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ESF & other IS: Crossing Over Problems for the F/W born

  1. #1
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    ESF & other IS: Crossing Over Problems for the F/W born

    I'm applying to many kindergartens for my November 2010 born right now, but for some I cannot apply yet since they only accept kids born before Aug 31 (their birth age goes according to the school year).


    Personally either case fine with me - i.e.:

    System A) Schools that accept Jan 1 t0 Dec 31 (according to the year of birth)
    - my son will be one of the youngest in the class
    Examples: All ESF, CDNIS, DBIS, CAIS

    System B) Schools that accept Sept 1 to Aug 31 of the following year
    - my son will be an older child in the class, but being 'a year behind'
    Examples: AISHK, ICS, CIS, HKIS, GSIS and many good kindies in HK


    The debate of whether sending the kid a year ahead or a year behind can go on and on forever, but what i'm concerned about is the possibility of transferring him from one school to another in the future. Say i end up in a System B school, then by the time i should apply for a System A school, say ESF year 1, he would still be in equivalent to K1 instead of K2 in a System B school (or in Year 5 when he want to go to an ESF Year 7 high school).

    What is your take on this? Given if I have more then one offer (fingers crossed), should I choose a System A school just for the sake of future options, or a System B school that i really like, but give up the opportunity for him to choose another school in the future?
    Last edited by Jomama; 11-26-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  2. #2
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    One of the things is, you WON'T get an offer for both system A and system B at the same time - so you kind of HAVE to decide before applying. For kindy, it probably doesn't make a big difference, but for primary it does. If you transfer between systems, you probably will go from the same grade to the same grade. One exception may be AISHK (which from memory is actually April-March birthdays rather than August-July) because they are not completely "lined up" since the school year is Feb-Dec instead of Sept-June. Because of this, you'll either have to go up half a grade or down half a grade, and would probably do whichever suits your child best. What I probably would do is to consider the system in your home country (if you plan to move back) and do something that lines up better with the system used there. Or if your child is mature/smart/large for his age, it's probably ok to be the youngest. For children who are immature/a bit less "academic"/small, they will likely be the ones who struggle more with being the youngest.

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    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    My husband is from Australia and I'm from Canada, but we'd probably go back to Sydney when kiddo's around high school age (but we'd never know what our careers will be like 5, 10, 15 years down the line, right?). Yes if we're in System A we'll go down half a year and in System B we'll go up half a year, but 1/2 a year is probably nothing to worry about. If AISHK accept us for Jan 2015 (equivalent to K2), we'd be delighted.

    My son is pretty mature, for a boy, so i am planning to start him off in K1 next year and see if he can catch on well, but if a school which we prefer better accepts him in 2014 (going down a year from system A to system B), we wouldn't mind that. Again, being the youngest or the oldest is not the topic of concern here (although i do prefer that he's older, but then it's too early to judge right now).

    The problem is, if we DO decide on putting him back a year, then we lose the entire ESF network of schools, since they always go by the child's birth year. I've called them about this issue and they did confirm that it will become a problem, although they might review it case by case given it is not a standard Year 1 entrance application. This seem like a great lost (along with CDNIS and CAIS etc). So, the question is, is it worth losing the option of going to ESF?

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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    My opinion is it's never worth losing an option, particularly in today's climate of schools in HK! I would apply for ESF at the very least. And I would even put him into P1 for a year and if you decide to go with one of the other schools, he could do P1 again (if they are strict on the cut off dates). He'd probably learn more from a year at P1 in ESF than if he were in K3 (or K2) somewhere else...

    My mum was a 1st grade teacher 30+ years ago (retired when I was born) and she said it was very common then to repeat some of the younger kids who weren't really "mature enough" to cope with schooling. My birthday was in May, and in Australia it's quite flexible - if kids are born between about March-June, the parents can choose whether to start them early or whether to hold them back a year. My mum chose to start me later so I could be one of the oldest in the class, mainly based on her observations from teaching.

    I wish HK was not so strict on the cut off dates, but it is. Some kids probably could really benefit from starting a bit later (or earlier).

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    penguinsix is offline Registered User
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    This situation is dealt with frequently on some of the UK expat message boards who are moving to the US (and vice versa). Generally, at the younger primary school ages, many teachers follow the 'age in years' rather than the 'years in school' situation. A 7-year-old is placed with other 7-year-olds, not placed in a class that has all had say 3 years of formal school regardless of age.

    This was a very interesting thread involving a child who the parents tried to 'up a grade' given the fact they felt he had been in school an extra year vs. his peers in the US. That made him the youngest in the class, and it ended up that the school and parents agreed at mid-term to send the kid back to an age appropriate age.

    http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=643985

    This is the US expats in the UK talking about schools (situations of being put ahead a school 'year' to stay with children of the birth 'year')

    http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=8.0

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    Sarah_Lotus is offline Registered User
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    Although ESF say that the children must go into the correct year for the child's age I have found them to be a little more flexible. Both my younger children were/are in West Island School and both the eldest in the class because they are in the wrong year. But being in the wrong year has greatly helped them cope with school. One is a November baby but the other an August baby. When ESF say that each child is looked at as an individual case I would believe them.

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    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Nicolejoy, I would agree with your mom on this issue ('cuz there are studies that prove older kids do better in general), and that's why i'd prefer to start him off later, especially since he's a boy and maturity wise they can lag behind girls up to 2 years. Unfortunately if I do so I'd lose half the schooling options. If he gets into a good thorough school I guess I wouldn't mind, but until then I guess I should put him one year early just to be safe. I just hope he will not lose confidence, because I heard that's what happen to certain kids who cannot keep up. Also, my catchment area for ESF Kindie is Tsing Yi, and honestly i prefer some other preschools; I don't want him to go to a Kindie simply for a higher chance of getting an primary school interview.

    The HK local system actually allow parents to choose for kids born between Sept-Nov, but personally I find it strange to have someone possibly 15 months older or younger then another fellow student in the same class. I have friends who were the youngest batch in the class, but they all have diff opinions, some preferred it, some hated it, so I guess it all depends on the person. How about being one of the oldest? When you were in school, how did you feel? Did you have classmates much younger than you and what did you think about that?
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    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Thank you penguinsix I'll look into the link you provided and we can discuss that thereafter.

    Sarah_Lotus I'm so glad to hear that! I guess that's why the ESF staff on the phone was a bit ambiguous when I explained my situation. May I ask which years did your kids started at West Island, and where were they before that?

    I think ESF is doing a great job at the DP level, but the PYP program itself is a bit vague (not ESF's fault) and often it depends if you have a good teacher or not. I therefore prefer to put my son elsewhere for his primary years. I just don't want to lose the opportunity to switch over later on.
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