Find out why this family loves Woodland Pre-School!
Parent Name: Maura Thompson
Child Name: Eve Thompson (2 years old – but soon to be 3!)
School Location: Woodland Pre-schools, Kennedy Town
How did you first hear about this school?
Even before having kids I would often see signs for Woodland Pre-Schools around town and I felt like so many people I spoke to would say they send their kids to Woodland (which I always took as a good sign!). When Eve was about 6-months old a friend invited me to join her on a tour of her local Woodland so I jumped on the invite knowing it would help me take a first step in finding a school for Eve. I enjoyed the tour and the environment I saw so kept it in mind for when Eve approached the age where I would need to sign her up for a play school/pre-school.
What factors played into your decision to send your child to this school?
- Trusted name in the community
- Proximity to home was important since I am a working mama and needed somewhere close where I can drop Eve off each day (very important to me!) before heading to work. I find it is a special time in the day for us!
- I wanted an environment that wouldn’t put much pressure on Eve at an early age. Somewhere that was nurturing and one where she would learn how to be a confident and happy little girl as she prepared for her future schooling.
Did you take a tour of the school before making your decision? What were your first impressions?
Yes, I did tour the school in my area before making my decision and it was great that someone was there to talk me through how the classes were set up and what a typical day would look like. Their entire admission process is very organised which I really appreciate as a busy mama. On the school front I really enjoyed that the environment seemed to be a friendly and caring one, that the teachers were qualified and professional yet warm and the focus was on the kids learning while also allowing them to be kids.
How did your child adjust to the school? Did the school take any special measures to help with the settling in process?
Eve started attending Woodland in their accompanied classes so I was with her during those classes so she absolutely had the comfort level of me upon starting school and never really had any shy moments upon entering school as she typically is quite a confident little girl. When it became time for her to go on her own though she did have jitters upon drop off for a bit of time (heartbreaking for me as I walked away I have to say!) but the Woodland staff were amazing at comforting Eve and calming her down in class. Plus they very often sent me a message to let me know that Eve had calmed down and often times it was accompanied with a picture of her full of smiles in the play room shortly after I had left.
I really appreciated the communication on that front as it shows they know how a parent feels when their child may feel unsettled so it was comforting knowing they were in a place that cared how they were settling in and that they cared enough to let the parents know they felt happy shortly after.
What in your opinion are the three greatest strengths of the school?
- Great student to teacher ratio (and excellent teachers!)
- Trusted reputation and accessibility throughout Hong Kong
- Cheerful and happy environment for learning
How does the school include parents in the community?
Parents are invited to join in during snack times if they desire and they are always encouraged to join during birthday celebrations for their little ones. My husband and I have both enjoyed attending special events for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and even though Eve was just 2-years old we really appreciated having a Parent-Teacher conference with Eve’s teacher to understand how she is doing in class.
How does the school keep you informed about your child’s progress?
Each child has a special notebook that is for Parent/Teacher communication. It is a great way to communicate with each other and each class also receives a weekly e-newsletter that tells the parents what the kids did that week and also includes pictures of them in their classroom environment. I love seeing the pictures and seeing Eve enjoying her classmates and her time at school now that she is attending class on her own.
What is the number one thing you’d miss if you transferred your child to another school?
I love, love, love how Woodland feels like a trusted part of the neighbourhood community. Since they have so many locations around Hong Kong, you don’t have to commute very far to get to school so I love that familiar sense we get walking into school each day. Eve recognises all of the stores near her school (the local ice cream shop Ice Monkey especially!) as it is the area where we spend our time on the weekends. And for that reason it brings her the comfort and security to feel right at home in her school environment.
What extra-curricular activities or out of school programmes does the school offer which you have taken part in?
We have not taken advantage of any of these yet as Eve is just the age where she can join them but I absolutely have my eye on their Drama Club for my little actress in training! Woodland has so many after school activities for little ones so you really have your pick of things to do ranging from dance, to sports to art classes.