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New to HKI - so many questions about the schooling here.....

  1. #1
    Sooney is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Hong Kong

    Question New to HKI - so many questions about the schooling here.....


    My husband, 13 month old daughter and I moved here from Australia a month ago. We are here for 2 years plus, so I need to organise kinda and schooling for my daughter incase we are here longer than anticipated. We have moved to North Point Hill and would appreciate any information. Here are a few of the many questions I have -:

    1) What age should my daughter start classes?
    2) She will have to attend an international school. When do we appy and are there any feeder kinders to these schools?
    3) What international schools are best?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    1) When you are ready for her to start classes.

    Generally HK kids start classes around four, following the British system that was put in place. But the 4-year-old start date in the UK is getting a second look as some consider rushing education at an early age actually does more harm than good. The US is currently age 5, the UK is looking at moving it back to 6, and some countries like Finland don't start until 7.

    At age 3, you might look at doing some things social with her, such as an organized playgroup or meetups. Not so much to drill them in flash cards but to get them more comfortable being around other children. But when to start something formal is something best discussed with the potential pre-schools you are meeting and your own read of your kids abilities and desires (and also yours--you may want to just spend more 'kid' time with them). I'm a strong proponent of "let children be children" so take what I saw with that bias in mind.

    2) I'm gathering when you say "she will have to attend an international school" what you are really saying is "she'll need to attend an English-language school". ESF is the 'semi-public' school system for English-speaking parents, and there are also Direct Subsidy Schools that teach primarily in English I think. They aren't quite the same as the private international schools that charge considerably more per year and that you read about.

    As for a pre-school or kindergarten being a 'feeder' for a specific International school, I think there's more smoke than fire there. Kids come in from a variety of pre-schools and kindergarten programs such that I don't think anyone is going to push you to one school or another.

    3) Define 'best'?

    Kids learn differently. What is best for your kid is not necessarily best for some other kid, especially at these earlier years. What might be best for the kids who will "memorize and learn how to take tests" may not be best for your daughter and the future educational path she may take.

    I think you'll find there are some schools that are more sought after than others, but ranking 1-2-3 isn't really helpful as it is apples and oranges.

    Sought after schools would include, in no particular order, the Kellett School (British), French International, German-Swiss International, HK International School, Canadian International, Hong Kong Academy, ISF, Chinese International, and my apologies to the few others I didn't list that all have long wait lists.
    Last edited by penguinsix; 05-27-2011 at 10:02 AM.

  3. #3
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Happy Valley
    Quote Originally Posted by Sooney View Post
    ...We are here for 2 years plus...
    What is the definition of plus?
    If plus could mean that you will be here indefinitely and may end up being here for more than 10 years (which happens to a lot of people), I would encourage you to look into Chinese medium education which will give you lot of advantages:
    1) extra language(s)
    2) lot cheaper schools
    3) once the kid learns Cantonese, a whole new world of activities and movies open up.

  4. #4
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    South District
    kids can start school here as young as 2yrs 4mths (or 6mths?!?) anyhow, by that time kids can go to schools unaccompanied - say pre-nursery classes that are 1/2 day...offered by Victoria (local with IB program), Woodlands (international), sunshine house (international), Lingnan (local local), tutor time (bilingual - mandarin / english), International montessori (bilingual - mandarin / english)...are the ones that I have on the top of my head. living in north point hill, i believe you also have kiangsu-suzhe nearby (mandarin speaking)...but the others that would be close are victoria and international montessori.

    my daughter started at 18mths (playgroup / parent accompanied) and then "graduated" to pre-nursery equivalent and goes by herself now for 3 hours a day. depending on your school it can be real i would suggest you go on school tours to see for yourself what the school is all about. it's hard to know what is "right" but you will get an idea what you want when you visit....i'd say start with those close by since you will have to do the drop off / pick up and it's just more convenient.

    2+ years...well, any of those schools could get you in any of the "international" schools which are private, but you'd probably have to apply now so that you can get on the waiting list, which could be a 2 year wait. i'm not even sure if you can apply so early for some - you will have to check out the websites or call them (HK is very efficient - they will let you know right away)

  5. #5
    Sooney is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Hong Kong
    Thanks so much. I really appreciate your help. You have given us some great information. We will start checking out some places this week. Thanks again.

  6. #6
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    North Point
    We live not far from you and my daughter (2.5 years) has been going to ICMS just down the bottom of Tin Hau Temple Road. I love how it is very close to where we live, and the school has been great for us. She starts the Casa program in September and I think I MIGHT try to get her into ESF before primary JUST so that we can hopefully get into ESF primary easier. (ESF is one of the most affordable international schools). If we were here for a LONG time, I would probably put her into Australian International, just for secondary - because of the curriculum being the same if we were to move back to Australia. But I can't justify the ridiculous distance to Kowloon Tong. So for now we're sticking with ICMS, hopefully for primary she can get into Quarry Bay which is also on North Point Hill, and then if we're here for that long we may look into Australian international for later on...

    Oh and at ICMS, they have a playgroup from 18 months which is accompanied, then from 2 years, they have precasa which is unaccompanied...

    If you have more questions, you can PM me...

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