Your Insider's kindergarten guide
IN Ho Chi Minh City 🇻🇳 Since 2008
SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION KINDERGARTEN International Kindergartens in SAIGON
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Three Top Tips & List of Nursery, Preschools, and Kindergartens in HCMC
Find the ideal early years school for your child in Ho Chi Minh City with our overview of the city’s premier nurseries, kindergartens, and preschools. Scroll down to find details about admission fees, curricula, notable features, and other useful details to make the process of choosing a school easier.
When it comes to choosing an early years educator for your child, the choices in Ho Chi Minh City can seem a little overwhelming. But luckily for you, the team at CityPassGuide Education has not only experienced ex-pats who know the city very well but many of us also have families here, so we’ve been through this whole process of researching, visiting, and choosing a school for our kids.
To help you in your own task of finding the best nursery/kindergarten/playschool for your child we’ve created a useful list of top early years education providers, with all the must-know details for each one. But first, here are our top 3 tips for figuring out how to choose a kindergarten for your little one.
Top Tip #1: Location Location, Location
Ask anyone who has lived in the city for a little while what their least favorite part of life in Saigon is, and many will respond with a complaint about the traffic. If you have just arrived in the city it may seem amusingly chaotic but if you are responsible for taking your child to and from school each day, the journey can soon become a very unenjoyable task, particularly when you factor in rush hour and the rainy season!
Our advice is to minimize travel time where possible, even if the school you have your eye on offers transportation. Nobody enjoys sitting in a traffic jam, least of all young children, so make the daily school run as easy as possible by prioritizing schools that are close to home.
If you live in Thao Dien, you are lucky to have many excellent early years schools on your doorstep, perhaps even within walking distance. District 1 and Binh Thanh also have excellent choices although walking around may not be as enjoyable with fewer wide, tree-lined boulevards to stroll along.
The important thing to remember is that there are well over a million students in Ho Chi Minh City and whilst not all of them are attending pre-school or nursery, they will be making their way to campus as you are trying to get your kids to school too.
Top Tip #2: Think about your child’s character
When you first look for a kindergarten/ nursery school, you will see that there are a number of different curriculums and teaching styles on offer in Ho Chi Minh City. With early years schools following British, American, Australian, Finnish, French, German, and Vietnamese programs, plus different methodologies such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia, it is inevitable that some schools will follow a very structured lesson plan whilst others will offer more freedom.
Knowing which one will suit your child best is hard if they have never been to school before, so our advice is to think about how they behave at home. If your child needs a little encouragement to explore or prefers to have direct attention and communication from an adult when doing so, schools that offer an interactive curriculum but with teacher lead activities may be more appropriate.
If your child is a little more confident and already enjoys playing independently and would perhaps enjoy more freedom, schools that have more holistic approaches (Montessori, Reggio Emilia inspired) may be more suitable.
Even if your child is a little older and has spent time in nursery or preschool before, allow them the opportunity to visit the school and experience a class before you decide to enroll them in a school in Ho Chi Minh City. Things may be different from what they’ve experienced in the past and taking the time to sample a lesson can save a lot of hassle further down the road.
Top Tip #3: Research from home and talk to other parents
Once you know which area of Ho Chi Minh City you’re interested in and what type of school you are looking for you can start researching the kindergarten/nursery school options online (our guide is a great place to start!) Once you’ve got a short list of desirable schools, start asking around for people’s own experiences with the schools and see what pros and cons are identified by those in the know.
If you talk to your friends, your colleagues, and your neighbors you are likely to hear honest reviews about the schools their kids go to. After hearing their comments, you can start to remove the schools that may not be suitable for you.
If you are relocating to Ho Chi Minh City from abroad or from elsewhere in Vietnam, you can reach out to friendly social network groups to ask for their comments. There are many friendly groups on Facebook where members are willing to offer advice on a variety of subjects.
Remember, of course, that every child has different needs so you may not find the perfect choice just from talking to other people but by getting honest feedback from people that have experienced the schools you are looking at first hand, you can certainly narrow down the list of schools to see!
Hopefully, our top tips have made the task of choosing an early years school for your child a little less daunting. Having decided where you need to be looking, and what type of school you are looking for, it’s now time to look at our list of top kindergartens, nurseries, and preschools in Ho Chi Minh City.
Montessori International School of Vietnam
Budget: Fees for students vary significantly depending on age and whether they enroll for half-day lessons or full-day. School meals are also optional extras, as transport to and from school. However, as a guide, fees for a full-time nursery or kindergarten student range from VND 222,000,000 to 290,000,000 for a year. For full details click here.
Languages: English instruction. Some classes in Vietnamese
Curriculum: MIS follows the Montessori philosophy and is accredited by the American Montessori Society. Students are encouraged to become independent learners via free exploration.
Unique feature: In addition to following the Montessori philosophy, MIS is an advocate of ‘Resources for Infant Educarers’ or RIE®. As a result, the school is very well placed to provide parental support for parents who wish to adopt the Educaring™ approach. MIS is also able to offer a variety of learning environments at each of its 3 HCMC-based campuses. 1 Ngô Quang Huy, Thảo Điền, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
International School Saigon Pearl: Elementary & Early Years School (ISSP)
Budget: Application fee of VND 25,000,000 VND and annual fees starting at VND 210,000,000 in the early years, rising up to VND 349,700,000 for Kindergarten. For more information please see this fee sheet.
Languages: English instruction.
Curriculum: This school is a part of Cognita Schools Group, which follows the American Core Curriculum and focuses on teaching core values such as honesty, caring, respect, responsibility, and wisdom.
Uniform: The school’s uniform is a red short-sleeved polo emblazoned with the school’s logo at the front. Depending on the student, the shirt is complemented with either blue shorts or a blue skirt.
Unique feature: ISSP is now the only international elementary and early years school (18 months – 10 years of age) in HCMC to have the prestigious accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Anne Hill International School
Budget: Anne Hill International School accepts students from 18 months old. For preschool students taking half-day tuition for 5 days, annual fees are around VND 162,000,000. Tuition fees at Anne Hill International School cover the costs of core subjects, meals, uniforms, and transportation. However, a VND12,000,000 registration fee still applies. See this sheet for more information.
Languages: English instruction with options for Vietnamese and Chinese Mandarin as a second language.
Curriculum: Montessori Inspired. International Primary Curriculum member, pursuing Cambridge accreditation. Cambridge International Primary Programme is followed for key subjects such as English, Maths, and Science.
Uniform: The school uniform combines a light green t-shirt or polo shirt with neutral-colored shorts or culottes.
Unique feature: Anne Hill International School is an independent school offering brand new facilities for its students. For those looking for a truly international school experience, the school currently has students from more than 40 different nationalities enrolled, making it one of the most varied student bodies that we have come across.
Australian International School Vietnam (AIS)
Budget: A nonrefundable application fee of VND 4,500,000 is payable at the time of application and an acceptance fee of VND 32,000,000 is also required. Expect to pay upwards of VND 199,000,000 each year from kindergarten enrollment. Click here for full details
Languages: English instruction. Vietnamese instruction for all students up to Year 6
Curriculum: IB PYP.
Uniform: The school has a variety of uniform options all based on the school colors of blue and white.
Unique feature: Australian International School (AIS) has three Kindergarten campuses in Thu Thiem, Thao Dien (Lotus School) & Xi, each of which strives to celebrate the ’individual child’ and the values, beliefs, gifts, talents, and diversity of experiences that each one contributes to our school community. Children are most certainly the focus at AIS and all decisions are made with the students in mind.
Eton House International PreSchool
Budget: For annual enrollment at Eton House you can expect to pay between VND 200,000,000 – VND 250,000,000 per child. However, sibling discounts, payment plans, and seasonal promotions are available.
Languages: English instruction, Vietnamese, and Mandarin are available as additional languages.
Curriculum: The Inquire-Think-Learn, Reggio Emilia Inspired International Curriculum from Singapore, is a well-rounded, holistic and integrated curriculum that encourages children to stretch their imagination, think independently, and be inspired to learn.
Uniform: The school uniform is a bright and cheerful red and green plaid dress or shirt or red polo shirt and beige shorts.
Unique feature: Housed in a beautiful colonial villa in Thao Dien, EtonHouse offers a tranquil environment amidst lush greenery. Students here not only benefit from being classmates with students from over 30 nationalities at school but EtonHouse families can also connect with 12,000 students in EtonHouse 120 campuses around the world. The utilization of the ‘Kept me’ app is a key feature. This innovative platform ensures that parents are kept up to date with what their child is doing throughout the day and allows learning achievements to be shared and witnessed easily and efficiently.
Ecoles Boules et Billes
Budget: Registration and administration fees are applicable for each child but prices vary depending on the age of the student. French students can expect to pay around VND 150,000,000 annually in kindergarten with other nationalities paying around VND 161,000,000
Languages: French, Vietnamese, and English
Curriculum: Boules et Billes is accredited by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) meaning that the curriculum provided is in line with te French national education system. A variety of enrichment activities are also provided.
Uniform: No specific uniform
Unique feature: Boules et Billes priority is ensuring their students develop proficiency in French. However, both nursery and primary students also study English using the ‘Emile’ educational approach. This multi-award-winning resource is a game-based range of resources, approved by the UK Department for Education.
Kinder Academy International PreSchool
Budget: At just under VND190,000,000 for a year’s tuition, fees at Kinder Academy are one of the most reasonably priced options in District 2. Percentage discounts are provided for siblings attending at the same time. However, additional fees are required each year, as is a one-off enrolment fee so it is worth checking the full details here.
Curriculum: Kinder Academy applies Reggio Emilia inspired and EMS (English, Math, and Nature Sciences) philosophies to a curriculum that prioritizes STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths).
Unique feature: Kinder Academy focuses on keeping class sizes small so there are never more than 15 students in a class. This helps staff to provide engaging and flexible lessons where the whole campus is utilized to inspire and educate children, rather than remaining based in one classroom throughout the day.
La Petit Ecole International School
Budget: Different fees are applicable for Nursery students depending on how many days a week they attend. However as a guide, attendance for 3 days a week starts at VND 104,500,000 per year. Full details are available here.
Languages: French and English.
Curriculum: La Petite Ecole follows a French National Education curriculum and has been accredited by the French Ministry of Education. The school is also a member of AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad), ensuring a high quality of bilingual tuition.
Unique feature: La Petit Ecole focuses on providing an exceptional learning environment for its students. This means that the facilities are not only well maintained and modern but classrooms are fitted with air purifiers and outdoor play spaces are fitted with pollution control monitors to ensure students stay safe when playing outside.
Hopefully, this list of Early Years schools in Ho Chi Minh City has helped you narrow down some of the options and you’re feeling more confident about finding the best school for your child. Our list will be updated throughout the year so feel free to check back to receive the latest updates!
SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION KINDERGARTEN Benefits of Early Childhood Education
Evidence is growing that early childhood education provides significant advantages for very young children. A study by the U.S. Society for Research in Child Development found that early childhood education improves early language, literacy, and mathematics skills for young children. The same study cited that research showed children who attend early childhood education centers have fewer behavioral problems and are less timid, and more attentive once they enter kindergarten.
The Nobel Education Network knows that a high-quality child care program can have a positive influence on children’s development and school readiness, by providing valuable educational and social experiences. The Toddler program at European International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) has been specifically designed for two to three-year-olds, to support English language learning, socialization, and international mindedness.
“Research has shown that the earlier children are exposed to new things such as language, culture and people in a positive way, the more flexible, tolerant and understanding they are as they grow,” says Jo Roberts, Head of Early Years at EIS. “Because we are an international school, our students gain an understanding and acceptance of children from all different countries and backgrounds.”
The EIS Toddler program combines a strong focus on English language development and communication skills with the ethos of caring for others. “Our language of instruction is English, so toddlers are immersed in an English-speaking environment the entire time they are with us,” says Ms. Roberts. “We also emphasize activities that support language acquisition and speech development alongside social skills.”
All the teaching staff in Toddler classes at EIS speak English, so the children are continually learning the language through the context of their daily activities. Educators help accelerate English language learning by encouraging children to use words during interactions with teachers and friends, as opposed to signing or using physical actions.
The program supports school readiness by following a curriculum aligned with the globally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. “The children are exposed to the values of the IB as soon as they start and quickly begin to understand the importance of embodying the learner profile,” says Ms. Roberts.
Of course, in choosing an early education center, safety is a key factor. “Parents want their children to feel secure,” says Ms. Roberts. “They want to know their child will be looked after and well cared for, which is something we do particularly well at EIS.”
The villa-style campus at EIS creates a warm and welcoming environment where children feel secure and happy. The teachers and assistants have extensive experience working with young children, and the low student-to-teacher ratio ensures that each child receives quality individual care.
“The program is designed to be fun, interactive, and engaging, with lots of sensory activities to help the children explore the world around them,” says Ms. Roberts. “Our facilities also include a pool and a well-equipped music room, so the children can enjoy swimming and music classes with specialist teachers each week.”
“We embrace play as a learning tool,” she says. “For example, the children have a dress-up area where they can put on costumes and role play with their friends. This not only enhances language acquisition, it also develops social and collaborative skills.”
Modeling with clay is another activity that offers hidden benefits. Manipulating the clay helps develop muscles, improves dexterity, supports hand-eye coordination, and helps build concentration skills and extend attention span.
In the same way, music lessons bring significant benefits to early childhood development. Singing songs and rhymes increases English vocabulary while playing percussion instruments and dancing helps young children learn about rhythm and movement.
“We’ve created a program that combines the best of both worlds,” says Ms. Roberts. “The children spend their days doing activities they enjoy, and at the same time, they are learning English and becoming more confident and capable. Every day they are preparing for their future success.”
Parents interested in learning more about the Toddler program at European International School Ho Chi Minh City can contact us at +84 28 7300 7257, or visit eishcmc.openapply.com to schedule a school tour.
SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION KINDERGARTEN ChoosING The Right Kindergarten IN SAIGON
At The International Montessori School of Vietnam, we understand that choosing the right kindergarten for your child is a very important decision. Finding a school that matches your child’s needs creates a positive and happy foundation for the rest of your child’s education journey.
However, when you start to research schools there are many things to consider. And in Ho Chi Minh City there are so many schools to choose from! To help you feel confident that you have chosen the right kindergarten /nursery, here are 5 top tips from MIS.
1. Talk to other parents
Researching a kindergarten/nursery online is convenient but it can also be overwhelming. A google search for ‘kindergarten HCMC’ provides 137,000 results. A search for ‘international school Ho Chi Minh City’ provides 7,630,000! Some results are paid for, some are not accurate. So how are you supposed to know which ones to trust?
Luckily, you probably know people already who can help you narrow down your search. If you talk to your friends, your colleagues, and your neighbors you are likely to hear honest reviews about the schools their kids go to. After hearing their comments, you can start to select the schools that might be suitable for you.
If you are relocating to Ho Chi Minh City from abroad or from elsewhere in Vietnam, you can reach out to friendly social network groups to ask for their comments. For example, Female Expats and Locals in Ho Chi Minh City is a friendly group to join with many members keen to offer advice on a variety of subjects.
Remember, of course, that every child has different needs so you may not find the perfect choice just by talking to friends. But by getting honest feedback from people that you trust, you can certainly make your task much easier!
2. Think about traveling to and from school.
Although travel time to and from school is not the most important thing to think about, the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is something that can affect whether you have a good day or a bad day! If you are responsible for taking your child to and from school each day, the journey can soon become a very unenjoyable task. Of course, many schools offer transportation, which can remove this problem. But again, we suggest that you minimize travel time where possible to make sure that transfers between home and school are as efficient as they can be.
If you live in Thu Duc City both the MIS Thao Dien campus and The River House campus are conveniently located in Thao Dien. This means they manage to avoid too much traffic at peak times. Across the highway, MIS Binh An is also well situated to avoid traffic at peak times for those of you living in An Phu or close to the Hanoi Highway.
We also offer a school bus service, meaning that surrounding areas are reached easily. reachable. If you live in Binh Thanh District or District 1 this may be a suitable choice for you. However, if you prefer to drive, both of these areas are just a 15 – 25 drive from MIS campuses even at rush hour.
3. Find a school that is suitable for your child’s character.
If your child prefers to have direct attention and communication, you should look at schools where teachers are heavily involved with the work.
If your child enjoys learning independently, you should look at schools that have more flexible curriculums and class activities. At MIS we follow the Montessori Method. This means your child is encouraged to explore and learn independently. Teachers act as guides to help students discover and learn on their own.
For more information about the Montessori method and curriculum at MIS click here
4. Think about what is important to you.
We understand that your child’s needs come first, but you should also think about what you are looking for from a school. For example, do you want your child to learn about art and music? Is it important for your child to learn another language? Do you want to receive regular progress updates from the teachers?
If your child requires additional support, you should not feel shy about asking the school how they plan to provide for them. It is important to find out if a kindergarten / nursery has qualified staff available to assist students who need extra help. By finding a school that is able to satisfy your needs, you can be sure that they are able to satisfy your child’s!
At the Montessori International School of Vietnam, our teachers are all certified by international providers and are well experienced in providing for the individual needs of a child. If you would like further information, please contact us.
5. Make a visit to your top schools.
Firstly, it is a good idea to visit the school without your child. This will give you an opportunity to talk with the teachers, get answers to your questions and take a tour of the campus without worrying that your child is bored.
If a solo visit is successful, then you can plan a visit to the school with your child. This is a great way for you to learn more about the day-to-day experience that your child will have. You can see their reaction to the school and how they fit in the environment.
If possible, try to experience ‘outside time on your visit. Each kindergarten/nursery should have a time each day when students can play and explore outside. If you can see your child play with other students, you can see exactly how they will fit in at the school. You can also use ‘outside time to check if you are satisfied with the safety measures that the school uses and how your child is cared for.
At the Montessori International School of Vietnam, outdoor time is an essential part of the school day. Our students are always well supervised and the equipment and toys that they use are well maintained and managed. If you would like to visit any of the MIS campuses, please contact us at +84 28 3744 2639 / +84 822 040 033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to arrange an appointment.
We hope that these top tips have made the task of choosing a kindergarten/nursery school a little easier. If you still have questions or would like more information about anything mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact us.