Apart from local Chinese kindergartens, there are a variety of international kindergartens, which are either bilingual or use English as their main language of instruction. Most of them also offer opportunities for the kids to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. Many international schools also have their own kindergarten or pre-school.
Both local and international kindergartens as well as other pre-school institutions carry out selection interviews with prospective students to test their language, social and cognitive abilities. Furthermore, pre-school education in Hong Kong does not come cheap. Once you have found the ideal kindergarten for your child, be prepared for fees ranging from HK$ 30,000 to over HK$ 150,000. Institutions which are run by the English School Foundation are usually a bit cheaper, as they receive additional subsidies from the government. Remember to keep the costs for a kindergarten in mind when calculating your cost of living in Hong Kong.
When you first start your research on kindergartens in Hong Kong, you will probably be overwhelmed by all the different possibilities available. Pre-schools offer you varying educational programs, focusing on different curricula as well as religious or international affiliations. Most of the time, there is a high degree of competition between them.
Make sure to do thorough research before making the decision of sending your child to a particular institution. Seek advice and recommendations from other expats, schedule an appointment with the school and have a detailed look at their facilities. Do the rooms look comfortable and adequately furnished (e.g. childproof!)? What are the qualifications of the staff members? How do they treat the kids/the parents? What activities does the school offer for the children?
Also, keep in mind that your decision to send you child to a specific kindergarten may have far-reaching consequences. Pre-schools with a top-notch education may make it easier for you to get your child admitted to a prestigious primary school. Furthermore, you should decide whether you would like your child to attend a local school or an international school later on and choose the preschool accordingly. If you want you can start looking as soon as you know that you are pregnant and will be having a baby in Hong Kong.
We have compiled a list of further links and resources which you might find helpful concerning childcare, parenting and pre-school education in Hong Kong:
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