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Is internation kindergarten really necessary?

  1. #1
    maxmom0901 is offline Registered User
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    Is internation kindergarten really necessary?

    Hi,
    We are moving to HK in Jan and are looking for school for my almost 4 years old son (4 in February). I am tempted to put him in local Kindergarnten and international primary school later. Will that be a problem to get into HKIS or ESF primary school if he only goes to local kindergarten now? He can only speak English now. Thanks

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    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    What is your goal? Is it to have your little one learn a new language or is it to avoid the high fees charged by IKs?
    Will you be in Hong Kong for a short period of time or are you looking to stay a good while (4+ years)
    There are plenty of children that go from local K's into international schools - its much harder to go in the opposite direction.

    There are a number of parents on this board who have taken the local route (we chose local private schools) who are very happy with their choices.

    Please let us know what you are trying to accomplish for your child and we can suggest possible paths to get there.

  3. #3
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    both of my kids went to a local kindergarten (we have also now chosen a local primary school for our son, who is enjoying it quite a lot ...but there is a lot of homework).

    at the kindergarten, there are lots of western kids, indian kids, filipino kids, black (not sure if they are from uk, usa or africa)

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    maxmom0901 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the reassurance. We are moving from US and I am Chinese. I would like my son to learn some Cantonese. My husband is American and he thinks it is ok to put our son in local school to learn some Chinese and he is not worry about his English at all. My family on the other hand think my son should keep up with the English. We are not sure how long will we stay due to the high cost in education. It is really amazing to see how many international school around and how much they cost and still have a long waiting list. I am only afraid my son couldn't get used to it since he only speaks English right now. With the change that he is going to face maybe international school will make him feel more at ease?

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    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    I have 3 children; myself and my wife are both western and do not speak any Chinese at all.

    We decided to put our kids thru Cantonese kindergarten and Mandarin primary school. All 3 are now trilingual. Our kids are not gifted but just normal regular kids. If they can do it, there is no reason why any child could not do the same.

    Education in Hong Kong ranges from free to extremely expensive - the choice is yours.

    If your son is a normal (no learning difficulties) child, there is absolutely no reason why he could not get used to Chinese based education, if thats what you want for him.

    I have a number of friends who look Chinese but cannot speak/read/write any of the language. I feel sad and sorry for them as they struggle far more than I do with my western look as people expect them to know the language.
    The same thing for your son, think of how he will feel growing up and not being able to speak Chinese at all. You can give him the chance and educate him with the best of all worlds with multi-lingual education which is much easier to do here than back in USA.

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    kit930 is offline Registered User
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    howardcoombs, did you find local schools to be exceeding rigorous/rigid/competitive? this is our main concerns with sending our daughter to a local primary. not sure if you know the answer to this, but would international schools such as gsis/fis/hkis be able to teach her adequate mandarin?

  7. #7
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    "local schools" can mean many different things and many different flavours. You will need to be more specific.

    There are some schools which are relaxed and there are some that are intense. Its the same with International schools as well. There is a world of difference between GSIS vs Kellett or SIS vs CDNIS in terms of academics and competitiveness.
    We sent our kids to Lingnan kindergarten to learn Cantonese. A loving and relaxed environment. Even with that, there was a lot of homework because you cannot get away from learning characters and characters require repetition.

    For primary we sent them to KCS - a very competitive and rigid environment with Mandarin immersion. It was hard but they adapted and got thru it. There is no reason why any normal kid could not do the same.

    As for "adequate", it depends on how you define it. Our goal was to have our kids fluent (read, write, speak) with natural and proper accent. We have achieved that and no, I dont believe that is possible at GSIS, FIS, HKIS. If you choose those schools, you will need a lot of extra tuition to get to the level we wanted for our kids.
    carang and inkmink like this.

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    maxmom0901 is offline Registered User
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    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.

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