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  • 1 Post By nltempany
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One strategic step closer to HKIS, CIS, AISHK, CDNIS & ICS

  1. #1
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    One strategic step closer to HKIS, CIS, AISHK, CDNIS & ICS

    I'm planning to apply the above schools for my currently 2 years old son who will be attending K1 equivalent this coming August. He has several options, but mainly i'm struggling between:

    1. The Montessori system [DMS Discovery Bay]
    2. The ESF system [ESF Tsing Yi]

    I wonder which school can better prepare him for the reception application / interview (both in terms of the schools' reputation and the actually learning)? Any suggestion is deeply appreciated. Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by Jomama; 02-23-2013 at 03:31 AM.

  2. #2
    nltempany is offline Registered User
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    There is a Facebook group called HK Schools. The person to ask is Ruth Benny.
    Jomama likes this.

  3. #3
    Editor is offline Administrator
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    A reply from Anne Murphy an Education Consultant at ITS


    These are completely different types of schools which offer two completely different programs. I have outlined my view below on both schools; hopefully it will help you make your choice.

    If your top choices are ISF, CIS and CDNIS, personally I would suggest Discovery Montessori School (DMS). The school offers a bi-lingual (English & Mandarin) immersion curriculum which would prepare your child well for bilingual schools such as ISF and CIS – and by all accounts the children speak both.

    The Montessori programme is not suitable for all children but if you think your child would benefit from a programme which would give him independence, self-discipline and order then Montessori is a good option. I have a lot of experience with Montessori children– and one characteristic I have witnessed is that they are extremely proud of their work and take learning quite seriously. It is common for them to respond. “This is my work”. Montessori children are very determined to finish an activity they are completing and they do not like being interrupted. You can spot a Montessori child straight off the bat in a traditional classroom because when they are asked to drop what they are doing and join a group, they say: “I want to finish this”. “Please let me finish this first”. We witness this quite often during our interview preparation classes. So the exposure to Montessori may go against your child in the interview…..only maybe.

    During the interview, teachers’ check on a child’s attentiveness and discipline in following instructions and participating in a group. My advice would be to work on this at home with your child or closer to his interview make sure he participates in an activity that is traditional-style teaching.

    DMS has a very good reputation amongst both local and expat families living on Lantau. I was very impressed with the organisation and layout of the school and the passionate teachers. And it is located in a safe and quiet area.

    To finish on the above, it is important to know about the transition to Primary. When a Montessori child starts Primary school, he/she often asks their new teacher. “But why do I have to ask each time I need to use the toilet?”, or “Why do I have to stop my work right now?” The important thing to remember is that children are different. Whatever you might’ve heard or may hear ….there is nothing inherent in Montessori that causes children to have a hard time when they progress on to primary school. Some may say they are bored! Others may not understand why everyone in the class has to do the same thing at the same time! But overall children always adapt to their new setting quickly.

    Now on to ESF Ting Yi…..this as I said is completely different to DMS. The curriculum is play-based and you will definitely not experience order in the classroom. ESF no longer provides interview opportunities and to be honest not many children leaving ESF Ting Yi attend ISF, HKIS, CDNIS or CIS. There's actually a lot of time spent on learning (through play). Other areas, I think are important to outline are that if your child is a native English speaker, be prepared for him to come home speaking in broken sentences and dropping certain grammar structures – and don’t expect your child to be very knowledgeable in numbers, letters and phonics; it is not a school that focuses on academics. The Mandarin program is not very strong so your child would find ISF very difficult due to the lack of exposure at pre-school years.

    I also think you should read this post on Geo Schools: http://hongkong.geoschools.com/forum/15/thread4126.html
    miran and Jomama like this.

  4. #4
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Thank you Editor and Anne for taking the time to analyze and answer my question.
    Please accept my heartfelt appreciation!

    I have been following the 'ESF-TY terrible' thread for some time as well, and if it is not because the 2013-14 K1 class being the last batch to have ESF P1 priority, I probably would not consider this school. Beside the actual learning, my concern is also the impression of Montessori vs. ESF in the eyes of the interviewers. Would the interviewing schools consider which systems the kids come from, and would ESF have advantage over Montessori reputation wise?

    "The Montessori programme is not suitable for all children." This is what i often heard and has been questioning myself if my son really fits Montessori (he has been in their playgroup since he was 12 months old). He's definitely independent (which i love and encouraged) but definitely is not self-disciplined, to my dismay (although i tried my best to train him at home as well). The problem is he can never finish an activity and is easily interrupted, and refuses to put the work back, often taking two or three pieces of work out, which is against the rule. At this point, he definitely does not look like a Montessori child. I know i should not compare, but many kids his age or even younger are doing better, so i am not sure if he can benefit from a Montessori education.

    From my observation, his character actually fits ESF more: curious, creative and with lots of energy. I'm not afraid of him being bullied; i'm more worried that he will learn from the older boys and bully others in the long run. Even without trying ESF, I can sense that he'd love ESF over Montessori. But then, he loves ice-cream over bread... In your opinion (Editor or Anne's), should we place a child in an element closer to their temperament to suit them, or one that is a bit different to train them / balance them out?

    Many thanks in advance for your insights! Other parents please feel free to comment as well.

  5. #5
    evelyne is offline Registered User
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    I'm curious, why have you narrowed it down to these two kindergartens? Given you son's character I would consider DMK for example either in DB or in TC. More like ESF but a bit more focused on academics if that is what you need.

  6. #6
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    My son was in DMK (TC) for a while when he was about 15 months old. At that time I was trying DMK and DMS (in DB) back to back. I found that he was learning more at DMS, and his character was not as strong as now. At that time DMK did not have primary, so between two equally good kindies i chose DMS. Now it's impossible to get back into DMK due to the long waiting list. Anyhow DMK primary is not my target primary school, and i still think he has a better chance at finding a good IS if he stays with DMS (i hope)...

    ESF on the other hand, has very good primary & secondary options. The kindie at Tsing Yi did not impress me, but given he still has P1 interview priority (as the final batch of students this year), it still opens opportunities to KJS, DC, RC etc (and later to KJV for high school)...

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