After savouring the first few years of your (not so) little one, it's that time in their life where you have to send them to preschool or kindergarten. Every parent in Hong Kong wants the best education for their kid, so we've done all the research for you.
Slide through our slideshow of our top preschools and kindergarten picks in Hong Kong.
Canadian International School
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The Pre-Reception and Reception half-day programmes, along with the Preparatory curriculum, are designed to provide the younger student with an age-appropriate introduction to school life.
Language options: English is the primary medium of instruction; Pre-Reception and Reception students enjoy four 25-minute Putonghua classes each week; Preparatory students participate in 40-minute classes seven times per week.
Campus and facilities: The 440,000sqft CDNIS campus occupies 14 levels and features state-of-the-art facilities including a large playground area on the ninth floor, which was developed with the vision to create an environmentally friendly, dynamic, functional, inviting and effective play area for younger children to learn through interaction.
Competitive advantage: Recognised as an IB World School, CDNIS offers a “through-train” education for Pre-Reception all the way through to Grade 12 graduation. CDNIS is one of only five schools in Hong Kong to offer three IB programmes.
Canadian International School, 36 Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen, cdnis.edu.hk
Chinese International School
Curriculum: Reception is Chinese International School’s entry year, half-day programme. Students normally move to Year 1 after finishing the programme.
Language options: Both English and Putonghua are used as the medium of instruction.
Campus and facilities: CIS is located on the top of Braemar Hill, a quiet residential area noted for its many schools. The school derives much of its sense of community from its single campus, focused around three central courtyards. Opened in 1991, the campus is undergoing significant redevelopment that will be completed later this year.
Competitive advantage: CIS seeks to admit a balanced cohort of students for a diverse student mix. A through-school to primary and secondary levels, children are educated to be well-rounded, having reached age-appropriate milestones cognitively, linguistically, physically, socially and emotionally, while demonstrating independence, initiative and the ability to concentrate in a formal setting.
Chinese International School, 1 Hau Yuen Path, Braemar Hill, cis.edu.hk
English Schools Foundation
Curriculum: An International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme curriculum planned around units of enquiry and structured upon principles of good early-years education. Early literacy and numeracy are integral to the programme. Putonghua is the specialist language and is integrated into the programme.
Language options: An English-language education for children, who are introduced to the culture and language of China.
Campus and facilities: ESF has five kindergartens: Abacus, Hillside, Tsing Yi, Wu Kai Sha and Tung Chung. All classrooms are well equipped with age-appropriate education and technology resources. The exciting indoor and outdoor play areas promote the development of children’s gross motor skills while challenging children to develop and stretch themselves.
Competitive advantage: ESF educates children from diverse backgrounds, making for truly international settings at its schools. The highly interactive learning environment and play-based curriculum encourages children to learn through hands-on experience and enquiry.
English Schools Foundation, Five locations around Hong Kong, esfkindergartens.org.hk
Harrow International School
Curriculum: Follows the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum that builds strong foundations for independent learning skills in seven key areas: personal and social development, physical development, communication and language, literacy, mathematics, understanding the world, and expressive arts and design.
Language options: English is the inclusive language of the classroom and playground for all students, irrespective of their mother languages.
Campus and facilities: On the 400,000sqft campus, the K1 and K2 classes are housed in spacious classrooms, which are situated in a modern, purpose-built Early Years Centre that’s specifically designed for younger children, with an outside terrace and an adventure playground. In addition, there’s a dedicated music room and a large multipurpose area for activities such as productions, indoor sports and assemblies.
Competitive advantage: At the heart of a Harrow Hong Kong education is the commitment to high levels of pastoral care for each child by highly motivated staff. Above all, a love of learning is promoted to ensure personal growth and development. Each class is led by a well-qualified teacher and supported by a teaching assistant. This excellent staff-to-pupil ratio ensures that children receive a high level of individual attention.
38 Tsing Ying Road, Tuen Mun, harrowschool.hk
The International Montessori School of Hong Kong
Curriculum: The year-long Foundation Programme at IMS is in preparation for the Casa dei Bambini classroom the following year.
Language options: Providing a high-quality, dual-language (English/Putonghua) programme is one of the core values at IMS. The classroom has two teachers: an English-language speaker and a Putonghua speaker.
Campus and facilities: Aldrich Bay is the newest campus; it hosts three Casa classrooms and a Foundation Group in Sai Wan Ho. The cosy Mid-Levels campus is where the youngest Foundation and Casa children enjoy their first years in the school. The South Horizons campus is surrounded by trees, an outdoor park and a promenade along the sea in Ap Lei Chau.
Competitive advantage: Three-year-olds typically attend the half-day programme, and those aged 4 to 5 attend a special full-day programme designed for children who are discovering reading and writing as they prepare for the challenges of later years. The teacher intently follows each child, presenting carefully designed lessons and materials on a one-to-one basis to stimulate each child to fulfil his or her own potential.
Foundation Year schools in Mid-Levels, Sai Wan Ho and Ap Lei Chau, ims.edu.hk
Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School International Section
Ages: 2-6 years
Curriculum: KCIS follows the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum guidance framework for the Kindergarten and Reception Year groups, which together form the Foundation classes.
Language options: English, with Putonghua taught daily.
Campus and facilities: KCIS features bright and sunny classrooms where children can explore, experiment and create. Weekly school library visits take place for all children, and parents are guided to encourage early book handling and emergent reading skills through book sharing at home. The school hall is available for physical activity and Reception classes have weekly lessons with the music teacher.
Competitive advantage: Classrooms are hives of activity; play-based and explorative activities provide an environment rich with opportunities for creativity and hands-on learning. Teachers deliver knowledge, skills and understanding across seven areas: communication and language; physical development; personal, social and emotional development; literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; and expressive arts and design. Kindergarten and Reception classes have three field trips a year—families are encouraged to participate.
30 Ching Wah Street, North Point, kcis.edu.hk
Parkview International Pre-School
Curriculum: Enquiry-based International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. In June 2016, PIPS became an authorised IB World School.
Language options: Classes are bilingual or in English. Working together in a co-teaching partnership, an English-language teacher and a Putonghua teacher lead the bilingual classes. The English classes are taught by two English teachers and supplemented by a Putonghua specialist.
Campus and facilities: There are 10 classrooms and separate shared common areas that include an audio-visual area, a library, a pet corner, an art and drama area, a music room, a cookery room, an exploratorium, a playground with a sandpit and a riding area, a garden, a covered play area and a physical education area. All of these have been structured to cater for children’s developmental needs, to facilitate their skill development and to foster their sense of exploration across multiple disciplines.
Competitive advantage: PIPS has small class sizes and high teacher-to-student ratios, and lots of outdoor space with large play areas and a garden. PIPS has always been an international school with a diverse population of children and teachers from all over the world, and this diversity has further enhanced its programme.
Tower 18, Parkview, 88 Tai Tam Reservoir Road, Repulse Bay, pips.edu.hk
Tutor Time International Nursery & Kindergarten
Ages: 6 months-6 years
Curriculum: Full-immersion bilingual English and Putonghua, using proprietary curricula: StartSmart and LifeSmart (kindergarten) and Learn from the Start (nursery). Emphasis is on early literacy and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) subjects, as well as music and character development.
Language options: Bilingual—English and Putonghua.
Campus and facilities: Locations range from 8,000sqft to 20,000sqft, with spacious indoor and/or outdoor playgrounds containing specially designed age-appropriate equipment, gyms and soft playrooms, indoor forests with real plants, quaint Tutor Time Villages, and an “atelier” that serves as a space to develop short- and long-term projects with the purpose of expressing the “hundred languages” of children.
Competitive advantage: The first international preschool from the US to successfully implement a full-immersion bilingual English-Putonghua programme in Hong Kong, Tutor Time offers a whole-child curriculum in a caring and stimulating environment for students from the ages of 6 months to 6 years. Students graduate to distinguished international and local primary schools.
Six locations around Hong Kong, tutortime.com.hk
Victoria Educational Organisation
Ages: 8 months-6 years
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme; Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP)
Language options: Trilingual (English/Putonghua/Cantonese) or bilingual (English/Putonghua).
Campus and facilities: Victoria Educational Organisation (VEO) features large classrooms, libraries, outdoor and indoor play areas, and multipurpose halls.
Competitive advantage: Through VEO's effective one-teacher-one-language co-teaching approach, native-speaker teachers work as a team to provide a total immersion language environment. It works with Columbia University in implementing the TCRWP, which places a focus on enhancing the skills and outcomes of students in early literacy. VEO is accredited by the IB and several of its campuses are IB Authorised. VEO students are given priority in admission to the affiliated Victoria Shanghai Academy.
Nine locations around Hong Kong, victoria.edu.hk
Ages: 6 months-6 years
Curriculum: Seven of the group’s preschools use traditional teaching methods in line with the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage. The two other schools use Montessori teaching methods that are fully approved and accredited by the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board.
Language options: English, pure Putonghua and bilingual classes.
Campus and facilities: It varies per campus; there are nine campuses in convenient locations across Hong Kong.
Competitive advantage: Woodland has the only group of fully Montessori-accredited preschools in the Greater China region. With 39 years of constant improvement, it has a proven track record for primary school admission and an international team of teachers who are all qualified Early Years educators.
Nine campuses around Hong Kong, woodlandschools.com
Yew Chung International School Early Childhood Education
Ages: 6 months-5 years
Curriculum: Each YCIS ECE class has an experienced Early Years team comprising at least one English-language and one Chinese-language teacher, who support the child-led, play-based learning of individual children. YCIS creates a stimulating, child-centred learning environment in a bilingual, multicultural setting.
Language options: English and Chinese with a bilingual focus.
Campus and facilities: YCIS features music rooms, libraries, an exercise room and outdoor playgrounds.
Competitive advantage: The YCIS kindergarten programme was established more than eight decades ago in Hong Kong, which initiated many practices. Through worldwide education research, the highly experienced teaching staff deliver programmes that are progressive, up-to-date and well balanced for children seeking admission into top primary schools.
3 Somerset Road, Kowloon Tong, ycis-hk.com
More from the Schools Guide 2017:
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- Hong Kong's Best Summer Programmes For Kids
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