We had our child during Covid and there was alot of trial and error trying to find the right Hong Kong playgroups that had a great programme, but didn’t impose masks policies for children under 3.
MyGym is a beautiful space with a very inflexible policy which left us traumatised. My 18m old was kept outside behind the gate for the full 50 minutes wanting the kids (read: cruel) because he wouldn’t wear a mask. Despite all my efforts, I didn’t succeed in getting him to wear a mask, so we had to drop out of the season we committed to and they made an exception to allow me to transfer some of my credits of the full term. 💸
Casita is a second home
This was our second home when my son was an infant. Apart from a great indoor play area, I truly love their community spirit: it’s inclusive, kind and nurturing. Everyone working there is super lovely. Music, movement and lots of fun fun, along with shelves of curated toys and books on rotation – what’s not to love? They’ve even thrown in drinks and snacks on the house. I first got acquainted with Raissa, one of their founders when she was conducting zumbini classes in our homes during Covid before they opened their studio.
They’re now also running bilingual English and Mandarin classes and you can enroll your child from 6 months old and up. It’s also our favourite spot for wet weather plans. Play passes are sold by session for 120HKD or you can purchase a bundle and drop in anytime you like. Enrolled students for the term play for free.
We love their annual Halloween themed party as well as literary month in September where selected authors come read their books to the children and there’s additional activities for play.
Best In Class Sensory Play Little Nature Wanderlust
I am a big fan of Barbie’s sensory play kits. She dreams up and creates these amazing custom themed sets for all occasions. We booked a sensory play package for toddler’s first birthday party and it was a hit. They arrive, set up and then come back 3 hours later to pack up and clean up. I love doing Little Nature Wanderlust’s outdoor classes at Tamar Park.
We took the safari animals themed sensory bins set.
Barbie is launching a Chinese New Year themed playgroup which is looking like alot of fun. She caters to private parties – which would be fun if I manage to get 10 kids our way.
Great toys and programme : Bimbo Concept x baumhaus
I love what Bimbo Concept has done adding lots of choices in the kids retail space for gifting as well as their pop up at The Upper House. We participate in the annual Easter event by Bimbo Concept.
They have moved their playroom to Pacific Place apartments just across from The Upper House in Admiralty where they run classes in partnership with Baumhaus. We did a term at Baumhaus but toddler didn’t enjoy the classes so we didn’t continue.
They also have an indoor playroom, but during Covid it was very confusing and complicated getting a booking just to play there and were turned away twice because we didn’t have a booking even though the playroom was empty (I get it that there was a class going to be dismissed in the next 30 minutes). We then never went back. The fees are also inconsistent sometimes I paid 100HKD and other times less because we are existing students, I didn’t pursue the matter to clarify since we didn’t go back.
Hail Montessori : Guidepost Hong Kong
We love this place. A VC funded project with branches of the school in Bali, Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, Guidepost continues to grow their footprint.
The teachers and adminstrative staff are amazing and they put the children and parents first – there’s compassion, flexibility and so much kindness. The community is supportive, inclusive, nurturing and kind. The Montessori programme here is fidel, its bilingual programme celebrates the different festivities in Hong Kong throughout the year.
Putting the children first
I LOVED that they were not militant mask freaks during the pandemic. I was so anxious after the traumatic experience with Mygym and I was afraid my son would be socially isolated because he wouldn’t wear a mask and wouldn’t be able to participate in any social activities or even go outside for that matter!
Lateral fee structure
There are no hidden fees. You pay monthly with a month deposit. No debenture, fundraising, donations etc. If you pull out of school, your deposit goes to the last month school fees.
They school has a good mix of locals, expats and Mainland Chinese kids from different backgrounds.
Inclusive and Egalitarian
There are no interviews for entry unlike most schools. It’s devoid of labelling and pigeonholing – doing what education should be – a fair chance for everyone who can afford it.
Snacks and autonomy
Snack time continued through pandemic. No children went hungry or thirsty. We used to pack snacks but the school had taken feedback and now snacks are included – so everyone’s equal. It is my hope they will move in the same direction for lunch. I don’t have a picky eater so I don’t worry, but I think it would benefit picky eaters to broaden their food repertoire when everyone is given the same choices.
Great teacher studio ratio
What a privilege to have 2-3 teachers ratio for 10-15 children in the class.
Parents In the Loop
I love the updates we get everyday so I know what he gets up to during the day and we can have a conversation about his day at bedtime and I don’t have to wonder if it’s fact/fiction/embellishments when my 3 year old tells me about his day. ha! They also organise parents-only evenings to mix and mingle along with other activities and events during Mothers and Father’s day.
Les ateliers de Maya putting the fun into learning French
My 3 old loves it here. We did a term as well as Halloween camp. As much as he still speaks only Franglais, his comprehension of French has always been on par with English, we will work harder at creating a more immersive environment to speak French.
Marion runs a tight ship and I appreciate all the thought and effort that she puts into creating the classes which are fun yet with constructive takeaways. We did the weekly workshops that included painting, crafts, cooking and sensory play. My son has been singing a song about days of the week as well as Grabouilla the scorcerer. He’s learnt consonant sounds, body anatomy and lots of classic French nursery rhymes.
Art and Play is another French/bilingual playgroup out in Stanley which we have unfortunately missed two trials as my toddler was ill, so we haven’t personally done classes here despite my best intentions. It’s been on my list of things to try. Perhaps a holiday camp activity and spending the rest of the day at the beach! It also looks like a lovely place to hold an intimate birthday party, I’ll update when I get a chance to do a trial class. Their most recent theme over the Winter break was the arctic.
Classes are conducted mostly in English with a French touch. Founder and teacher Nelly adds “I want to show the diversity of art at the youngest age through ‘art process’ and ‘sensory play’. These activities are meaningful and build creativity and imagination.”