Hong Kong Pre-Schools: Need To Know

What are the advantages of sending your child to a nursery or pre-school attached to an international school in Hong Kong – and where can you find one?
Hong Kong Pre-Schools: Need To Know
By Carli Allan
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Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS)

The early years play area at CDNIS
  • Age range: 3-5 years; pre-reception, reception and prep
  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP)
  • Specialist subjects: Mandarin, music, PE and library
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:7 (pre-reception); 1:9 (reception and prep)
  • Class size: 18-20 maximum
  • Early years facilities: Large outdoor playground. The lower and upper schools share facilities including a 25m swimming pool, gymnasium, Leo Lee arts centre theatre, Chinese cultural centre, and a green roof
  • Length of day: Half-day programmes (7.50am-10.20am or 11.50am-2.20pm)
  • 2019-20 tuition fees: HKD 115,900 (reception and pre-reception) and HKD 157,300 (prep), plus annual capital levy of HKD 36,000
  • Dedicated entrance: No
  • Location: Hong Kong Island

CDNIS offers a through-train education for pre-reception all the way to Grade 12, and from the Douglas firs to the totem poles, this school certainly gives you a warm Canadian welcome. This large purpose-built campus is contained within two main buildings. Although the school has around 1,800 students, the reception and prep classes have their own space within the campus, which helps to make it feel smaller through a student’s eyes. The school is equipped with excellent state-of-the-art facilities; as well as a huge outdoor playground, there’s a new Reggio Emilia-inspired Early Childhood Centre with flexible classroom space.

Read our full review of Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS).

Harrow International School, Hong Kong

Early years at Harrow's Hong Kong campus
  • Age range: 3-5 years; kindergarten 1 and 2
  • Curriculum: UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Specialist subjects: Music, swimming and PE
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:9
  • Early years facilities: Multi-purpose room, large shared area and outdoor area with obstacles course, bikes and trikes area, sandpit and drawing walls
  • Length of day: 8am-2pm
  • 2019-20 tuition fees: HKD 149,924 plus annual capital levy of HKD 60,000
  • Sibling discount: Yes
  • Meal plans: Lunch and mid-morning snack is provided
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: New Territories

Located on a nine-acre site in Tuen Mun, Harrow Hong Kong has one of the most spacious campuses in Hong Kong – and there is a purpose-built Early Years Centre that has a large multi-purpose area for activities such as productions, indoor sports and assemblies, as well as an adventure playground. The Harrow-ness that defines one of the world’s oldest and most famous all-boys boarding schools is felt throughout the corridors and classrooms of this Hong Kong franchise. And there’s a strong pastoral care system here for even the youngest of students – every child is a member one of six houses and is befriended by an older ’buddy’ student during their early years journey.

Read our full review of Harrow International School, Hong Kong.

The International Montessori School

  • Age range: 2-6 years; foundation and Casa dei Bambini
  • Curriculum: Bilingual Montessori programme
  • Specialist subjects: Chinese, music, art and PE
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:8 (foundation); 1:12 (Casa dei Bambini)
  • Class size: 16 (foundation), 25 (Casa dei Bambini)
  • Length of day: Half day (foundation), full day (Casa)
  • 2019-20 tuition fees: HKD 95,000-117,000 plus a Personal Nomination Right of HKD 75,000 or a debenture of HKD 100,000
  • Location: Hong Kong Island

IMS offers a dual-language Montessori education with an English-speaking and Chinese-speaking teacher in every classroom for both foundation and Casa dei Bambini. True to the principles of Montessori, children are given the freedom to choose their own activities; lessons use specially-designed, hands-on learning material; there’s no grading or testing; lessons are taken by Montessori trained teachers; and there’s a focus on practical life, sensorial, language and maths.

While there is a wide choice of Montessori pre-schools in Hong Kong, The International Montessori School (IMS) is one of only a few to also offer a primary education up to 12 years. It has three pre-school campuses on Hong Kong Island:  Aldrich Bay, Mid Levels and South Horizons.

Read our full review of The International Montessori School.

Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (YCIS)

  • Age range: Six months to six years; Infant & Toddler Learning Programme (ITLP), pre-nursery, kindergarten
  • Curriculum: UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Specialist subjects: Violin (kindergarten), Chinese, PE, music and ICT
  • Teacher:student ratio: 1:6 (ITLP); 1:8 (pre-nursery); 1:12 (kindergarten)
  • Class size: 12 (ITLP); 22-24 (pre-nursery, kindergarten)
  • Early years facilities: Music room, library, outdoor playground
  • Length of day: Half-day, morning or afternoon (ITLP); half or full day (pre-nursery); full day (kindergarten)
  • 2019-20 tuition fees: HKD 75,790-215,083. No debenture for early years.
  • Sibling discount: Yes
  • Meal plans: Snacks and lunch are provided
  • Dedicated entrance: Yes
  • Location: Kowloon

This well-established primary school in Kowloon Tong, which has been teaching for more than 80 years in Hong Kong, opened its new Early Years Centre in August 2019 to offer students from as young as six months a dual education in English and Chinese. YCIS is so committed to delivering a solid Chinese-English bilingual programme that every class has a Western and Chinese teacher, and each of its three campuses is jointly run by a Western and a Chinese co-principal. The school promises to deliver a “play-based child-centred learning environments in a bilingual setting” and encourage an early love of music through the kindergarten violin programme.

Read our full review of Yew Chung International School Hong Kong (YCIS).

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