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Dilemma - ESF or Local KG for My 2YO

  1. #1
    toygal88 is offline Registered User
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    Dilemma - ESF or Local KG for My 2YO

    I am in a bit of a dilemma in what type of kindergarten to choose for my little girl who will be btering K1 this year.

    I know there are lots of related posts on geobaby and have read alot of them but still cannot seem to make up my mind.

    My child has been offered a place in a couple of local kindergartens and ESF WKS (MOS). In fact, the deadline for deposit and to sign the contract is today so maybe I have left it a bit late to post on this forum!

    A bit of background: I am a BBC and my husband is a local HKer. Having been born and bred in the UK I find the local system to be too extreme and would prefer my kid(s) to have a play-based early education as opposed to academic-based which is what all the local KGs are about. My husband, however, believes Chinese to be important and wants our child to go to through the local system but I see his nieces and nephews who are in primary and secondary schools and feel sorry for them with the amount of homework / assessments and exams they have. A few years down the road (when our eldest is 7-8) my husband wants to move back to the UK so our kid(s) can be educated there where it is more relaxed (?)

    I see the pros and cons for both but just can't seem to make up my mind. Easy international option (esp for me who has limited reading and writing Chinese skills) or local cantonese KG?
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  2. #2
    banane76 is offline Registered User
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    We chose ESF (my 2yo starts in August too) because they seem to be more a play based learning instead of focussing on academics.

  3. #3
    toygal88 is offline Registered User
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    @banane76: I agree that and EFS is my first choice too but fluency in Chinese is becoming so important these days. It really is such a difficult decision to make!
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  4. #4
    aadu is offline Registered User
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    even i would prefer ESF....

  5. #5
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    My question is whether you would be able to support your children's learning if they were to go to a local school? In terms in homework etc..read circulars, etc. If you guys plan to leave when the kids are 7 then I would go for local..just because their Chinese foundation can be built up better at the local...if you were to stay past 7, then the choice would be harder to make...but now it wouldnt seem so hard, in my opinion,,.as long as you can support their learning like I had asked earlier on.

  6. #6
    toygal88 is offline Registered User
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    Although I speak Cantonese fluently my written and reading skills are rather limited but I think I could cope with KG-standard Chinese. Hubby doesn't get home from work til 8-ish so I suppose I could rule out any help from him.

    And it won't be hard to find a tutor if the Chinese got too difficult.
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  7. #7
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Several questions come to my mind when I made this decision:

    (1) Is Hong Kong home to you and your husband?
    For us, it was no. So we didn't really need the regimented learning of the local primary school as our child needs to go home and be educated in a more relaxed system which requires a lot more independence.
    (2) Can you afford ESF fees ten years from now?
    For us, yes. I did do the Maths.
    (3) Can you afford all the extra curricular activities costs that get tagged onto ESF fees?
    For us, yes to a certain extent. I am most definitely NOT going to afford a $20 000 a week school trip but I can afford the more local ones.
    (4) How important is Cantonese and/or Putonghua to you?
    Cantonese was not. Putonghua was. And since ESF has 'revolutionised' it's academic system, and the truth is not all schools are equal, we picked the school with the best Putonghua reputation. And, a school which we agreed with it's overall direction NOT based on past passing rates.
    (5) Do you have friends in the ESF system from 10 years ago?
    Yes, and unfortunately MOST do not recommend ESF unless we were planning on NOT making HK home. MOST would put their kids in the local system.
    (6) Do you need your child to read and write the way local Chinese parents expect their kids to be able to at 6?
    We didnt as we wanted him to learn through play.
    Good Luck! We all have different needs and expectations. If you chose ESF, be prepared to have a very creative and thinking child who cannot really read or write at P1 as that is NOT their emphasis. Their power of thought and problem solving abilities for a young child though, is/has been AMAZING! Even if we were home, I would have sent my son to a private school that encourages creativity and thought. So, for us, it was clear.
    rani likes this.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    while i dislike the "regimental" approach to kindergarten, both of my kids have flourished at a local kindergarten. i realise that the ONLY way to learn chinese is via this approach, practice makes perfect they say, so that is how they approach learning chinese.

    my son is now in primary school, chinese section, of a local primary school that also has an english section. we figured that we could always switch from chinese to english, but it would be very difficult switching the other way. again, while there are somethings i dislike about it, my son seems to enjoy it. (of course, if i put him into an ESF school now, he'd LOVE that..... because there is no homework!)

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