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Is internation kindergarten really necessary?

  1. #9
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    you use english at home, right? so long as you read with your kids and continue to converse with them in english, their standard of english won't diminish (at least my kids' english hasn't diminished).

    we do not have a tutor for our kids as the primary school offers an afterschool homework programme so that our son can do his homework at school under the supervision of his teachers. he still comes home with homework, but he does the 'hard stuff' at school.

    however, if my husband didn't read/write chinese, then we would most likely have to employ a tutor to help our son prepare for his exams.

  2. #10
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxmom0901 View Post
    I am very impressed. Do you hire tutor for your kids to learn Chinese? And how do you keep up with the level of English they should have? Thanks again for all the input.
    No need to be impressed, its not that unusual nor a great achievement.

    Chinese families in Hong Kong as well as in China master multi-lingual all the time; ditto for the subcontinent. Most European countries do dual and many do tri and quadlingual instruction (eg: Holland & Austria)
    But for some strange reason, English speaking countries(and their citizens) generally have this reluctance about multiple languages. Kids are sponges, they will adapt and learn everything you throw at them.

    Yes, we've had a tutor in the house monday to friday since the kids were 2.5 years old. If they were going to English schools, the parents would naturally help with their basic questions. As the parents lack Chinese, it is essential to have someone take up the slack.

    The level of English is just fine as the parents language in the house is English. Certainly they are not as far advanced as their counterparts in English only schools but thats fine, they have plenty of time to catch up when they get to higher grades and do more English.

  3. #11
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    The bigger problem is not language they know or don't know, but the simple math of international school admissions.

    If you are applying for the international schools, generally most of them start at age 4 (4 years old by September of the year they start). There will be say 100 positions and 400 applicants.

    If you are applying for an international schools at age 5, you'll be in a situation where there will be 20 positions and 400 applicants.

    If you are applying for an international school at age 6, you'll be in a situation where there will be 10 positions and 400 applicants.

    Ok, these numbers are not spot-on accurate but used to illustrate the point that getting into the international schools is incredibly difficult, more so when the kids get older. You may have read that the competition for international school places is unbelievable, with some families relocating to Singapore or even 'splitting up' sending one parent back 'home' while the other is in Hong Kong awaiting an opening at a school. It's considered a major problem with hiring executives for Hong Kong right now and there is not much hope on it improving in the near future (unless the economy collapses).

    Now if you want to go into the local stream and stay there, then this is irrelevant. But you posted that you were willing to spend a few years in the local system and then just switch over to an international primary when they were a bit older. I just want you to be aware that might not be as easy as you hope.

    There are several international schools where they can be fully immersed in Chinese language, such as the ISF Academy or Chinese International. Singapore International and Canadian International and other internationals also have Chinese programs as well. You might want to consider those as an options.

  4. #12
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
    If you are applying for the international schools, generally most of them start at age 4 (4 years old by September of the year they start). There will be say 100 positions and 400 applicants.

    If you are applying for an international schools at age 5, you'll be in a situation where there will be 20 positions and 400 applicants.

    If you are applying for an international school at age 6, you'll be in a situation where there will be 10 positions and 400 applicants.

    Ok, these numbers are not spot-on accurate but used to illustrate the point that getting into the international schools is incredibly difficult, more so when the kids get older.
    While I agree with the rest of your post penguinsix, I completely disagree with the picture you are painting above. My experience has been very different when talking about later years. Most people dont like to switch - they get into a school and stay there. The only movements are people leaving and new people coming in - for most schools this is about even or a slight demand (not 10 vs 400 you are painting).

    This I know for a fact : Right now (to start immediately) if you wish to apply for a position at ISF or HKIS or SIS for all years above 6, there are positions open (this was accurate as of 3 weeks ago). I'm fairly confident that most international schools will be similar with a few positions available.

  5. #13
    carang's Avatar
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    on the other hand, it seems that it is most difficult to find spaces for P1 admission. that if you were looking for P4 admissions you may have more of a shot with international schools than you would if you were looking for P1.

    at least that's how it used to be.

    also, there are other, not top-tier international schools that you could consider (all of which have an english stream):

    korean international school
    japanese int'l
    hong lok yuen int'l
    delia school of canada
    lantau int'l
    norwegian int'l

    but they don't necessarily have fantastic chinese programmes.

  6. #14
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    You learn something new everyday and today I learned about this school that I'd never heard of before:
    http://www.kingston.edu.hk

    A friend of a friend teaches there and has their 4 year old attending.

  7. #15
    carang's Avatar
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    i've heard of kingston kindergarten... have they got a primary school now?

  8. #16
    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    You're right that people don't like to switch, but there are still so many people coming in it can be quite difficult even at later years to get a place. Some schools' Year/Grade 1 and 2 are still well oversubscribed. It would be interesting to see what the actual numbers are. We were told for Year 1 at the Canadian school it was a wait list of 80 with about 10 openings for example.

    By the way, are you talking about above Grade (Year) 6 or above age 6 for the schools you listed?

    Tangentially, I wonder if the difficulty in primary is due to the fact many expats in the finance world come to Hong Kong at 'that point' in their life when they have younger kids, whereas when they have older kids and more established they aren't necessarily in line for an overseas transfer. Not sure if that is the case--just sort of seems that way.

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