Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiwan

An independent forum to discuss schools in Taiwan, including TES and TAS. Past, present, and future parents, teachers, and administrators, along with other interested Forumosans are welcome.

Moderator: stevef

Forum rules
This website and forum are independent of any schools. Please review Forumosa’s policies here http://policy.forumosa.com/ Criticizing specific parents, teachers, or administrators is best handled in person, rather than in this anonymous forum.

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby asiababy » 12 Oct 2010, 08:12

My children also attend a small, public country school like the one kaikapati describes. 65 kids from preschool to 6th grade, six kids in my son's first grade. Three of those six have non-local mothers (Vietnam, Phillipines, NZ). It's not a beautiful school but it's a place where my son, who did not like the large class of 27 in preschool at all, is content and confident. And they have fresh meals and snacks made right before they eat them, everyday. I think the locals think we are a bit mad to choose this school over the choices we had in Muzha, but there are so many pluses for us. The main one being, my children have all the support they need to keep up, and maybe even excel, in the language areas. Another one being, with so few kids, the teacher can cover a lot more work and have special activities (art, music, nature) , and still not have so much homework. There is just more time for individual attention.

Most of these schools have "open" enrolment policies. For example, anyone in Keelung (Jilong) can enrol in our school.

Some options in the city are Gongguan Elementary and Bao Jia Elementary. These have been written about before in this forum somewhere.
Family-friendly events and destinations Taiwan-wide. http://kidzone-tw.blogspot.com/
Looking for like-minded parents, a friendly space to take your kids, and classes for English-speaking children? http://www.parentsplace.com.tw
asiababy
Martyr's Shrine Guard (zhōngliècí wèibīng)
Martyr's Shrine Guard (zhōngliècí wèibīng)
 
Posts: 1774
Joined: 17 Mar 2004, 11:56
Location: A hill in Keelung
2 Recommends(s)
45 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby Petrichor » 12 Oct 2010, 14:45

asiababy wrote:My children also attend a small, public country school like the one kaikapati describes. 65 kids from preschool to 6th grade, six kids in my son's first grade. Three of those six have non-local mothers (Vietnam, Phillipines, NZ). It's not a beautiful school but it's a place where my son, who did not like the large class of 27 in preschool at all, is content and confident. And they have fresh meals and snacks made right before they eat them, everyday. I think the locals think we are a bit mad to choose this school over the choices we had in Muzha, but there are so many pluses for us. The main one being, my children have all the support they need to keep up, and maybe even excel, in the language areas. Another one being, with so few kids, the teacher can cover a lot more work and have special activities (art, music, nature) , and still not have so much homework. There is just more time for individual attention.

Most of these schools have "open" enrolment policies. For example, anyone in Keelung (Jilong) (Jilong) can enrol in our school.

Some options in the city are Gongguan Elementary and Bao Jia Elementary. These have been written about before in this forum somewhere.


I've pm'd Kaipakati separately but these schools sound really wonderful and ideally suited to the older foreign child, who could easily be lost, or worse, the focus of negative attention of large classes of local kids.

Perhaps the OP could look into something similar in Kaohsuing?

But can I ask where you think your children will be going once they leave Elementary school?
Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

http://talesfromthebeautifulisle.blogspot.com/
Forumosan avatar
Petrichor
Bird Walker (liù niǎo de rén)
 
Posts: 1429
Joined: 22 Dec 2008, 04:30
Location: Muzha
82 Recommends(s)
84 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby kaipakati » 12 Oct 2010, 15:43

Mine went on to a "special" class in a normal middle high school.. and once again loved it. I don't think she would have enjoyed so much being in an ordinary class... but she's a special kid. <g> Lots of middle highs specialize in something - drama, art, music, etc. Means the kids get PUSHED in only one direction - which is fine if that's the direction they love. For her, it was sport, and she had a couple of great years of not having to do much except excel at running around... which she naturally excels at. :lol After that, I insisted that she had to "LEARN" something, and coughed up the dough to send her to highly expensive (and excellent) international school. Which she has just dropped out of... :cry: And now she's headed (of her own volition) back to a local vocational high school to study languages and tour guiding..

Every child is different. What suits one may not suit another. But I think local schools, even middle high and high schools, shouldn't just be rejected out of hand, because they are local. There are some positive aspects. They certainly won't suit some kids, but may well suit others.

This post was recommended by LAguy (13 Nov 2013, 14:40)
Rating: 5.88%
Forumosan avatar
kaipakati
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
 
Posts: 131
Joined: 19 Feb 2008, 10:59
5 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby Petrichor » 12 Oct 2010, 16:08

kaipakati wrote:
Every child is different. What suits one may not suit another. But I think local schools, even middle high and high schools, shouldn't just be rejected out of hand, because they are local. There are some positive aspects. They certainly won't suit some kids, but may well suit others.


You're absolutely right Kaipakati. The trick is finding the right school for your child.

I really appreciate the help so many posters have offered in telling of their own experiences. Going to live in another country can be traumatic for children, especially as they get older, and the advice and knowledge offered on this thread has been invaluable to me. I still can't be sure we will pick absolutely the right school when we come, but at least we'll be in a much better position, knowing what the possibilities are.

We were explaining to my son's current teacher that we'll be away visiting Taiwan soon and he told her that he would miss her because she's a nice teacher. Poor thing, he thought we were moving permanently, not just coming for a visit this time!
Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

http://talesfromthebeautifulisle.blogspot.com/
Forumosan avatar
Petrichor
Bird Walker (liù niǎo de rén)
 
Posts: 1429
Joined: 22 Dec 2008, 04:30
Location: Muzha
82 Recommends(s)
84 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby asiababy » 14 Oct 2010, 07:59

But can I ask where you think your children will be going once they leave Elementary school?


We don't plan too much beyond three years, so there is no definite plan. There are so many variables and things that can happen between first grade and sixth, with the kids and in our lives. We don't have plans to put them into international school in Taiwan, and we don't have dreams of them going to any particular university or college anywhere in particular, if they want to go to the higher education route. They are still pretty young, so it really hasn't come up for discussion yet.
Family-friendly events and destinations Taiwan-wide. http://kidzone-tw.blogspot.com/
Looking for like-minded parents, a friendly space to take your kids, and classes for English-speaking children? http://www.parentsplace.com.tw
asiababy
Martyr's Shrine Guard (zhōngliècí wèibīng)
Martyr's Shrine Guard (zhōngliècí wèibīng)
 
Posts: 1774
Joined: 17 Mar 2004, 11:56
Location: A hill in Keelung
2 Recommends(s)
45 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby beckypeiyu » 21 Oct 2010, 13:51

Hi, I'm new here.
I happened to have some information about your question.
Please check this out: http://taiwanwhatsup.immigration.gov.tw ... blishNo=52 Foreign students eligible for public school enrollment 外籍人士子女在台就學 選擇多元化

This is one of the topics that our newsletter used to cover. However, all these schools in the newsletter are in Taipei or Hsinchu.
In Kaohsiung, unfortunately, I just called and asked the Education Bureau in the city government, they don't have this kind of “Language Education Classes” in the public schools.

I found a web link to all the international schools in Kaohsiung: http://boe.kh.edu.tw/releaseRedirect.do ... ageID=3946
maybe one of them can fit in your needs.

Hope this helps.

Becky
beckypeiyu
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Oct 2010, 23:12

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby Petrichor » 26 Oct 2010, 13:40

asiababy wrote:
But can I ask where you think your children will be going once they leave Elementary school?


We don't plan too much beyond three years, so there is no definite plan. There are so many variables and things that can happen between first grade and sixth, with the kids and in our lives. We don't have plans to put them into international school in Taiwan, and we don't have dreams of them going to any particular university or college anywhere in particular, if they want to go to the higher education route. They are still pretty young, so it really hasn't come up for discussion yet.


Thanks asiababy. I'm far more anal than you, and need to have a plan for the next 10 years at least! :)

Well, we just got back from a holiday in Taipei and I thought I would tell of our experiences.

With limited time available and other things to do, as well as the desire to actually have some kind of holiday, we decided to restrict our school visits to four and to try to cover the different types on offer.

The first school we visited was TES. This is on a large site which is in a different part of the city from the secondary campus. The building was the largest for an elementary school I've ever seen and it easily had the best equipment and facilities of the four. They're also building a swimming pool in the grounds, though it won't be ready for 3 years. This school had everything you would expect of an international school - wide curriculum, school buses, foreign teachers, lots of clubs etc. However, we didn't feel it was for us. One of the main reasons for our plans to move to Taiwan is so that our boy can learn Mandarin, and it was clear that just wouldn't happen if he attended this school. The children do two hours of Chinese a week and the language of instruction is English, so he definitely wouldn't be taught any useful level of Chinese and nor would he pick it up through being in an environment where Mandarin is used extensively.

As a school, the staff were friendly (one British teacher chatted to us in the corridor) but one thing that struck me was how quiet it was. I don't think I heard a child all the time we were there, and it takes a while to walk over the whole building! Clearly we just had a snapshot of what goes on, but to me it seemed quite a controlled environment and so probably not suitable for our rather boisterous boy anyway. I think maybe for secondary school we may be looking at international schools again but not for the time being.

The second school we went to see was the mountain school. This was a surprise visit and the children were at lunch and the teachers in a meeting, so we made an appointment to come back the next week. Unfortunately the day we were supposed to go back the mountain schools were all closed due to heavy rain and the very next day we flew home so we didn't manage to have a good look. I have emailed the English teacher with some questions I hadn't asked the first time round but so far she hasn't replied.

What we did manage to see was very positive. The air is noticeably cleaner up the mountain and the children learn about their natural environment and have a vegetable garden, as well as studying a curriculum. The difference in resources compared to TES is marked. For example, TES had a suite of about 40 up to the minute PCs, whereas the mountain school had two, only one of which worked! However, in terms of achieving our goal of placing our son in an environment where he would learn Mandarin it was ideal. The English teacher's English was good but I don't think that of the rest of the staff is, judging from the way I panicked them when I phoned them up. Also, my son's very young for his school year so he could conceivably go in a Grade 1, where Mandarin reading and writing instruction begins in earnest and he wouldn't be too far behind. The mountain school children (according to Taiwanese friends) are unlikely to have done much at Kindergarten.

The only problem is that I'm not sure how welcome an application from a foreigner child would be. The English teacher seemed to be trying to put us off (in a very pleasant way of course). She implied the prospect of extra help for our boy was doubtful and seemed generally uncertain about the idea. Also, I take the fact that she hasn't replied to my email as an attempt to put us off. It's understandable of course, having a foreigner child is going to make things more difficult for everyone, and who are we to come to Taiwan and expect the public school system to support a foreign child? Anyway, despite these problems, I think this may be the school we try to enrol him at when we return in August next year. It would be great to have him breathing that clean air for much of the day and I feel a small school would be a more supportive environment, even though he may not get extra help.

The third school we saw was Xinsheng Elementary school, which is one of two public schools mentioned in the article linked to in Beckypeiyu's post. These are two public Taipei schools that that have been set up to take non-Mandarin-speaking children in order to improve their language. Xinsheng itself is in Da'an but any child living in the city districts can attend, though there is no school bus. Parents apply to have their children transferred from whatever catchment school is in their area. They have a weird timetable, which is 8 - 12.30 every day except Tuesdays, where the school day ends at four, with no after school care I think (this isn't particularly relevant for us but it may make a difference if both parents are working full time).

This looked like a normal public elementary school from what we saw (we didn't get offered a tour). The difference is that foreign children get specific tuition in Mandarin to bring them up to speed with local children. The only things that put us off this school were that we would be restricted to living within commuting distance of the school when we really wanted to live further out, and the fact that children can only stay there a maximum of two years before they're transferred back to their local school. I don't want to put my boy through the trauma of uprooting him from his school here, moving to Taiwan and putting him in a new school for a year or two then uprooting him again to go to another school, make new friends etc. Otherwise, this school would be great because of the support the children get in learning Mandarin, and the fact that he wouldn't be the only foreigner child there.

Finally we visiting the school at the top of Aleegulotty's list she kindly wrote out. This was the Fuxing Elementary school, or Lih Jen I think it's also called. This was a really lovely private school that is a bit cheaper than TES and also in Da'an (like Xinsheng). This school has a very long school day, 8 - 4 every day and they have buses from everywhere just about it seems. All the children (there is a mixture of foreign and local children) are taught for half of the school day in Mandarin and the other half in English. Non-Mandarin-speaking children receive 8 hours of Mandarin tuition a week in small classes of four to eight children.

We felt this school was a welcoming place and that the staff were very professional but caring. Once again, though, the location put us off.There are children enrolled there who bus in from as far away as Danshui, but it would be a very long day indeed for them. There is even quite a long commute for children from Tianmu due to the traffic. Also, the English programme is so good I'm not really confident about how much Mandarin my boy would learn, though I'm probably being picky.

So there we go, massive post but I hope it has given others some insight on what there is on offer generally in Taipei at least and so some idea of enquiries that could be made in other parts of Taiwan. As I said, I think we will be foisting ourselves on the mountain school, what with the clean air, short commute and largely Mandarin-only environment. It was by far the poorest school in terms of resources but we can supply the extras outside of school time so that's no problem for us. Taiwanese friends were divided as to which was best. One opinion was that city schools are better because they're better resourced, whereas others advocated the mountain school because children should be allowed to have a childhood (guess that's the voice of the schoolchild who was burnt out at 14 :wink: ).
Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

http://talesfromthebeautifulisle.blogspot.com/
Forumosan avatar
Petrichor
Bird Walker (liù niǎo de rén)
 
Posts: 1429
Joined: 22 Dec 2008, 04:30
Location: Muzha
82 Recommends(s)
84 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby kaipakati » 27 Oct 2010, 13:03

Hi Petrichor,
Wow! Great report!

Shame that Datun was closed on the day you were supposed to visit again. Yes, they ARE poor in resources, but SOOOOO rich in warmth and family feeling. We never experienced any negative effects from the lacks. As you say, we can provide all the extra's ourselves.

I can strongly assure you, the school has NOTHING against taking foreign students with no Chinese. They have an official open policy, and most if not all of the teachers there are extremely supportive. Especially if the child is starting in Grade 1, for the reason you mention. They're just starting to learn and use pobomofo, so it's a perfect time to start. My daughter started in grade four, and it was much harder, because they were already beginning to change over to characters without the pobomofo, so she mostly had to learn from earlier books, hence the need for more special classes and one on one teaching.

Some of their classes may be full now, usually kindergarten I think. In that case they'll only accept students from the school district. But most classes need extra students - that way the school earns more resources. Foreign students can officially qualify as "two" students, and so gain twice the level of funding. The school is actively seeking any special needs students, as a way of keeping class sizes low and funding up. The principal when I last spoke to him was really interested in "advertising" for more foreigners. They also appreciate the added richness that having international students brings, and encourage them to share language and culture with their schoolmates. I remember on "world" day.. our daughters class decided to take advantage of us and represent New Zealand.. so I got roped in to going up to teach a Maori song, and we provided a calf (really!) and assistance to cook kiwi food.

An Australian friend of mine who lives here in Beitou considered sending her two children there last year (changing from TES - she's very disappointed that her children haven't really learnt any Mandarin in three or four years here, and concerned about the "elite" aspect of being in an international school.) She went up,(with an appointment) met the teachers and principal, was warmly welcomed, and her children were invited to "try out" for a week while TES was on holiday. They did, and absolutely loved it. Son was grade two, daughter grade four or five. In the end, daughter was too firmly ensconced in TES social life and didn't want to change, much to mother's disappointment.

The week try out policy is extended to any children who think they might want to attend Datun - local or foreign. Many tried out while our two girls were there. Most stayed after the week was over.

The English teacher (if she's still the same one) does come across as kind of stiff and standoffish. I think she's just shy, fairly junior in the school, and very concerned about whether her English is correct enough. lol. She's sweet really though.
You'll be needing to see the student welfare/enrolments person, who is warm and friendly and speaks only a liiiitle English.. and they'll ask the English teacher, or someone, to translate, if neccessary.

There could be any number of reasons for non-reply to your email. My advice is don't let that put you off at all. It doesn't mean anything important, except that they can't be relied on to reply to emails in English. :lol:

Best of luck!
Forumosan avatar
kaipakati
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
 
Posts: 131
Joined: 19 Feb 2008, 10:59
5 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby kaipakati » 27 Oct 2010, 13:08

Oh... about the weird school day :lol:
All public schools have that. Your son, being grade one or two, would only have a full day on Tuesday. I forgot how it goes after that, but it's not until grade six that the kids stay till four every day except Friday. I LOVE it. My kids LOVED it! But yes.. leaves you with a prob if both working.
Forumosan avatar
kaipakati
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
Breakfast Store Laoban (zǎocān diàn lǎobǎn)
 
Posts: 131
Joined: 19 Feb 2008, 10:59
5 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Please give me your advice on my kids' education in Taiw

Postby Feiren » 27 Oct 2010, 13:10

Yes, it's very unusual for a person working for a public institution to reply to any email, let alone one in English.
Feiren
Former City Mayor (qiánrèn shìzhǎng)
Former City Mayor (qiánrèn shìzhǎng)
 
Posts: 4887
Joined: 05 Jan 2002, 17:01
Location: Drum Tower
4 Recommends(s)
198 Recognized(s)

6000

PreviousNext




Return to Schools



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: No Forumosans and 0 visitors

An all-too-common scenario: I hand you a cup of coffee and say, 'Cream and sugar?' You say, 'What?' I say, 'Cream and sugar?' You say, 'What?' Come on, people. What do you think we're going to ask after we've handed you coffee? Your favorite color?
From "13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You"