PARENTAL REVIEW

Choosing a School in Hong Kong

Whether you’ve been in Hong Kong for some time and your children have just reached school age, or you’ve just arrived, finding the right school will be one of your major priorities. To help you make an informed decision, we asked some of our clients to give their advice and point of view about choosing a school.

For more information on ITS Educational Services please call 852 2116 3916 or email us at: [email protected].

bond
We loved the dynamic teaching approach, the close knit community and diverse student body.

DISCOVERY COLLEGE (DC)
Annie & Ray Bond

We have lived in Discovery Bay since we moved from the UK in 2007. My husband is British and I am Chinese. When we started learning more about schools after our son was born, we both agreed that he should not travel too far primary. We feel a long commute would interfere with extra-curricular interests and his time at home with his family.  We visited a few schools on Discovery Bay and Hong Kong Island. But, after visiting DC – our choice was simple - the students were happy and confident and that was exactly what we wanted for our own children. We always said we would make sure our son attended a school with a multicultural learning community that values and fosters his inquisitive spirit. A school where a child is nurtured and teachers give the children respect.

When we had to make plans for primary school, we decided that Discovery College was the best choice. We loved the dynamic teaching approach, the close knit community and diverse student body – but most of all the carefully planned, stimulating environment in which children developed a solid foundation through an inquiry-based learning environment. At the time, we believed that the academic programme at DC helped children to develop a positive attitude towards school. And still today, we believe this. Our daughter started at the school in August, 2014 - and our son is now attending Year 3. We are happy with the choice we made, and our son loves school. He has made some wonderful friends. He is flourishing academically and loves his swimming classes and his PE, as well as the inline skating after-school program. He said he will forever remember the adventure he had at an over-night camp in Year 2. We are thrilled he has such found thoughts and memories at such a young age.

I must admit when our son started at DC, we were not familiar with the IB programme. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to follow the curriculum and would not be able to comprehend the teaching approach or learning process. It turns out; we worried a bit too much.  The school offers reading workshops for parents and constantly updates us on the learning themes and goals. Our son is happy, relaxed and enjoying school. He is not stressed or feeling pushed but looks forward to learning and attending school each day. What more could a parent possibly ask for? 

www.discovery.edu.hk

griffiths

Children receive a true international education, delivered by experienced and passionate teachers, who will always make the time to talk to parents.

 

INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE HONG KONG, HONG LOK YUEN

Claire Griffiths

When we visited ICHK Hong Lok Yuen, we knew straight away that this was the school for our children. The teachers we met were so warm and welcoming, and all of them, even the Principal, seemed to knew every child by name.

We had already looked at a number of other schools in Hong Kong, but this one felt different from the moment we walked through the gates.
Our welcome tour was impressive, informative and above all, our children were put completely at ease. That was three years ago, over these years, our daughter and son have blossomed at the school. Their confidence has soared and they have a real love for learning.

The teachers are nurturing and do a great job in easing students (and parents) into a new and unfamiliar environment. There is a very strong focus on pastoral care and all the staff, including the small administration team, helps each child to discover their spark.

Children receive a true international education, delivered by experienced and passionate teachers, who will always make the time to talk to parents.
The curriculum is strong and challenging – and the teaching staff, genuinely bring it alive – making learning so much more inspirational and memorable than my own experiences.

But children benefit from so much in addition to academic learning. A large range of extra-curricular activities, along with school trips, exhibitions, sporting competitions, cultural celebrations and so much more, is broadening and enriching their education. At a young age, our children can happily converse with adults; express themselves through music; chatter in Mandarin and have a sound understanding of the cultures, values and perspectives of different people.

They already have a better knowledge of sporting rules than I do, thanks to a strong emphasis on sport and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Being educated to have a ‘growth mindset’ is helping them to become great thinkers, and they embrace new challenges with enthusiasm. It is this approach that we love and its importance for their lives ahead cannot be underestimated.

There is a very strong community ethos at the school and parents are very quickly welcomed and kept informed through excellent communication channels. Regular events for students and parents alike means that everyone gets to know each other, and close connections are formed – a real lifeline when living overseas.

We love the school’s location and natural environment, the large playing field, a garden where children grow their own fruit and vegetables, and extensive open space, which is so rare in Hong Kong. It is a real delight to see children playing outside in the fresh air, and enjoying the green surroundings.

Our children are excited to go to school every day and have friends from all corners of the world. We are delighted that they are experiencing life at ICHK Hong Lok Yuen.

www.ichk.edu.hk

ths

A significant factor in making the decision to send our children to THS was the smaller class size and student to teacher ratio

 

THE HARBOUR SCHOOL (THS)
Fiona Elliot

We have lived in Hong Kong now for 8 years and have 3 sons aged 11, 9 and 5. 
Our elder two sons commenced at THS in January 2014 having both come from a large international school in Hong Kong and since the transition we have seen them flourish.  Moving from a large class, programme based system to the more nurturing and supportive environment of THS has resulted in a noticeable improvement in their academic work and has allowed them to establish supportive friendships.

The Harbour School has a very progressive curriculum and the boys have responded very well to the core subjects (maths, reading, writing) being taught in a more structured manner while being able to enjoy the scope and flexibility of the ‘units of enquiry’ approach to science and social studies.

A significant factor in making the decision to send our children to THS was the smaller class size and student to teacher ratio.  Having a head teacher and co-teacher in each class, combined with a maximum class size of 14 kids, allows a lot of scope and flexibility in delivering the curriculum. The teachers and students both get to know each other well, and with less students in the class the teachers have the time to provide a more tailored approach to learning.  Additionally, it provides a learning environment where students’ strengths can be reinforced and their weaknesses addressed.  

An example of this was when our middle son was having trouble being able to focus on his maths unless it was very quiet.  He was allowed to do his maths work outside in the common area while still having a teacher free to check on him and his progress during the lesson. 

The teachers are also able to take time with individual students, when necessary, for both academic and emotional support.  All our children have thrived under this lower class number scheme. We have been impressed with THS’s ability and desire to accommodate student initiative.  Our eldest son had the idea of a grade newsletter in his second week at the school.  Instead of being told that it would not be possible THS saw the learning and character building opportunity and not only allowed him to run with the idea, but also provided a teacher as ‘editor in chief’ to support him.  Being in an environment where his ideas are not only heard, but supported, has re-ignited his love of learning. 

Although only having been at the school for six months, they have both taken part in opportunities that would not usually be offered at their grade levels in other schools.  Our grade three son spent a week in Xi’an after spending three months studying Chinese history.  While it was an amazing learning experience, what made it even more special was that family were invited to join the trip.  It was a great opportunity for parents to get to know each other and as well as the children. This is just one example of how THS recognise the value of the family relationship and a sense of community in the child’s education.  Our eldest took part in a Global Issues Conference where he had the opportunity to present a topic of his choice.  It was a fantastic growth opportunity and we saw him taking real pride in his work.

The THS after school activities are a great compliment to their classroom learning, and the boys have loving the opportunity to follow their interest in computers by attending teacher (and sometimes student led) classes in coding (computer programming) and Minecraft, as well as joining their class mates in hockey tournaments and soccer.

Our youngest son has just joined his brothers at the school this year (with support from The Children’s Institute) and has settled into his class room with no problems.  Given the progress we have seen in his brothers, and the dedicated support he is receiving from TCI, we look forward to seeing his progress over the coming months and years.
We have been very pleased with the education and support our children have received from The Harbour School. 

www.ths.edu.hk

wong

Aim for schools where your child will have the best chance of admission.

International Montessori School

Eva Ye & Fung Wong

When we decided to move back to Hong Kong in 2012, I was very confident in finding suitable school schools for two eldest girls. My eldest daughter, Raynee, was 4 years old at the time and Rita, had just turned 2 years.  Ria, our youngest, was only 1-years old, so she was not a major concern at the time. Raynee was attending a very good private girls' school in Melbourne. She had received great feedback from our teachers and our school reports were excellent. I honestly thought that she would have no problem in being accepted by an international school in Hong Kong.  At that time, I just simply applied to some well-known schools which were recommended by friends in Melbourne and relatives in Hong Kong. 

I decided to fly to Hong Kong and visit these schools, but what happened next was not what I expected. Every single school which I had interest in and had filed an application at, had no spaces,  and I was told by some schools that I might have to wait for at least 2 years for a place.  I was so disappointed and lost complete confidence in ever getting my children into a school in Hong Kong. I honestly could not believe it. We decided to remain in Melbourne and keep Raynee at the private school she was attending. At least, we could be guaranteed that our other two girls would get places at this school also. 

The next turn of events for our family business in 2013, once again, brought us back to Hong Kong and this time, we really had to move. I was very nervous about the school search and although I knew what was ahead; I decided that instead of relying on advice from friends, I would find a school consultant to help us. 

From my research on the internet, I found ITS Educational Services and flew to Hong Kong to meet with Anne, the Director, to discuss our options.  After our meeting, I realized my timing and strategy was completely off and my school choices the previous year were not in fact the right ones. Our consultant at ITS Education Asia researched suitable schools and presented professionally to us, we discussed the curriculum, application process, entry requirements and also toured the schools with complete and accurate knowledge.

Raynee and Rita were prepared for their interviews at ITS and the applications were completely perfectly.  Raynee was in fact offered places at two schools. We decided to defer one of the places till 2015 and put Raynee and Rita at the International Montessori School in Stanley, so they could be exposed to Mandarin on a daily basis, as well as being immersed in a mixed cultural environment and a new curriculum. We thought the experience would be wonderful for them.  My girls are very happy and have made great progress in their studies.  

I would definitely advice new parents to Hong Kong to aim for schools where your child will have the best chance of admission and also learn what each school is about. Experience the learning environment for yourself and ask lots of questions. 

www.montessori.edu.hk

 
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them
Dennis Waitley

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