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Hillside (ESF Kindergarten) or Woodlands Montessori (Caine Road)? Why?

  1. #1
    MsHongKong is offline Registered User
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    Hillside (ESF Kindergarten) or Woodlands Montessori (Caine Road)? Why?

    We are trying to decide between ESF Kindergarten and Woodside Caine Road for our 3 year old. Any feedback from parents with experience with one or both would be much appreciated. I am a little worried about large class size at ESF Kindergarten . . .

  2. #2
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    We opted for a Woodlands primarily due to the class size issue. Our son, at the time, was not accustom to being around so many other children and we felt it better to keep him in a smaller class size. Also slightly of issue was the daily drive over there--it was a bit further of a hike for him.

    Here are my notes from a tour of ESF Hillside

    ESF Hillside-notes from a tour

  3. #3
    Whitesky is offline Registered User
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    My child used to attend woodland at the Caine road. He stared from playgroup, stepping stones and then pre-school. He learned so much in woodland. I was very grateful how caring of the teachers there. I remember one time my child got a small accident in school, they even wrote me a small report including the cause and how they handled the small injury, signed by the teacher and the supervisor. And they gave us weekly update in the communication book what they did and learned in school as each month they will have different theme.


    My child came home, learned the phonics and told me lots of things he learned from school. after he completed K1 there, we transferred to ESF as we moved home. I would say the quality of ESF is not as good as Woodland. I feel my child is not learning and progressing as much as when he was in Woodland. My child always comes home and told me he just plays, plays and plays. I think for my second child, I will put him in Woodland again.

  4. #4
    geomum is offline Registered User
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    We love Woodlands Caine Road, the teachers are very caring/ responsive and communication between parents and school is great. My daughter was in Playschool, then Stepping Stones and now Pre school she looks forward to going to school every morning and I know her little brain is constantly working while she is there. They have Mandarin and Computers every week also they have a library day where the child gets to pick up a book to take home for a week. The school sends weekly newsletter about each class and it has pics of kids in action.
    Your son will be starting Pre school as well if you choose Woodlands as it starts from 2 yrs 8 months onwards. But keep in mind finances as ESF K1 is much cheaper than Woodlands Pre school, even bus is cheaper at ESF.

  5. #5
    kiwiinoz is offline Registered User
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    Our son is at Hillside and we have been very impressed. He has made lots of friends, speech has come along amazingly (he spoke very little before going to Hillside), he has built confidence and the teachers have encouraged him to try different activities. He has 20 children in his K1 class, but with 3 teachers (2 teachers aides and the main teacher) he is definitely getting supervision and attention to help his development. The kids have access to computers daily, have a library day and we also get a weekly newsletter with information about what the kids have been up to during the week. In K1 they haven't focussed on a lot of mandarin, but he seems to know colours and they did a large unit on Chinese New Year celebrations. We have had great communication between the teacher when required and a communication diary comes home every day.
    At a teacher/parent/child level, we have found Hillside outstanding so far.
    If you asked me what my biggest problem was with the school I would say the attitude of the principal could be better, but that is relatively minor as he doesn't seem to have much to do with the class level.

    Our daughter went to ESF Sheung Wan before it became Hillside for K2 and they did a great job in preparing her for primary school, so I am hoping the same will be true of Hillside.

  6. #6
    peainpod is offline Registered User
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    @Kiwiinoz, thanks for the detailed comments which really helped to address some of the concerns I had since deciding to move my son from Woodlands (Caine Rd) to start K1 at Hillside ESF this fall.

    Our son has been going to Woodlands since Playgroup (18 mths) and he has been very happy there.

    My son is very friendly and open to new experiences but he gets easily distracted and I was a bit worried that with the open layout and less structured learning environment, it would be hard for him to settle down.

    I was v impressed with the quality of their teachers when we had the school visit so your comments about the good level of teaching supervision is a definite relief to me.

    Even though we didn't have much interaction with the principal, we were also less than impressed with him ( and a friend whose son is in K2 there had similar comments about him.) I had a very good impression of the vice-principal Audrey though so hopefully any necessary admin issues can be dealt with through her.
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  7. #7
    kiwiinoz is offline Registered User
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    I had similar concerns, and I was really worried my son would do nothing but the sand pit in open play. He did spend a lot of time in the sand pit to start with, but the teachers encourage the kids to try all sorts of things and now he may spend 1 open play session a week in the sand pit, but wants to do different things every day. They've even got him to a point where he is willingly enjoying doing things he hated before he started there! So I have to give them a lot of credit, as they don't force the kids but guide them, and it has worked well for the my son and the other kids in his class.
    No school is perfect, but Hillside is working for our son so far. I hope you have similar success.

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