We plan to move to Taiwan from California in the next year or two with our children, who are currently ages 4 and 5. We would like to enroll them in public school and have appreciated all the advice we’ve seen on this forum. Our children would be going into the school with very minimal Chinese language ability. We are looking at the following schools currently and would appreciate any insight on/experience with these schools, particularly whether they are welcoming to foreign students and their support for CSL students.
Yilan Schools (we are thinking of living in Yilan to be have better air quality, access to the outdoors and coast, etc.):
Humanity Primary School - 人文國中小
Ci-Xin Waldorf School - 慈心華德福教育實驗高級中等學校
Sanzhi Schools (we may be able to live in my aunt’s house in Sanzhi, which are closest to these 2 schools):
Henshan Elementary School - 橫山國小
Sanzhi Guomin Elementary School - 新北市三芝區三芝國民小學
Taipei Schools (if we stay in Taipei, this is the school closest to my relatives and where their children attend school):
Jian An Elementary School - 建安國小
Finally, I plan to set up some school visits when I go to Taiwan in September. Are schools usually pretty open to having foreigners visit the campus? Do you have any advice on what to look out for and what to ask during the visits (other than the obvious questions about the enrollment process and CSL support)?
My first impression when reading your post is that, unless your plan is for your kids to enter National Taiwan University, I wouldn’t worry too much over this. I have a 14 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. On a recent parent-teacher meeting at our son’s kindergarten, I couldn’t help feeling a bit amused at how our son’s teacher made a big stink over how our son needed to focus a bit more on his Chinese. He just started kindergarten six months ago and so we knew he would be bit behind. But his reading in English is above his age level and this is where our focus has been.
We’ve been through this before so it was all a bit amusing. Fast forward 8 years with our daughter (so to speak) and our daughter’s best subject is Chinese and she ranks fairly well in this respect in her class. This is even after two years of going to an American school in the middle.
I suspect that all the schools will be about equal as far as your goals are concerned. I think it will come down to luck since I think your kids’ homeroom teachers will make more of a difference than anything (unless you want sports or music, etc. to be strong at the school).
Good luck. Two cliches that really do apply in this situation: Don’t sweat the small stuff and life is a marathon.
Edit: Our plan is to send our kids to university in the states and this seems to make my wife and I much more relaxed about which schools our kids attend. I say this to my daughter when she stresses about the tests: You’re going to a small school in a small town in a small country. Just relax, dude. (I sometimes add the marathon stuff and I might even play Alice Cooper’s Shool’s Out for the Summer to really annoy her.)
Hello there - I wanted to follow up on this question you asked regarding the schools and also wanted to see if we could connect in general about moving to Taiwan. Which schools did you check out? Which did you decide on? We are looking to move in the summer and I am also looking for schools for my children (2nd, 3rd and 7th grade). We are looking at Yilan as well. Most of my family lives in Zhongli or Taipei. Thank you.
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Hi, sorry for the late reply. We visited the Waldorf school in Yilan as well as a few schools in Taipei City and New Taipei City. Schools vary on allowing visitation. Most only allowed me to talk to administrators but not walk around campus while school is in session. We ended up deciding to look for housing first, and then base our school decision on where we decided to live, rather than choosing a school and then trying to find housing within that school district. The public schools require you to have residency within their school district to enroll, so after we found a place to live in Taipei, we looked at the schools within that school district and then contacted and visited those schools. We ended up settling in the Minsheng Community area of Taipei. I’m happy to share more of our experience if you want to private message me (is there a way to private message through this forum?).
Hey, If you’re in Taipei and still thinking about private schools, TIMES (Taipei International Montessori Experimental School) in Songshan let me come in and take a look at their school and observe an afternoon of classes after I sent an email and asked. I am/was just a curious foreign teacher at a public school here wondering how a Montessori elementary classroom works, not a perspective parent or anything that should give me special permission to come in. I think most qualified Montessori schools are like this, as they want to show the community that they really are an “authentic” Montessori school. From the little I do know about Montessori (large class sizes, students doing their own independent work, respectfully following the child), it seemed like a good environment.
I don’t know about tuition costs though. It’s Songshan, so rent tends to be higher, and it looks like you’ve settled on a different area of the city. There’s also TIMS (Taipei International Montessori School) about an 8 min walk from TIMES. I didn’t contact them, but they’re part of the Ms. Lam Montessori umbrella. I have no idea what that actually means. The few things I see online are positive (they have a Chinese immersion school in Brooklyn, NYC) but there’s not much info about anything going either way. Still more info than you’d find about most schools in Taiwan, which are entirely word of mouth…