As playgroups in Hong Kong are not regulated by either the Education Department or Social Welfare Department, they do not have to adhere to the rigorous Nursery and Kindergarten safety standards demanded by these government departments.
Consequently, concern for your child’s safety becomes an important factor when choosing the right playgroup, especially when the playgroup offers unaccompanied classes for children under 6 years old. Before enrolling, it is important to consider these questions.
• Is the facility located in premises with adequate emergency exits to facilitate emergency evacuation? (Bear in mind that it is almost impossible to license a Nursery or Kindergarten facility located in multistory premises higher than the fourth floor, since it would be very difficult to satisfy the safety standards demanded by the government’s Building and Fire Departments).
• May I observe my children remotely at any time?
• Are all children required to have had immunizations as recommended by the Hong Kong Childhood Immunization Programme and is the staff required to have physical examinations?
• Does the facility appear orderly and clean?
• Are there age-appropriate toys in the classrooms?
• Are hazardous materials locked away?
• Do the premises adhere to the standards of hygiene prescribed by the Department of Health for cleaning and sanitizing equipment?
• Do the premises have an adequate fresh air system as prescribed for Nurseries and Kindergartens by the Department of Health?
• Is there an emergency plan and is it posted?
• Is there a policy for sick children and other circumstances?
• What is the teacher-to-child ratio?
• Is the management happy to show you the license for their programs or other certification?
• Is the management happy to share with you a list of current and/ or former parents’ testimonials?
• Do the children have a consistent routine that they can understand and follow?