Making the First Decision for an International Kindergarten for Your Child in Hong Kong?
Many first-time parents may be perplexed and unsure about how to choose the right preschool for their child. Making the first choice for your child’s education may not be easy, especially with almost 1,000 kindergartens in Hong Kong. Other than the programme and philosophy, cost and location, there are still various points you can consider:
- Medium of InstructionInternational kindergartens use English as their only or one of their languages. Some also offer bilingual learning. It is important for you to consider what languages you wish your child to absorb at this young age. Do you know that over 30% of international executives today speak two languages and 20% speak three languages (source: Business Languages, UK). Immersed in a second language can provide your child with an early opportunity to develop bilingual skills for life and become proficient in at least two languages when he or she grows up.
- Class sizeThe teacher:student ratio may also be important to you. The kindergarten should be happy to introduce you to teaching staff so that you can gain a sense of the level of care and professionalism. How large is the class size? This is the question you can ask so as to avoid surprises later.
- Health, hygiene and safetyIn their first school setting children can be more prone to illness as their immune system finds its strength to fend off infectious organisms. A good preschool should provide a clean and sanitary environment for all the children enrolled. Visit the school of your choice to see for yourself whether the environment is neat and sanitary and the toys and equipment that your child is going to play are sanitised and well-maintained.
- ActivitiesYou want your child to embrace kindergarten life and all the joys that come with the experience. So, seek a private tour or attendance to information sessions to find out about the style, the education philosophy, the typical routine and what to expect. Are the activities in formal teaching or play-based? Are the interests of the children at the heart of what they do or is it more teacher-led? What about growth and development of skills? Will the programme continue to stimulate the children? If your child is very active, you may have to find a school which provides enough outdoor activities for him or her to explore, or else he or she will be restricted within a classroom and may lose interest in going to school every day.All in all, points you need to consider should not be only limited to the above, so remember to think and analyse thoroughly with your child’s best interest at heart. After the research, you may also bring along your child to some schools that you have narrowed down and see how he or she reacts in the environment and predict whether he or she will enjoy spending time there.