Admission to Year 1 at an ESF School
Most of our children move on to an ESF primary school or to an ESF Private Independent School and ESF International Kindergartens provide an ideal preparation for school. Our teaching methods include aspects of inquiry, exploration and investigation, as do those of the ESF Primary schools. This helps provide continuity in the learning experiences for all the children who move onto an ESF school which follow the IB Organisation’s Primary Years Programme.
Important Dates and Timelines
Applications being accepted from September 1st - 30th. Please click HERE to go to the ESF Admissions website and online application form.
• Applications received after this date have a different sorting process (refer to the ESF website for more details)
• Late November: 1st round of invitations for an interview are sent out. 1st round interviews will be held in January.
• Primary school personnel visit the kindergarten during the month prior to the interview date (December - January).
• Parents will be informed of the interview results by the end of the second week of February.
Invitations for an interview continue from December to April (and sometimes longer) until all places are filled.
Applications to ESF Private Independent Schools - Renaissance College and Discovery College need to be completed on separate application forms located on the individual school websites.
What is a Typical Interview Like?
Groups for interview usually comprise of six to eight children from the same class or session. ESF International Kindergarten children are encouraged to wear their uniform) for familiarity and conversations starters). Children are invited to a group interview, with three to four school staff members (usually the Year One teachers and Coordinator). Often the Special Needs Coordinator is also present. The interview usually begins with sharing a 'big book' together. Children are encouraged to listen and answer questions about the story as it unfolds. They may be asked to predict what happens next, discuss their favourite character or retell a little of the story. If the story has predictable or repetitive language, they may join in as the teacher reads the story. Following this, the children will be able to choose from a range of activities, such as construction sets and/or drawing whilst interacting with one another and the adults.
What Skills Are Important?
The teachers are looking for evidence that each child can understand and use enough English to allow him/her to access all areas of the curriculum once in the predominantly English environment of Primary School. They may chat to your child about their family, favourite toys or friends. The school staff are very experienced with encouraging and assessing your child's (English) language, in a relaxed and friendly manner.
What if My Child Does Not Get an Interview Date?
As the interview process unfolds, more spaces become available as other families do not accept this invitation for interview or placement. This process continues until all the available spaces have been filled.
"My child is extremely shy in new environments; What if he/she doesn't speak during the interview?"
The teachers are all professionals who understand that some children may be affected by the new process. They will give the children every opportunity to join in. Afterwards they will generally contact the Kindergarten to find out if this 'shyness' is a result of lack of English language ability or simply as a result of unfamiliar in new situations. We are professionally and ethically-bound to give a true and honest appraisal of your child.
What Follows the Interview?
Parents will be informed of results. Assuming success, a deposit is required to secure your child’s place. Please note:
• There is NO transfer between ESF Primary Schools ←→ ESF Private Independent Schools
• There is NO transfer between ESF Private Independent School ←→ ESF Private Independent School
What if My Child is Unsuccessful?
After two or more terms of attendance at the kindergarten prior to the interview, the kindergarten staff will have collected many observations and assessments of your child. Through reports, parent-teacher discussions and samples of work collected in the portfolios, your child's progress, and concerns if any, will be fully known to parents prior to the school interview. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the school interview will reveal any unexpected or new concerns, which may impact on school-entry.
No ESF Kindergarten child will be turned down without there having been discussion between the Primary school staff and the kindergarten. Teachers’ assessments will form the basis of a professional dialogue between the school and kindergarten to discuss your child's ability or readiness to attend an ESF Primary school in the upcoming academic year. The final decision, however, rests with the Primary school.
If it is thought that immaturity may be the cause of a child's poor performance, AND he/she has an autumn term birthday, then there may be some scope to offer him/her an opportunity to remain in kindergarten with a guaranteed interview for the following year.
How can I help my child develop his/her language skills?
Admission to an ESF Primary School depends on whether the applicant has sufficient grasp of English to be able to cope with an English medium curriculum. Look on the ESF website: www.esf.edu.hk for more details of language requirements - Year One. Please note, the requirements for Year One are primarily oral-based (speaking) skills. Therefore, the best way to prepare your child for a school interview, is to involve them in lots of conversations, with lots of different people. In short, confident and relaxed conversations to encourage extended sentences (not just one or two word responses).
• use descriptive language
• practise following instructions
• use social conventions (such as greetings, 'please' & 'thank you' and 'excuse me')
• express their ideas, feelings and needs
• talk about story-book characters, events and settings
• express imaginative ideas, and,
• ask for help or clarification if needed
More Fun Ways to Increase Your Child's Confidence
• Play 'I Spy' - as you travel on the bus, MTR, in the car or on the ferry. I spy with my little eye something beginning with...... Give your child the initial sound (not letter) of the word, making it far easier to guess and giving them an introduction to initial sounds in words!
Consider making your child their own photo album of important places and events. Encourage them to explain the photographs, and together write the child's descriptions below each photograph.
• After reading a book together, extend your child's imagination, and story-telling skills by thinking of an alternative ending, or extension to the story. To further extend this, encourage your child to illustrate, and 'write' down these story variations.
• When you are out shopping, point out signs and logos that you see in the environment. Recognising environmental print is another really good way to introduce children to early reading in an enjoyable and relaxed way! Try asking your child to find a particular (visually familiar) product on the supermarket shelves.
• Encourage more exposure English through other English speaking classes. ESF Educational Services (ESL) provides a range of English language classes and Sports programmes which are taught in English. For further information, please visit the relevant pages of the ESL website. English and Sport or call 2711 1280.
• Children often have favourite story-books which they love to read again and again and again. Encourage this by letting your child re-tell the story onto an audio tape or video. Encourage the use of repeated phrases, and to use intonation and expression. Ensure your child's spoken words align with the page and illustrations shown - that is, encourage your child to look for visual cues to prompt the story events for each page.
• Encourage your child to answer and talk on the telephone to family members and friends. Provide a pretend telephone to encourage imaginary phone-calls.
• Consider home-based 'show and tell' - for the whole family! Take turns at talking about particular objects or describing special events, listening to others and practise asking what? why? how? and who? questions.
• Remember interactive language exchanges (conversations) are far more effective for language development than monologue (listening to TV or a video, or solitary play). So instead of putting on a video, organise a play visit or a visit to the park for your child. The benefits; physically, socially and language-wise, are far greater than sitting and watching a television.
• Continue to support your child’s mother tongue development. A strong foundation in one language is crucial to enable the acquisition of a second language.