Transitioning from kindergarten to primary school is a big leap – not just for children but for parents, too. It’s an exciting time, but there are many changes that come with “big school” which can seem a little scary. We caught up with ALLISON BANBURY, Principal of ESF Tung Chung International Kindergarten to find out more about their Kindy transition programme, and how kids are preparing for the next step in their education.
The through-train concept
Hopping on ESFs through-train at preschool offers more than just peace of mind for parents, it also makes for an easier transition to big school for kids. According to Allison, the through-train concept in the context of ESF enables a child to join at age three and make a smooth transition between different phases of education – right through until they leave at the age of 18. “This way, it offers a seamless transition from Kindergarten to Year 1, and then from Primary to Secondary School,” she says. “In Hong Kong, this is relevant for many parents because the demand for school places has traditionally been high.” A through train school removes the stress of interviews and financial pressures of a new set of debentures at a new school.”
Making the transition
So, how exactly are the little learners at ESF Tung Chung transitioned from the fun of Kindergarten into the big wide world of Primary School? Allison says they are individually guided through a doublestrand programme
This strand ensures there is learning alignment from Kindergarten to Primary School. ESF Primary Schools operate as IB World Schools, and so too does the Tung Chung Kindergarten. This continuity of curriculum (Primary Years Program) means it’s not a stop-start between K2 and Year 1, no matter which ESF Primary School a student attends.
Social and Emotional strand
This strand focuses on emotional support as students make their transition. In 2020, ESF schools have been making this strand a more virtual experience. In past years, students would go and visit their new ESF Primary School premises, engage in classroom activity, meet teachers or have a school tour. This allows students to prepare for moving forward. Current transitioning students have been introduced to new faces and buildings via videos from school leaders.
Allison’s advice for parents of preschoolers
#1 Positive Talk
“My main advice would be to talk very positively about the change. Identify an element of Primary School that excites your child. If they’re active, talk about the playground and how much fun it will be to run around at lunch. Do they adore music? Start talking about how cool the music rooms and all the new instruments are.”
#2 Manage anxiety
“Do remember that change does bring anxiety. Understand if your child feels anxious, especially this year when student visits to schools may be restricted. Spend time together exploring the school’s website or try writing an email together asking questions about your child’s uncertainties.”
This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.