"Easier" Public Elementary Schools in Taipei

Hello, we are moving to Taipei this August for a few years. We have 2 kids, ages 8 and 6. We plan to register them for local public schools and will be living in Da’an.

We are looking for public schools that aren’t super intense, and don’t have too much homework. Does that exist in Taipei? lol Coming from the US, we want to make the transition a little easier for our kids so hope to find a school that is more chill and understanding. Does anyone have recommendations for a school like this?

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I think it will be hard if not impossible to find such school in the public system, especially in Daan area.
You will have better look with private schools, but it won’t be cheap.

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It is mostly about how you (the parent) give your kids pressure, or not. Most schools have “sports” classes and every class has kids that like exercise more than homework. For example, Da’an Elementary School is well known for soccer.

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Renai Elementary, I was told, is called a celebrity school as there are many celebrity kids who attend. It also has a reputation for being harder. So based on your question you’d want to avoid.

We go to Guangfu Elementary, which (again supposedly) is more relaxed and has more clubs than most other schools. This could be where you want to look…but of course I’m simply sharing hearsay and have no direct comparison experience.

Xinsheng Elementary is the area’s CLP school, offering Chinese immersion to foreigner kids who are new to Taiwan. One of my friend’s kids attended for six months then decided to switch to their neighborhood school. They said it was too much work.

Jian’an Elementary is my friends’ neighborhood school. They like it a lot and said it’s much better socially and more relaxed regarding schoolwork.

Just some singular anecdotes. Take it all with a grain of salt. But that’s my impression regarding half of the schools in the area.


I disagree. Surely, the parents attitude can make a difference, but the teachers and classmates can definitely impact the way the child look at school and their responsibilities.
You may not push your kids to finish all that crazy amount of homework, but the teacher will expect your kid to do it. You may not want to send your child to a cram school, but you may hear the complain “all the other kids are going, I want to go too.”
In other words, it’s not impossible to have your kids in a less stressful learning environment on your own, but if the school also have this mentality, it’s much easier.

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The foreign/mixed parents I know that I have successfully allowed their children to avoid the super stress of public elementary did not do so in any of the cities. Go out into the sticks where one K-6 school has a total of 40 kids and you might be ok. Even then, writing “my child did not complete the following assignments last night because it is clearly busywork and they have better things to do after school than waste their time with this meaningless work” got their kids into increasingly more trouble (such as being screamed at in front of the whole class) the older they got. Sure, as a parent you can have a firm conversation with the homeroom teacher and admin about their practices, but do you want to be “that parent”? I don’t think I personally know any foreign family who willingly allowed their child to remain in the public schools past 4th grade. That seems to be the tipping point for most western families (workload and staying late expectations get to be insane), where TAS/TES or a move to the US/EU/Australia/NZ becomes increasingly more of a no brainer. The school I work at now (private and experimental) most frequently has 2nd-4th grade prospective parents who are worried about their child’s social-emotional development because the focus on academics is too much to be reasonable to them.

The problem is that many of those kids join our classroom and they’ve already become zombies with no motivation to do their own work. The kids who aren’t zombies have parents that truly respect their child and allow them to thrive at home. I can tell when they come to pick up their kid and their kid is being a total goof but the parent just gently shakes their head and then nods to acknowledge that “yep, I am responsible for having raised this one” that their parents played a crucial role and making sure the public school demands didn’t destroy the will of their child. But another year or two of them being in public schools would have meant that no matter what the parents did, the child would not have had the confidence to be themself.

I’m not providing anything particularly helpful for any of you, but I figured I’d share my thoughts and observations of education


My experience is that elementary school isn’t particularly stressful for the students. It’s what follows that concerns me. The 13 to 18 slot is nuts.


Yes, junior high is when all children become robots and respond to things so automatically it’s creepy. And their only hobbies become “sleep” and “play cell phone game” (unless they’re in a sports class. Then academics go right out the window so they can be maybe kinda good at a sport). But there are a lot of elementary schools that want to “prepare them for what’s coming next” that try to pile too much on them in fifth and sixth grade. Reminds me of when my middle school teachers insisted that they were “preparing us for high school” and then the only time that extra work was relevant was for college-level classes, which in turn were way more challenging than any classes I took in college. It’s almost like “teaching what’s appropriate at this stage of development and not the next one” should be taken seriously or something…

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Would you recommend the school where you work?
I think experimental schools could be an option for the OP.

19 posts were split to a new topic: From “Easier” Public Elementary Schools in Taipei

I think I’ve posted my thoughts on the experimental schools around Taipei that I know of (have been inside to see in action) elsewhere on forumosa. It is definitely harder for the older kids who come to our school, but it has worked out for many of them. OP can contact me for more info. I’m not actually sure what tuition is though. My understanding is that it’s “somewhere in the range of 25k/mo + fees”. A back of the envelope estimate indicates to me the school is definitely in the red even with those costs…

  1. Xinsheng elementary school, which has been mentioned, was one of Taipei’s first ‘bilingual’ schools and definitely has experience with children whose first langauge is not Chinese. It is however a very prestigious elementary school that might not be so easygoing.

  2. Gongguan Elementary School has a reformed curriculum and I know foreign parents who have sent their kids there and been relatively happy with it.

  3. Taipei City has a wealth of options for alternative education. Some programs are in existing elementray schools. Others are independent. The Taipei Experimental Education Center is the place to start to explore the myriad options. Sadly this government site has no English, but there is some English contact info. Recommend going in person.

  4. A bit further away are the Humanity Primary/Junior High School in Toucheng (Yilan County) and The Seedling Experimental School in Wulai, New Taipei City. I have visited the school in Yilan and was very impressed. An American teacher told me it was the best school he has ever taught at in the US or Taiwan. There is a very active community of parents who are deeply involved in what looked like a good way. Example, NTU physics professor who volunteered to teach science and math. The parents I met all emphasized that they were determined to make sure that their children did not suffer the typical high pressre Taiwan academic environment and were very happy with the education there. Commute might just be possible through Snow Mountain tunnel.

  5. Must you live in Daan? There are mountain schools accessible in northern Taipei such as Hushan Elementary School that are well known for relaxed, nature-oriented curriculums.

Finally, there are a signficant number of rather negative posters on this site who often do not speak Chinese well or are isolated from Taiwanese society. They can be very suspicious of Taiwanese schools. No doubt many have personal experiences that are worth reading but form your own conclusions. There are also foreign parents with very positive experiences who tend not to vent here. Here is an extreme example on the positive side:

  1. English Chris Neumeyer on LinkedIn: #taiwan #yale #college #university #education #excellence #臺北市立第一女子高級中學… | 755 comments

  2. Chinese 一路公立學校念進耶魯!北一女混血女孩不補習、熱愛閱讀 | 遠見編輯部 | 遠見雜誌

  3. Youtube: 錄取全球12名校 北一女學霸選擇耶魯大學|TVBS新聞 - YouTube (student speaks in English).

In any event, there are many options. Good luck!


This is so helpful, thank you!! Can you explain what is the benefit of visiting the Taipei Experimental Education Center? Would they be able to help find us an experimental school to enroll in? Thanks again!

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I think so. They have a counseling department. They should at least be able to point you in the right direction. Tip: Taiwanese organizations are generally not so great at answering emails. Even calls can be a little problematic. Going in person is always best.


I’m interested to hear more about Hushan Elementary in Beitou. I’ve seen their campus many times while hiking in the area. It has the feel of a small school in a rural mountain village, even though it’s quite close to the city. Commuting could be a drag as it is up the mountain a bit. But it’s right in the shadow of Shamaoshan and kinda close to the main bus depot in YMS.

Taiwan Panorama has a feature on the school a while ago.

In recent years, discussions about education in Taiwan have always gotten around sooner or later to declining enrolments due to a falling birthrate.

But Hu­shan Elementary School, located in Tai­pei City’s Bei­tou District, has hit upon a formula for success that capitalizes on the school’s beautiful natural setting and close interaction with parents. The school is not losing students; to the contrary, enrolment is steadily growing. Parents in Tai­pei actually cross school district lines to get their children into Hu­shan Elementary, and a lot of white-collar foreign expats working in Taiwan send their kids to Hu­shan even though the classes are taught in Chinese…

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Hutian Elementary School even higher up on Yangmingshan sounds similar. There was an article about it a few years ago.

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OP is welcome to message me about my school. :blush: We are a bilingual school in Neihu with no traditional Taiwan-style homework. I was an elementary school teacher in the US before moving to Taiwan, so I will be able to help your kids adjust from the US education system. Your 8 year old may be a bit too old as we are only accepting rising 1st and 2nd grade students.

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Out of curiosity, what does this mean? Do you still give homework to first and second graders, but it’s not as much as might be seen in a traditional public school? Or is it a “no homework, you should go home and play and read books as you please”?

Good question! We don’t have the traditional (and painful) 乙本 and 甲本 that public schools assign. We also don’t assign daily homework because we think they’ve done enough learning at school and the rest of their day should be for them to be kids. Instead, when the opportunity presents itself, we send home activities related to our project for students to explore, discuss, or create with their families (we strongly encourage family time). We also send home simple activities (not repeatedly writing Chinese characters perfectly in boxes) for students to practice certain skills if we notice a need for extra reinforcement at home. That’s it! Honestly, our hope is that our projects are so interesting that it sparks curiosity in our students and motivates them to go home and learn more on their own. Therefore, learning outside of school isn’t a burden or a worksheet, but something that they are excited about and can find meaning in. :smiling_face: