“Where can my child go to preschool?” This is one of the most difficult questions an expat faces upon relocation, whether it’s to Hong Kong or another part of the world. The importance of the issue barely needs restating: education is vital in shaping our children’s future. To give you some insights into pre-schooling in Hong Kong, we’ve spoken with parents from SPRING, EtonHouse International Pre-School and Woodland Pre-School to get their tips, advice, opinions and reflections on everything classroom-related.
Freda Amir (Singaporean) and son, Logan McKean (American-Scottish, age 3.5). In Hong Kong since April 2014.
How long has Logan attended EtonHouse?
Logan, my son attended school at EtonHouse in Singapore (2012) prior to transferring to EtonHouse in Hong Kong.
Describe your experience at EtonHouse.
We have had an extremely positive experience both in Singapore in Hong Kong. The teachers and staff have often gone out of their way to accommodate us and to help Logan feel settled in his class and in the EtonHouse community in general. Logan really enjoys being at school; he loves his teachers and has formed very close friendships with his classmates.
I like the fact the school is bilingual, and that the teachers allow the children to express themselves through inquiry.
What made you choose this school?
The minute we walked in and met everyone at EtonHouse, we knew it was the right place. Everything was appealing to us, from the aesthetically designed facilities and qualified faculty, to the diversity in the student body and the international inquiry-based teaching programme.
What does Logan like most about going to school?
He has loved spending time exploring all of the different areas within each of the schools, including the outdoor and indoor gardens. He also enjoys spending time in the library, and doing arts and crafts in the classroom.
EtonHouse International Pre-School
102, 1/F, Redhill Plaza,
3 Red Hill Road, Tai Tam
Gretchen and Andy Ann, and Audrey (2), Canadian Chinese. Returned to Hong Kong in 2001.
How long has Audrey gone to SPRING and which course is she enrolled in?
Audrey has attended SPRING Cooking since she was 18 months of age.
Describe your experience at SPRING.
Audrey likes to eat and so I naturally chose the cooking class for her. Her motor skills were a bit more advanced than her peers and she can sit well by herself without moving too much, so when she was 18 months, she was allowed to start the cooking class for ages two and up. We had Teacher Sandra and Miss Sam for the class, and both of them were very patient and filled with passion with children. Their cooking classes are no ordinary cooking classes; they teach shapes, counting, motor skills training and more.
What does your child like most about the SPRING?
She is too young to comment, however, whenever my helper brings out her apron, she shouts out “cooking class!” And when asked whether she likes cooking class, she always says “yes”.
I like to stay behind a bit after the class and feed Audrey lunch in the cosy lounge area; after that, she spends a while in the outdoor area playing on the slide before we head home.
3/F, Centre Point
181-185 Gloucester Road, Wanchai
Jeong-Youn Cho and Eungsoo Kim, and children Joshua Kim (6) and Bryan Kim (3), Korean. In Hong Kong for almost three years.
Which of your children go to Woodland?
Bryan is currently attending Woodland Pre-School Happy Valley and has just finished his first year (though he was in the playgroup for about six months prior to joining the pre-school programme). Our older son was also at Woodland for his Reception year before he started at primary school.
Describe your experience at the school.
The most important thing for us when selecting a school on arriving in Hong Kong was finding a safe and nurturing environment that our children could thrive in. We arrived excited but also a little worried about whether our then four-year-old son could adapt to school and life in Hong Kong.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the small-sized classes, amazing teachers and tight-knit community were a perfect fit for our family. Joshua made friends immediately, and I was also able to make connections quickly with the parents of other children.
We could see that the curriculum was rigorous but with an emphasis on play. Joshua learned so much in his final year at Woodland but he also had so much fun learning. It’s not surprising that we have chosen to send Bryan there too. In his first year of formal schooling, Bryan has really blossomed, learning independence, social skills, having fun, learning about numbers, cultures, planets… what a jam-packed year this has been!
How did you hear of Woodland?
We had heard about the Woodland Pre-schools when we first arrived in Hong Kong. We toured the Happy Valley school and noticed that, though the premises were quite small, the teachers had found creative ways to utilise the space, and that actually the school seemed like an intimate and cosy environment which we felt would help our son to feel safe in.
What do Joshua and Bryan like most about the school?
Joshua has amazingly fond memories of going there, and still remembers his friends from over the years. We still meet up and play and celebrate birthdays and holidays together. He also remembers the teachers and loves when he gets a chance to go back there to pick up Bryan.
Bryan says he loves all his teachers; his favourite place is the playground – especially the slides.
Every family has different priorities and needs, but if caring and loving teachers and a tight-knit community are important to you, you should most definitely consider Woodland Pre-School Happy Valley. With the small classes, both my boys have thrived in all aspects. We couldn’t be happier with the school.
Woodland Happy Valley Pre-School
2 Hawthorn Road, Happy Valley
Woodlands has 10 schools across Hong Kong
Preschool transition tips
- Visit the preschool with your child; let them get familiar with the new surroundings, the classroom, the playroom and most importantly introduce your child to the teachers
- Talk to your child about preschool, what they will do there, how much fun they will be having and who else will be there (maybe a friend or sibling is attending)
- Run your child through the daily schedule so that they are prepared for what to expect during the time spent in preschool
- Reassure your child that you will be there when school is finished to greet and spend the rest of the day with them
- Inform teachers of your child’s favourite toy, game or song to help sooth anxiety