The right school for a mixed child

Hi, new to this site and am finding it a pretty cool one.
I’d like some opinions on the following please:-

My son is almost three (mother is local) and it’s time for kindy, poor sod!
Do I send him to a bi-lingual, all English or Chinese kindy? His Chinese is a little bit stronger than English at the moment which is not surprising since it’s his Mother tongue, but I really don’t know where to send him for the best. A point which may factor into this is that we don’t intend to stay here forever (I do want him to have some sort of a childhood)! Maybe another five years then off to an English speaking country.

There must be people out there who have been in this situation and I wondered how they got on.

Thanks in advance.

My boy went to local kindy and local elementary school and now is in his first year at local middle school. Sure, his Chinese is better than his English… but his English is OK. As soon as we can get him into one of the foreign schools here, we’ll move him then. Later, we’ll send him to the States for high school.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the kindy you send your child to, so long as it is safe and the teachers care about the kids. Kids are terribly resilient. The child’s family environment is far more important than anything he will learn at school, IMO.

I have had my girls in both all-chinese kindergartens and more or less “bilingual” ones. The latter actually surprised me by teaching them enough to be able to be able to communicate in English, even though all the kids were Taiwanese. (I speak Danish to them, not English).

The younger one was far more happy in the chinese-speaking one - incidientially, so was the older one.

I would therefore claim that the most important thing is that they feel happy and safe there.

When you’re deciding on a school for your kid, try to look past all the fancy equipment that these places buy to impress the parents. That doesn’t count for anything when the teachers are lazy, uncaring, and incompetent.

Also, bear in mind that many bilingual schools are only nominally so, and the supposedly all English ones vary enormously. When you’re checking out a school, speak to or listen to some of the kids to gauge their ability in English and look in on some classes. I went to one place where they emphasized learning English. The kids seemed to spend most of their time sitting in front of a whiteboard playing games like hangman or doing worksheets. The kids looked bored and the teachers looked bored. IMO, you’d do better to send your kid to a regular all Chinese kindy.

I teach at a little bilingual kindy int he mornings. They don’t get a lot of English. Just one class with me a day (for each class) and one with their local teacher.

I have two ‘mixed’ kids in my class who have just moved to Taiwan. I think it’s a good environment for them. They get a great English teacher :wink: I find that despite being ‘native speakers’ they do need help with their English, but they can also learn Chiense from the local teacher and their classmates. English class also gives them a chance to excel and is good for their confidence. It also helps their classmates.

Brian

Try Happy Kids on Hsin Yi and Tun Hua. It’s a bilingual kindy that is used to “mixed” kids. It also offers an English program to their own graduates after school so that if you decide to send them to a local elementary school afterwords, they can keep up with their English.

I sent both my kids and was very pleased with the results. Just the right mix of homework and free-time - very engaged teachers.

I also thought that Happy Kids looked very good. It seemed more like a Western kindy or preschool, not a Taiwanese one. They had a lot of activities, stressed creativity, the children were allowed to play, and the teachers seemed kind.

It is very Western, but they do teach ㄅㄆㄇㄈ as a good portion of the kids that graduate opt for the better known local elementary schools. The teachers are largely from Canada , (so you have to worry about your kids picking up slightly soft, socialist, PC views. :slight_smile:) Also, interestingly parents are barred from the classroom while it is in session.

The school is a nice balance between the local system of cram-everything-down-their-throats, what-do-you-mean-you-can’t-count-to-100-and-back-you’re-4-for-Christ’s-sake and less structured kindys you see in the states.

The mothers do a lot of activities together, and with the kids, so that you’re wife can find a nice group of similarly aged women with kids to hang with. Does wonders for her sanity.

Is that in Taipei?

Yes. It is in Taipei.

It depends on the language used at home in my opinion. If the home language is English, send the kids to a Chinese kindy. If the home language is Chinese, send the kids to a English kindy.

They will achieve bilingual skills with the least amount of active parental behavior modification.

Hi there, I have triplets age 6 1/4 now, mother is Taiwanese, my mother tongue is Swiss German, basically we speak English at home, my wife speaks in English and Chinese to the kids. They went to Sunshine American Pre School in Hsintien for 2 years, can highly recommend that branch of that school (know other Sunshine branches not that great from what I have been told). I planned to send them to the British School but lost the battle with my wife and send them to a private Chinese School called “Chin Shin” in Chinmei. I was very sceptical about it, esp. as there are are about 40 kids in a class.After 1 1/2 month I have to admit that the school is great, very attentive absolutely great facilities, Foreign English Teachers for the English lessons. Lot’s of sports activities. We send them three evenings for two hours each to Shane’s English School in Mucha and that seems to help them to further improve their English language skills.
Cheers!

I sent my son to a Japanese kindergarten, he had a great time and the teachers were very good there. Some of the Japs objected cause he wasnt quite Japanese enough hehehehe, but the rule was he had to be here on an ARC.

But the important thing is the quality of the teachers. My son grew up speaking only Chinese and Japanese until he was 7. Then he went to Australia for 5 years, then back here for 5th & 6th grade at the local school up here in Alishan.

Now he’s in Lincoln in Taichung, where he’s taking Spanish as the foreign language. He wants to learn German but the school doesnt offer it.

I cannot agree with the recommendation for this school. I used to be one of the foreign teachers for the English lessons there, and it was hell. The students were little hellions; when I asked a Taiwanese friend why they were so badly behaved, she said it was because they knew their parents were rich and so thought they didn’t have to listen to the teachers! I don’t know about that, but I do know their Taiwanese teacher screamed at them all the time and beat them with a stick. They also learned absolutely nothing in the classes - my fault, perhaps, but consider that I taught the same course to children of the same age at the buxiban, and those classes were great; also consider that all of the teachers sent by the buxiban to teach there had trouble with them.
As for the facilities - well, maybe the school looked good compared to the public schools here, but it looked pretty bad by Western standards.

I cannot agree with the recommendation for this school. I used to be one of the foreign teachers for the English lessons there, and it was hell. The students were little hellions; when I asked a Taiwanese friend why they were so badly behaved, she said it was because they knew their parents were rich and so thought they didn’t have to listen to the teachers! I don’t know about that, but I do know their Taiwanese teacher screamed at them all the time and beat them with a stick. They also learned absolutely nothing in the classes - my fault, perhaps, but consider that I taught the same course to children of the same age at the buxiban, and those classes were great; also consider that all of the teachers sent by the buxiban to teach there had trouble with them.
As for the facilities - well, maybe the school looked good compared to the public schools here, but it looked pretty bad by Western standards.[/quote]Hello bababa,

Thanks for your response to my post about that school. I was first thinking to send you a PM but then assume this is of vital interest for parents in a kind of similar situation. Certainly there is a difference in schools here (be they private or public). I cannot agree more than indeed most kids that go to the school mentioned are spoiled (can certainly confirm this for my three) and yes they are being brought up to wear the most expensive dresses, watch plays from the best seats, demand to eat single pizzas instead of sharing, etc. When they are with me they do have disciplin, we do a lot together on weekends, we play Ice Hockey, hike in the mountains, swim a great deal, draw pictures, cook, etc. and when I am with them, certainly they are very well behaved. Different when they are with my wife/their mother and certainly they let go big time when they are with their aunty/maid. What I found that at “Chin Shin” they do teach them some disciplin as well. I went there a few times during class, stood outside the class rooms and listened what was going on, saw the class was paying attention to the teachers and the rather moderate load of home work is to my liking as well. I am perhaps a bit bias as far as the English Teaching goes as one of the teachers is also my boy’s Ice Hockey teacher on weekends. I do not say it is the best school and still believe esp. in terms of facilities the American School is better. I would obviously be interested to have a talk with you about this school since you have first hand information from inside and would love to invite you for a lunch or dinner (whatever is convenient) and hope you can contact me michel@cargocare.com or send me a PM thrue the forum. As far as the stick thing goes, honestly doubt this as my children would tell me, that form of education is a total no go.

Thanks!
Michel

Happy Kids doesn’t run a zhuyin class, at least not anymore. They do have biracial, multilingual, and international students in the school. Five continents have been represented in the school student body in the last three years. Hindi, Japanese, French, English, Hakka, Taiwanese, and Mandarin are some of the home languages of the children.
It is not a language school, but a real kindergarten following the guidelines set by the National Association of Educating Young Children (NAEYC) in the United States. Many of the children hold foreign passports and go on to the local elementary schools (and attending the language arts program in the afternoon), Taipei American School, or continue their schooling in North America. The language arts program for grades K-6 is based on North American curriculum paced at the same grade level as the child so they will be on the same level if they choose to attend an international school or move abroad. The preschool program (ages 3-6) is English immersion although some of the younger local children still speak some Mandarin with each other. There is an ESL support class for those children who need supplemental English. All of the foreign teachers at Happy Kids are required to hold teaching certification, mostly ECE and elementary education.

I highly recommend it for biracial children because they will be among other children who are going through the same experience as them and among children of different cultural backgrounds…but I’m a little biased. :wink:

Hmmmm guess I’ll have to take a look at my son’s homework again.

Happy Kids does a great job of providing a good, internationally minded environment. My Children’s Mandarin has not suffered for attending it.

If you want your kids to go to a local school after or go to the American school, they’ll be well prepared. If you want them to go to TBS afterwords, get ready for a tough first semester as the British system seems to start a lot earlier than the American system.

Thanks for all the info guys, we have decided to send are little man to a Chinese kindy which also gives them an hour Englishy a day. One of the factors of this was because I didn’t want to pay double the monthly fees just for him to be “taught” by a 19 year old Canadian “just off the boat”
(I could have put this in another thread)!

Anyway, thanks for the input everyone.

Can someone please post the phone number or exact address for Happy Kids? Their website is useless; just an email address and they never reply.

If you’d been in Banqiao, I would have recommended ‘Your Little Baby Montessori Preschool’.

It’s a brilliant Montessori school run by a local Taiwanese (a friend of mine, so yes I’m horribly biased), who used to run a buxiban until she had kids of her own and wanted a good kindergarten to send them to.

She couldn’t find one she liked, so she sold her buxiban and started her own kindy. Her kids attend, and so do her brother’s.

Teaching is in Chinese, but it runs 6 hours of English classes a week (which is a lot less than it sounds). Students are taught by the English teacher in a 10 minute one on one session (or a 15 minute two on one session), and one half hour group session.

There are about 14 students there right now.