Hong Kong / Hong Kong Island / Southern / The Harbour School (The Grove)

The Harbour School (The Grove) Experience

The Harbour School had adapted the American curriculum to offer a very hands-on education to students of all abilities. With its small class sizes, lessons at sea, and focus on technology, THS is offering parents a fresh alternative to a primary education.
At a glance
School phase
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
Availability 2021/22
Annual fee average
HKD 199,000
Annual fees
HKD 164,000 - 210,000
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Aug to Jun
Christine Greenberg
Main teacher nationality
United States of America
Main student nationality
A mix of nationalities

Nearby nurseries

0.3km • Montessori curriculum
Does your child attend this school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

The Harbour School’s Grove campus is full of surprises. Creatively designed to deliver an ‘alternative’ education for Grades 1-6, this inclusive school in Ap Lei Chau has big ideas for a small space.

What looks like a simple red brick, six-storey building within a housing development is actually home to a treehouse, rock pools, a playful library, and child-sized doors leading into flexible classrooms. Every floor is themed on one of the five Chinese elements – Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal and Air – and every specialist room creates a different ‘experience’ for students.

Click here to read our review of The Harbour School's Grove campus.

It’s a campus that really lends itself to a curriculum with plenty of hands-on activities and real-life experiences, and it suits a school that is progressive in its approach to primary education. From Inspirational Corners with beanbags to Ideas Boxes dotted around the corridors, there are plenty of inclusive design features here.

As well as looking and feeling like a happy place, The Grove is both unique and unconventional – which could certainly appeal to families who are looking for an alternative to Hong Kong’s large all-through schools or more traditional campuses.

Read on to discover some of the highlights of this campus…

Underwater discovery

One of the school’s Centres of Excellence is the marine science centre, which is staffed by marine biologists. Home to rock pools and fish tanks, this wet laboratory gives students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning and investigations about the marine environment. There aren’t many schools where you can observe, research and touch horseshoe crabs, anemones, bamboo sharks, corals and a variety of fish.

Students in all grades take at least one marine science course every year, and the school focuses on integrating this centre of excellence into the main curriculum.

Maxine Cutracci, a marine science specialist at THS, said: “We’re teaching marine biology to students here and focusing on Hong Kong marine life. We’re also connecting marine biology to the different subjects they are learning, from history to science. For example, Grade 3 students may come in here to learn about the food chains in the sea, while a Grade 5 class will be researching algae.”

THS plans to develop a shallow swimming pool on campus where students will develop skills in the water including basic swimming, snorkelling and introductory SCUBA lessons.

Space to perform

Located on the sixth floor is a performing arts centre that resembles a black box theatre. It’s a hugely flexible space with moveable walls, state of the art sound and lighting, props, and musical instruments. As well as being used for drama and music classes, the centre has staged student performances such as Bugsy.

Outdoor education and play

THS has a multi-functional rooftop that features reading corners, a colourful playground, a small Astro-turf pitch, and a giant chess board. This urban school may have limited space, but it is certainly making the most of what it has to deliver recreational outdoor space and outdoor learning experiences.

Switched on to technology

All students take media tech classes in this well-equipped lab, where they learn about computers and technology as well as internet safety.

“We have a programme called Tools Not Toys. All students get a laptop in Grade 3 but they can’t take it home until they’ve earnt their ‘computer usage’ licence, so that they know to take care of it. This can be revoked at any time, if their parents think it’s being misused.”

Reading for fun!

Students can ‘literally’ slide into the enormous library, which is a split-level, naturally-lit wide open space that’s filled with books, reading snugs, deckchairs, beanbags, rugs and armchairs. As well as being used for library sessions, students stage small performances here, can complete jigsaw puzzles during recess, and work on art projects. THS injects a lot of fun into its library; this is a place to explore, find a place to read, climb and slide, or cuddle up to one of the many soft toys.

Located on the Earth floor, the library features a set of steps that are designed to resemble rolling green hills; with books tucked away under every step, this is another spot for students to read in. There’s also a ‘secret’ door that leads inside a treehouse, where students walk down a winding staircase to exit through a child-sized door into a room where they can play chess and other traditional games.

Making great ideas

The Foundry makerspace is another one of the school’s Centres of Excellence – and it creates the ideal environment for building, designing and creating. Aprons hang on the wall, workbenches are laid out with coding and robotics equipment, and traditional tools are displayed on peg boards.

Once again, the school focuses on integrating this centre of excellence into the main curriculum. For example, students made sextants using laser-cutters in The Foundry to support their learning about angles and explorers; Grade 6 students supported their course on revolutions in history by making a printing press.

Every class has an intensive week in The Foundry every term, and the makerspace is also used for a Full STEAM Ahead programme.

“Almost everything that we do has a service element. For example, one of our students has a hand impairment and can only use his thumb and index finger. We challenged our Grade 5 students to design a range of customised video game controllers for him. Outside our community, we have built a hydroponic farm for growing basil that we hope to supply to local restaurants.”

Creative classrooms

The Grove makes effective use of its limited space thanks to design features including moveable walls and flexible classrooms with round desks, chairs and beanbags. Walls are used as an extension of the classroom, where students display their ongoing work; corridors are transformed into tracks for racing robots; and there are child-height doors leading into some of the lower-grade classrooms. While the individual classrooms are quite small, the class sizes here are too.

“In every class we try to have places where you can stand up, sit down, work independently and work in groups.

“The Renaissance Fair is a huge highlight in the Grade 4 curriculum, and students work on this for four months. We have flexibility to open all the Grade 4 classrooms into one large space that is transformed into a castle throughout the project.”


If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.

Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information

Latest Hong Kong articles
Best School

Cool School Libraries from Around the World

International school libraries look very different today. The rows of long tables, antiqu…

Courses & Curricula

International Schools in the UAE

Many parents will know that private school choices in the UAE are dominated by Indian, Br…

Choosing A School

Which UK Schools Do Royals Attend?

News that the future queen of Spain will be attending a remote Welsh school known as the …

Courses & Curricula

IB Exams "Cancelled For All UK Students"

The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) has cancelled all IB exams in the UK. …

Courses & Curricula

To be Scrapped? Future Of GCSEs Reviewed

A major consultation has been launched by the exam board Pearson today (February 15)…

Courses & Curricula

Cambridge IGCSEs Go Ahead In Some Countries

International exams will still go ahead this summer for some IGCSE and A Level students.…


How to Apply to a UK School Internationally?

Looking for a UK school for your child from 2021 or beyond? Choosing a school in an unfam…

Courses & Curricula

IBO 'Dual Route Model' for May 2021 exams

A day after the UK's Pearson organisation announced that its Edexcel Board examinations …

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All