to spend 3 days a week going through Mandarin homework with their children.

    If he's not and Singapore is your home, i.e. going into the local schools, I'd suggest that you ask him to learn about how harsh the local system is. Unless of course, he is happy for your child to be in a neighbourhood school!
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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