There’s always a waiting list at Tiger Tots but I think they just do that to make you think the school is in high demand. Frankly it was too snotty and expensive for my taste. There are a number of bi-lingual schools run by big chains in the area but I would stay away from them as I don’t think the English teaching quality is that great. My kids were born in the states and two years ago we moved to Taiwan. My son was almost 5 at the time so his English proficiency was much more solid than my daughter’s at the time, who was about 3. They both went to a local bi-lingual kindy and my daughter’s English deteriorated and picked up some horrible accents. The contributing factors being: 1) the school writes their own curriculum and it was not that good, 2) the Chinese teachers do not speak enough English so while the kids get 2.5 hours of exposure to English taught by a native speaker, the rest of the time, they’re speaking Chinese. Having said that, my kids learned to speak Chinese almost fluently six months after their arrival, which was pretty amazing. Kids learn very fast.
It really depends on your plan for your child, if you’re looking to send him to TES or TAS, then you’ll want to consider all day English American style preschools. If he’s going to a public school (the schools in Tienmu are very good) then a local or bi-lingual school would do as they’ll also prep him for first grade.
The following are some schools to consider:
All day English:
Child’s World - I visited, didn’t like the environment (the infrastructure was too run down) although was impressed with the curriculum and staff. They’re giving discounts to qualifying families. Lunch is not provided, only snacks.
Smart Start - kindersmartstart.com/index.html - I’m sending my daughter there, after an extensive research for all-day English preschools in the area. There aren’t that many here. They have an outdoor play area, small classroom size, all licensed native English speaking teachers (paired with a local staff who also speak fluent English), an in-ground pool. The facility was clean and well-maintained. The director’s name is Jenny, she is very friendly, helpful and accommodating. They do provide busing service as well. The student body is very mixed with lots of foreign born or Western children. Lunch and snacks are included, they cook everything on the premise.
Tiger Tots - not much to say other than that it’s highly secure, lots of expats send their kids there and expensive.
Jackson Kids - jacksonkids.com.tw/ - very new, the facility is very modern, spacious and clean. It’s more expensive compared to the other kindies. They use American curriculum but not sure if the teachers are licensed.
Top Ten - located off of Tienmu West Road, down the block from San-yu elementary school. A popular choice for a lot of Westerners as the staff speak English and can communicate with the parents. It’s not really a bi-lingual school in the sense that they don’t have a structured English curriculum but will speak English with the children if that’s they’re native language. They will also teach some Japanese and classes are conducted mostly in Mandarin.
There are also other local kindies that are very good, I’ve heard as well as Montessori schools, but they’re not bi-lingual.
I don’t really recommend other bi-lingual chain schools like Hess, Cats, Giraffe, Happy Marion, Carlton, Dalton or Kojen or any other ones because they all share the same reputation: 1) non-English speaking Chinese staff, 2) substandard work environment for the native teachers who are treated horribly most of the time (I know first hand as my husband worked for one) 3) they lie for a living and will say anything to a parent to keep their kids there. I shouldn’t generalize the schools but having heard enough stories from people who teach there, I would stay away from those schools.
Good luck with your move! I also live in Tienmu and am Taiwanese (raised in New York). If you need further info about the area, don’t hesitate to contact me!