Frequently Asked Questions

Applications / Registrations

1. When should we apply for activity group / playgroup?

Families should apply to playgroup at least two months in advance of attending. Prior to coming they can adjust the child’s nap and meal times to fit the time of their class in order to keep their routines consistent and get the best out of their experience.

2. When should we apply for nursery?

Nursery is a special level in that it is rolling enrollment, meaning children can join from whenthey turn two years of age, regardless of when their birth month falls. For our playgroupchildren, they will be given special admission to join into class from when they turn of age and can move directly from playgroup into the Nursery program. They can do this directly after their second birthday. For children not in our playgroup, they should enroll during our admission periods online and schedule an observation with our teachers.

3. When should we apply for kindergarten?

For our nursery children, they will be given special acceptance to join into kindergarten class. They can do this directly online during our new school’s year admission period, which is typically at the beginning of September the year prior, provided they are at least 2 years and eight month old by the start of school year.  For children not in our nursery, they should enroll during our admission periods online during the month of Sep / Oct the year prior to beginning of the school’s year and schedule an observation with our teachers.

4. If my child begins in playgroup / nursery and wants to continue to nursery / kindergarten program, do I have the priority to get into the Program? Do I have to apply again?

Yes you will have priority to get into the program. During your time in playgroup, our teachers have been keeping observations on your child’s progress, which will be used in place of any kind of interview or observation to let us know exactly where your child is developmentally, what kind of learner they are, and what their interests are.

5. How many children are in each class?

For Infant and TAG classes, the maximum number of children is 10 and there are always 2 teachers in the classroom to maintain a maximum of 5:1 student to teacher ratio. The language teacher is responsible for teaching the curriculum and the classroom teacher assists the language teacher as needed.

For NSY & K 1-3, the maximum number of children varies depending on the classroom size and school, but even in the largest classrooms, Tutor Time will maintain no more than an 9:1 student to teacher ratio.

6. Where do the kids come from?

We are truly an international school. Our family backgrounds vary greatly, with over 30% coming from overseas and roughly 70% local and Mainland families. While we value diversity, all enrollments are still on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each specific class make-up varies simply depending on scheduling.

7. How will Tutor Time prepare my child for future school?

  • Children study ALL of the key subjects, in both languages; Science, Math, Literacy, Geography, Art, Physical Education and more, which is great preparation for all the subjects they will learn at primary school.
  • Our curriculum is from America and follows in line with American Common Core objectives, but it’s not specific for American schools. We’ve taken the best components and tailored the rest to prepare your children for a variety of primary schools, including international/local or English stream/ Chinese stream.
  • Our curriculum also emphasizes both IQ and EQ development and we have a special program dedicated to SEL.

8. How can my child adapt to a local school after studying in an International Kindergarten?

Our curriculum is designed to prepare your child for both the international and local school primary stream. By developing a strong foundation in literacy, math, social skills, and school readiness skills, your child will be ready for any primary school. As we focus on the whole child and build lots of independence in our children, our students tend to develop strong growth mindsets that prepare them for any future challenge.

9. What are your primary school enrolment statistics?

Different parents have different primary school preferences based on number of factors such as desired language of instruction, location, rank, and so on. Our objective is to assist our parents and students in getting into their number 1 choice. Based on our data from the last 5 years, around 75% of our students go to International schools and roughly 25% study at a local school. You can find these statistics located in all of our campuses and our website.

Fully Immersive Bi-lingual English and Mandarin Curriculum

1. How does it work?

Our curriculum is facilitated through complete immersive environments in each language, meaning that your child will learn in classrooms where the language being taught are the only one being used. Our teachers will facilitate lessons as though the children are native speakers and use proper speaking pace when instructing in order to allow for our children to have fluency in both receptive and productive skills. Your child spend half of their learning time in English and half in Mandarin. For our half day students, this means you will have 1.5 hours of English daily and 1.5 hours of Mandarin. For full day students, the time is doubled. The curriculum is designed so that the target language in each language follows a different topic and includes a different set of vocabulary in order to strengthen skills in each language without confusing the students. It will also allow for review of previous concepts in other languages to be done later on in the alternate language, further strengthening these concepts. Your classroom teacher will be with your child the entire school day and will only use the language being taught. Their main focus is to observe your child in both languages and see if there are any discrepancies or anything the teachers can do to support your child’s growth.

2. How is our curriculum compared to IB?

Our LifeSmart curriculum focuses on developing the whole child, ensuring a balance between traditional academics and important traits like creativity, critical thinking, and health. Through identifying each child’s unique ‘smarts’, our curriculum ensures that your child will be well-equipped to tackle any primary school program, whether that is at local schools or international schools, which mostly use IB.

3. How do Tutor Time children transition to local primary schools?

Regardless of which school type your child goes to, there will always be a period of adjustment. A new school means new environment, new friends, new teachers, and a new schedule, which will undoubtedly have an effect on your child. Tutor Time students will have the skills and knowledge to be successful in any type of primary school, but they will still need a lot of support when entering a new environment. The best way to help them transition is to get them used to the routine they will experience in their local school.

4. Why don't you teach Cantonese?

Tutor Time was one of the first fully immersive bilingual English and Mandarin schools in Hong Kong. Learning languages in addition to Cantonese is not only beneficial for being a globalized individual, it also spurs early brain development. We believe in preparing children for their future in primary schools and beyond. Through teaching Mandarin and English, your child will be able to achieve the skills necessary to be successful in the interview process and have the necessary oral, literacy, cognitive, and social-emotional skills to feel confident. Furthermore, living in Hong Kong, your child will likely be exposed to Cantonese in their day-to-day life.

5. What language should we use at home?

It is very important to establish a dominant language and use it at home as the primary means of communication. This language will depend on your family and your plans for your child. For example, if you plan to move to Canada in two years, you might choose English to be your child’s dominant language, but if you plan to remain in Hong Kong permanently, you may choose Cantonese. The main important thing to consider is keeping a dominant language at home and then when teaching secondary languages, doing them in an immersive way, such as dedicating some time for each language throughout the week.

6. What is the most commonly used language between children at school?

As we use immersion, our children will usually communicate in the language being taught. As our teachers are always engaging with them, even during play, they will use the language they know the teacher will understand. For Nursery children, who are still developing the skills to orally communicate, they will use nonverbal cues and often begin to use short responses in the language being taught in class. With their peers, at this age children are still in what we call the egotistical stage of development are are still learning appropriate interactions and often will use non verbal communication together when beginning to interact. They may try to use their dominant languages first, but will be encouraged by teachers to use the language of the class.

7. My parents / helper will attend the playgroup and cannot speak any English or mandarin. Will this affect my child's progress?

This is very common and not a problem. The teachers will encourage your child to use the language being taught and we have our classroom teachers who can speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese so they can help to explain to any guardians who do not understand the instructions so they can participate with your baby.

8. Are children from non-Chinese speaking families at a disadvantage in the class compared to other children?

At this age children are like sponges for information. They will absorb a lot just from being in the environment. Reception skills will also develop before productive skills, so you may notice your child responding correctly without using any Chinese. For example, your Mandarin teacher might tell the children to stand up and your child does so before the teacher visually demonstrates, or they might point out the correct color when asked even though they cannot yet say the correct Mandarin word. Your teachers would happily help point you to resources for use at home as well in order to review anything from class as we are always happy to support our families.

9. What is each teacher responsible for?

The Language Teacher is dedicated to creating and executing the lesson in either English or Mandarin. They are responsible for observation during small group time and guiding the students’ growth.

The Classroom Teacher is a certified Child Care Worker and Qualified Kindergarten Teacher. She will be responsible for the well-being of the children, communication with the parents, classroom safety, and assist the language teacher as needed.

The Classroom Assistant is responsible for teaching life skills. They will be in charge of teaching important skill such as toilet training, dressing oneself, and building independence. They make sure the children wash their hands with soap and follows proper methods, changes diapers, helps teach toilet training, and keeps the classroom sanitized and clean.

10. What are the teachers’ qualifications?

All of our teachers hold a bachelor’s degree and have previous teaching experience with young children. They all receive extensive in-house training from our Tutor Time Curriculum Team prior to teaching your children and are continually monitored throughout the year by our team. All of our Language Teachers (English and Mandarin) are native speakers and all of our Classroom Teachers are certified Child Care Workers and Kindergarten Teachers in Hong Kong. All Class Teachers are trilingual so that they can communicate with any guardian in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English.

11. What type of Mandarin do you teach?

We teach Traditional Mandarin, and all of our Mandarin teachers are native speakers.

12. What are the benefits of having an outdoor playground? (BH, SF, KT)

  • Variety when playing – alternate daily from inside to outside.
  • Children learn to ride tricycles and use trampoline – gross motor skills
  • A park isn’t safe for young children as ages are mixed. We do not have mixed aged playtime.
  • Public playgrounds are not sanitized daily to ensure safety. Our playgrounds are sanitized after each session.
  • The sun provides important vitamins and fresh air and free play reduces stress level.
  • Children that participate in unstructured outdoor play are more likely to explore new areas and participate in imaginative play
  • Unstructured outdoor playhelps kids learn to take turns, share and develop other positive behavioural skills

13. Will learning multiple languages confuse my child?

The most recent research shows that children exposed to multiple languages before 2 years of age have more neural activity and display better executive functions than children in single language environments. As an international school we have students with a variety of mother tongues that are already learning 3 or 4 languages, while being able to communicate clearly with others.

14. I don’t think my child will be able to sit during Circle Time. What should I do?

Don’t worry! One of the main goals of the Language Teachers is to be engaging and exciting to draw the child’s attention to the lesson. However, we will never force a child to sit at any activity. If the child really does not want to sit in the circle, they can go to the tables or walk behind the circle if needed. Children are very smart and can still be listening to the teacher while doing something else. The pace of circle time is quick, which is age-appropriate, so you might be surprised by your child’s ability to sit with their classmates.

First day of school

1.What do I need to prepare for my child’s first day of school?

The items required for children's first day at school are fairly straightforward-inside shoes, a water bottle, a spare change of clean clothes, diapers, wetwipes and any other items required for toileting. All children are provided with a cubby drawer so that all these items may be kept inside the classroom.

2. How long does it take for children to get used to unaccompanied class and what can parents do to help?

As children start their Tutor Time journey, we understand that it takes time for children to adjust to independent learning for the first time. Our teachers are committed to making this period as easy and comfortable a transition as possible for both students and parents. Teachers will be in frequent contact with families to keep them up to date with their child's progress, so that they can continue to provide support at home as necessary.

3. Does my child need to ______ before starting class?

A. be potty trained
— Children are not required to be toilet trained before starting at Tutor Time. All unaccompanied classes include a direct access to the toilet and Classroom Assistant, who have the responsibility to assist children in the toilet regardless of their ability- from changing diapers if required, to just helping them to wash hands. In practice, toilet training is a natural process that occurs organically as the children progress through the class. Teachers and parents will remain in frequent contact concerning the readiness and toilet training progress of each student.

B. be able to sit / stand / walk
— Children do not need to sit, stand or walk before joining the class. There is
always a guardian in the class to support the child and help them move around the activities. All the classes and activities on offer are age-appropriate and the children in the class will be of similar ability. We usually find that the younger children in the class learn these skill much faster through observation and imitation of the older children and their abilities.

C. speak Mandarin and / or speak English
— All Tutor Time classes are bilingual in English and Mandarin, but our students come from a multitude of language backgrounds. Our curriculum and program aims to support children regardless of their initial ability levels.

Health and Safety

1. How does Tutor Time stand apart from other schools in terms of safety?

All campuses are on ground level which not only meets The Education Bureau’s requirements, it’s also optimal in the event of a fire or other emergencies. We also have directly accessible washrooms for every classroom, which is important for the safety, convenience and privacy of the children.

We sanitize classrooms thoroughly in between class sessions and close the school for deep sterilization twice daily, once in midday from noon to one and again at the end of the day from after pick up to closing.

We have a special safety captain at every school who is certified in First Aid and ensures all areas of the school are stocked with proper supplies in case of any emergency.

We have furniture designed for specific age groups and our facilities are equipped with cameras in every class room that allow parents to livestream their class to their homes in order to provide full transparency to our families and ensure they feel comfortable.

2. How do you maintain the cleanliness of the school?

We always take temperatures and sanitize hands on arrival. If a child or staff member has a temperature of over 37.5, they go home. Everyone wears indoor shoes to ensure cleanliness. We use a 1:99 bleach-to-water solution to sanitize all toys and equipment daily. We have a full-time cleaning staff to ensure that everything is as clean as possible. All our schools also have a fresh air ventilation system to ensure proper air circulation.

3. What is the Sick Policy?

Sick policy: If we notice any symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, colored mucus and so on, the child’s parents will be notified, and they will be sent home. We require doctor’s notes for clearance.

4. What additional measures do you have in place during this time?

Tutor Time already had a lot of safety measures in place such as taking temperature upon arrival of all guardians and students and sanitizing hands on arrival. Our first routine with children has been washing hands when coming to class and this remains in place. Additionally, Tutor Time has always closed the school between AM and PM session from 12:00-13:15 daily for sterilization and again does a deep sanitation at the end of the day, but now we also sanitize materials in between each class session for our little ones, such as every 45 minutes for our toddler classes.

All classrooms are disinfected using UV light sanitization at the end of every day. All sensory tables are currently closed, and we use individual sensory trays instead. All soft toys and materials are sent for washing and soft pieces/mats and gym equipment are sterilized after each use.

Snack Time is currently suspended for all programs. All students and parents are required to wear either a mask or a face shield at all times when visiting the school.

5. What are the arrangements for government-mandated school closure?

Tutor Time is well prepared for mandatory suspensions by the government. We scaffold our approaches to virtual learning to be age appropriate for each of our levels.We can promise that we will do the absolute best to make sure your child is safe and also receiving quality education if we are ever prevented from holding full in class lessons. Tutor Time has a very systematic and organized approach for learning virtually and at home. We hold live bilingual Zoom lessons daily. Additionally, our teachers create art packets for pick up at the school with daily crafts and fine motor exercises to match the curriculum’s art and motor skills objectives. Teachers also send you links to our virtual learning platform which will include weekly English and Mandarin recorded lessons, digital learning materials and worksheets, and an e-book that is uploaded every Friday that ties with the theme of the week’s lessons. Additionally, we will send your child’s workbook(s) home and each week the teachers will assign different pages of work that will be collected at the end of each month for checking and supporting students where they see gaps in fine motor, cognitive, or writing development.

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