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where and how to start looking?

  1. #1
    solidstars's Avatar
    solidstars is offline Registered User
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    where and how to start looking?

    hi, my son turns two in march 2011. It seems a bit young to me, but anyways relatives and colleagues pressure... I guess I should start looking for a school for the little guy.

    So, where to start? I don't know how local moms/dads find out which schools are good or bad or 'shouldn't apply to that one!' type thing. I grew up overseas so have no idea about the systems in Hong Kong. I can't afford the international school fees here either!

    I found this list that SEEMED helpful: http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nod...txtSchAddress=

    but it doesn't have details like fees or anything helpful like whether a non-chinese reading mom can help her son with his schooling? I want him to have an English/chinese education but... I really don't know where to start!

    Any tips would be fantastic and much appreciated! I live on the Kowloon side...

    ps. my husband's niece went to cannan but i saw a thread here that mentioned some negative comments so....

  2. #2
    wegetable is offline Registered User
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    Don't let anyone pressure you, you are the mother, you know the best if your son is ready or not. I sent my oldest to a 2 1/2 year old program once a week when he was younger, he wasn't ready emotionally so he ended up crying for months. I sat in the classroom with him for 5 months, the teacher didn't mind, one mother sat in the class 6 months, even longer than I did. Preschools in the states are more flexible, I doubt they let you do that in Hong Kong. Anyway, sign him up for playgroup first and see if he is ready or not and go from there. Some kids love going to schools and some don't, at that age group they are not really learning anything except socializing. Don't let anyone pressures you into doing anything you don't want, your son has the rest of his life going to school, one year is not going to make a difference.

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    solidstars's Avatar
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    actually my son's pretty sociable, so that's not so much of an issue, i think he'll do just fine, it's just the sorting through all the schools and how to pick the right one that's the issue. Where to start? If I pick the wrong one, does that mean he's not going to get into a good primary, and so on and so forth?

    I actually don't mind whether it's a homework school or whatnot, but I would rather the school focus on play and manners and storytelling instead of drilling things into his head. It's hard to judge by finding the school's website whether they do this, and plus, alot of the local schools don't even have an english website so I don't understand what they're saying anyways!

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    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    Kids in Finland start school at age 7, and they are consistently at the top of the education rankings worldwide. Even in the UK there is now pressure to move back the start age from 4 to 6.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...on/6925642.stm

    There is a growing movement of "let children be children" and not rush headlong into a formalized education setting before it is needed. As many educators will state, children learn far more from play at younger ages than they do from organized instruction.

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-06-0...ts-and-reading

    Don't let others pressure you into something you feel your child is not ready for. If you are giving them some educational opportunities at home (reading to them, playing with numbers, etc) and some social time (in a play room or with others) I really wouldn't worry about "keeping up with the Jones" or the demands of your relatives. Enjoy this time with them as you will really be the most important teacher they ever meet.

    Good luck.

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    reei is offline Registered User
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    solidstars's Avatar
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    Thanks Reei that seems like a really useful link, they really should add a small description next to each school, that would really help!

    Thanks penguinsix for your thoughts, i think being in a school/playgroup/playgym will benefit my son too, he's really learning so much and so fast nowadays. I know that in hong kong children really start school early but i don't plan on pushing him, just letting him go with the flow.

  7. #7
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    with Reei's link - you will get some idea of what schools are available...which is great. Another issue you might think about is travel time...my one goes to playgroup next door - 2 mins drive - though it's not the most ideal school in my books, it's "ideal" because she doesn't have to travel long to get there so she's in top spirits when attending class. Cost of course is a factor, and no, I can't afford international either...not that they are THE best schools in HK anyways..they've got theirs pros and cons. Just remember to decide what is your priority - many schools offer English / Mandarin classes or are bilingual in nature, so you shouldn't have much trouble with that. I'd encourage you to do school visits once you've scaled down on a few that you have a good feel for. That will help you decide too - websites don't tell the full picture!
    :) Good luck!

  8. #8
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    To answer your earlier question, I'm a non-Chinese reading mom and I know a few others who send their children to local schools. One brings her son's teacher correspondence to her security guard to translate. Another hires a tutor who comes over to play with her daughters for a couple of hours every weekday. My Cantonese parents live with us, so fortunately, they're the ones that go through the notes. I speak enough to encourage him to practice speaking and writing, but if anything, it underlines for our children the importance of learning more than one language! My husband and I speak English to one another, but he speaks Mandarin fluently for work and I speak Cantonese proficiently at home.

    Your son will be 2.5 year old in the fall of 2011, which means he will be in nursery. Nursery applications opened in September 2010, so you may find that the more sort-after local schools will have already filled up their classes. I'm currently sending my 2.5 year old to nursery at a Cantonese kindergarten (Wisely Kindergarten) which introduces some Mandarin and English, but am applying for him to enter a Mandarin kindergarten (KCS) with some English from K1 onwards. Same thing happened to me last year in that I only learned about KCS at the end of September, but by then, all the applications were gone!

    The nice thing with KCS is that if you're comfortable with their curriculum and medium of instruction (90% Mandarin/10% English), you can proceed from their kindergarten to primary school and beyond, which is what we're planning to do. Otherwise, getting into a different primary school entails another interview/preparation process, and then it repeats again at the secondary school application process. The other option is international schools, many of which will feed directly into a primary, and oftentimes, a secondary school as well.

    I don't think there's one "right" way to educate our children, and fortunately, I think children are very flexible and adaptable themselves. Some factors that you might want to consider when deciding include: a) how much time do you want to spend with your children on academic matters each day, b) how much time do you want to spend with your children on extra-curricular matters each day, c) how important is it to you for your child to become fluent in Chinese (proficiency is not going to be very useful by the time they're adults), d) what kind of school culture do you want to for your children and last but not least, e) cost and location, which will affect the travel time for your child to get to/from school.

    Hope this helps!

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