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Advice on best schools for african american toddler from the US (2.5 years) - Please

  1. #1
    links5647 is offline Registered User
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    Advice on best schools for african american toddler from the US (2.5 years) - Please

    Hi
    I am an african american woman moving to Hong Kong with my family in November 2012. I wanted to know if there are full day daycare/preschools available for a 2.5 year old that is also diverse. I have not selected a neighborhood to live and would like to first secure a spot in a really great school before deciding on where to live. Thanks!

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    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    there are not many daycares in hk as most people have live in help.

    my daughter's best friend at school is Nigerian. Her other close friends are british, hk chinese and mixed (as is my girl).

    however, the school is still mostly chinese. that is what happens when you move somewhere that is 95% ethnically chinese. you are not going to get the same kind of diversity as you get in most places in canada/usa.

    there are lots of great schools.... but what makes a school great for one family doesn't necessarily make it great for another family.

    you need to decide what kind of school environment you want (besides "diverse") when applying. also, you need to know that school places at primary school (for international schools) are extremely hard to come by.

    we have chosen to educate our kids in the local system. it is much cheaper for us, but more importantly, we really want our kids to be bilingual & bi-literate. the only way to do this is to go local. even if my kids weren't 1/2 chinese, i would likely still have chosen this route as it is so much easier for kids to learn a new language when they are young. so, that was really important for us. others really insist on learn through play, or montessori or waldorf or..... you get the picture. so you need to really think about what you want, then you should come and look around at the various schools so you can compare yourself.

  3. #3
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Hi there, links,

    First, hope your move to HK goes smoothly. Honestly, there aren't really any "daycare" places in HK. Your best option is to hire a live-in domestic helper. It seems weird for an American to do this but it's quite normal here. I'm also from the States and we employ a domestic helper to care for our two children while we're away at work.

    Second, if you don't know which area in Hong Kong you're going to live it's really hard to provide any useful suggestions for school. Most people send their children to school in a nearby neighborhood if they live in HK. Children can start full-day nursery school here at 2-years-old and they generally start kindergarten when they're 3-years-old. Neither are compulsory. We sent our son (now almost 5-years-old) to nursery school at 2 and kindergarten when he wasn't quite 3-years-old.

    As far as "diversity." Hong Kong is a really diverse place but as carang pointed out, it still is 95% Chinese. Some schools are more diverse than others but in most local schools your child is still going to be a minority--as are all non-Chinese children in the local system.

    I teach at a really rural, small primary school and we still are pretty diverse. Most of the students are Chinese, however "Chinese" can mean a lot of things--we have students who are local Hong Kong Chinese and have grown up with the local culture here and speaking Cantonese as their first language. We also have students who have immigrated or are bussed in from Mainland China who have a very different culture from that of Hong Kong and speak Putonghua (Mandarin) as their first language and they are actually learning Cantonese and English as their second languages! Then we have overseas Chinese students. These students were born in the UK, Australia or North American and may have spent a big portion o their lives living there. They may or may not speak Cantonese or Mandarin as a second language at home but usually their first language is English and they usually do not write Chinese very well--they feel more "Western" compared with their local or Mainland classmates. Then we have a high percentage of South East Asian students from countries such as Pakistan, India and Nepal. We also have students from Indonesia and the Philippines and then we have a few students who are from Africa (often Nigeria) but have immigrated to Hong Kong via various routes--sometimes having lived all over the world. One family of children from Africa had already lived in America, France and Mainland China before they came to our school last year. They moved around a lot due to their parents' international businesses. Then there are children like mine and carang's who are mixed. Their are many children living in my neighborhood who have African fathers and Indonesian, Chinese or Philippina mothers. There are quite a few children with British, American, Australian, German or Canadian mothers/fathers and Chinese mothers/fathers. It's really a melting pot here.

    If your worry is that your child won't be accepted due to his skin color and culture, I'd say HK tends to be a fairly accepting place. Not saying that there aren't mean kids out there or racist or discriminatory practices but I'd say that as far as I can see the various different children who attend my school are accepted and loved--it just depends on the culture of the school--the culture at my school is very pro-diversity.
    carang likes this.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

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    marie313 is offline Registered User
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    i teach at an international kindergarten and last year had 18 children from 14 different countries! I'm sure a lot of international kindergartens are just as diverse, however, local kindergartens will be predominantly 'local'!

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    kacoak is offline Registered User
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    From the many schools we visited, one which rang out in their commitment to diversity is Hong Kong Academy. Lovely school, you may want to check it out. They're moving (or have just moved, in fact) to Saikung, which is where we're going, so we're excited to have them in the neighborhood.

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    They have not moved yet. The school is just being built. Dont move until 2013.

    Sent from my GT-I8150 using GeoClicks Mobile
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    Luzz's Avatar
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    Tutor Time could be a good choice too. My girl's class is also quite diverse. Even the local chinese kids are likely to be from more international minded families, in a way, they are also more acceptance for diversity.
    Tutor Time is from the US as you may know. It has a few campuses in HK providing high quality happy early education.
    The medium of instruction is half session with English, and the other half with Mandarin. US Curriculum.

  8. #8
    Honkyblues is offline Registered User
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    Cetainly, most international kindergartens are diverse, but the diversity is usually a melting pot of Caucasian kids, Asian kids and mixed race. If you are looking specifically for other African Americans, then they are few and far between in Hong Kong. There were perhaps two in my sons' kindergarten (PIPS) and there are a handful in their primary school (HKIS - which is effectively the American school).

    Local Hongkongers can be a little racist about dark skin (dark skinned Asians as well as Africans/ African-American). However, the more internationally minded Chinese and the younger generation are more accepting.

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