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East Mountain Kindergarten

On Tuesday, we went to check out East Mountain Kindergarten. A few people have said it is one of the better ones in the city so we (Schäfer and I) figured it was worth a peak. After touring two other kindergartens, I now know a little more of what to expect.

Welcome to the East Mountain Kindergarten!

This is the daily schedule. Yes, it goes from 6:30am to 9:30pm because they currently have 18 children who board.

The cost for a day student is 2075 rmb ($300) per semester.

Since I’m focused on finding a morning Chinese language learning environment I’ll give you the skinny.

About 8:10 the bus unloads all the kids. Since this school is further away, we’d have to either pay for the school’s private bus to come get Schäfer or we’d have to take a private taxi to/from. There’s no public bus to this school.

Between 8:10 and 10:20 there are some activities. Maybe it’s playing. Maybe it’s painting. Maybe it’s listening to music.

Then, from 10:20 -10: 40 they have Chinese class.

After class, they clean-up and eat lunch.

This school also has many additional activities which cost extra money. They are known for their dance program.

I liked their large classrooms. The ratio is 25 students to 3 teachers which is very good. Beds are conveniently stacked in the back for nap time. This is the first individual art work I’ve seen in any of the schools we’ve toured.

This school has an English teacher and she was very excited to love on Schäfer. I’m trying to find a school with no English teacher because I don’t want the teacher to translate for him all day.

Each child has their own cup.

Each child has their own towel.

The playground was nice.

After the tour, I determined pretty quickly that we’d be going to the kindergarten closest to our home because:

  • it’s within walking distance
  • there is no English teacher
  • there are no TV’s in the 3-year-old class
  • we already know a few children who will probably go there
  • they’ve seemed really flexible and willing to work with our idea of only going a few hours each day

I wanted to look at one more kindergarten, but at this point I think I’m done.

So, I’m kind of running into a problem with a friend who really wants her son and Schäfer to be classmates…so her son can improve his English.

The pressure for these kids to have excellent English skills starts young. He’s 2 years and 5 months to be exact. And at this point, Schäfer speaks more Chinese than he does. (He’s not very verbal, but I think it’s due to him getting what he wants by grunting.)

Anyway, she really wants her son to be in the same kindergarten as Schäfer. She thinks that the kindergarten closest to us “doesn’t teach the kids anything.” (Note: all of the university professors send their kids there.)  She really wants her son to go to the East Mountain Kindergarten we just visited.

I, however, have no interest in putting Schäfer on a bus at 7am to get to school at 8:10am just to pass the time until their first class at 10:20. He’s not even 3!

So, somehow I have to tell her that we’ll be doing to the local kindergarten, but she should feel free to send her child to whatever school she thinks best. Although, I feel like whatever my decision is that will be her decision too.

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