Kindergarten Admissions


Primary School

The majority of children complete a two-year programme in an ESF International Kindergarten before moving on to an ESF primary school. We actively encourage children to enrol for two full years of kindergarten so they can enjoy all the benefits of the programme.

The following information will help you to understand and support your child through the admissions processes.

Admission to ESF Hillside International Kindergarten

Children admitted to the kindergarten should be able to engage with an English medium, inquiry-based curriculum, in an open-planned setting. We encourage parental support for children in the educational programmes offered by the kindergarten.

Priority is given to:

  • Children of full-time staff or staff at ESF or ESL who have been employed by the Foundation for over a year.
  • Siblings of students already attending an ESF International Kindergarten, ESF school or ESF Private Independent School, or siblings of former – ESF International Kindergarten students who attended for at least a year.
  • Children of former students who have attended an ESF school or ESF Private Independent School, for a minimum of three years or are former ESF students returning from a period overseas.
  • Other applicants who can benefit from an English-medium education.
Application Procedures

K1 aged children commence kindergarten in August each year. Each kindergarten will receive applications for K1 in accordance with the table below:

Child born between: Submit application from: Start date in K1 class:
January – December 2015 1 – 30 September 2017 August 2018
January – December 2016 1 – 30 September 2018 August 2019
January – December 2017 1 – 30 September 2019 August 2020

*No child will be able to attend kindergarten prior to their allocated academic year.

Effective from August 2017, Applications to K1 are invited from 1 September to 30 September of the year prior to admission. Applications should be submitted using the online application system HERE before 1 September will receive no advantage or priority. All applications will be processed after the end of September. Places will be offered first to applications received during September. Applications for K1 received after the end of September will be allocated a place on the waiting list in accordance with their priority and date of application.  An application fee applies to all applications.

Applications for K2, or for K1 outside the September admissions period, may be made at any time. Places are limited but may become available during the academic year. If no place is immediately available your child’s application will be added to our waitlist in accordance with their priority and date of application.

Further information and the online application, please click HERE >
Or contact Hillside Admissions on

One refundable debenture (at a cost of HK$7,000) must be acquired for each child attending the kindergarten before entry of such child into the kindergarten.
On redemption of the debenture, the Registered Holder is required to surrender the debenture to ESL for cancellation. The debenture will be refunded within 30 days’ of the child’s last day of attendance at the kindergarten, provided that two months’ notice has been given. If students withdraw at the end of the school year, the refund will be made within 2 months from the last day of the academic year.

If a child is withdrawn from the kindergarten prior to the commencement of the academic year, ESL will not redeem the debenture unless two months’ advance written notice is provided to the kindergarten and advance fees have been fully paid (the advance fees are not refundable).

To withdraw, please submit a completed Withdrawal Notice Form to the kindergarten at least two months prior to your child’s last day of school. Parents are required to confirm with individual kindergartens the receipt of the Withdrawal Notice Form. Click HERE to download the Withdrawal Notice Form

Redemption conditions and requirements of refundable debenture are set out in ESF website

Priority for an ESF School Interview

All ESF kindergartens and ESF primary schools follow the IB Organisation’s Primary Years Programme (PYP). This provides continuity in the children’s learning experience within the ESF system.

Whilst many of the children from this kindergarten, move onto the ESF Primary schools or ESF Private Independent Schools (P.I.S), please note:

  • Application to ESF Year 1 is a separate process from the kindergarten application. ESF and P.I.S. primary school application details can be located on the ESF website: and 
  • Children attending an ESF International Kindergarten will receive “priority for an interview” at an ESF primary school and the two ESF Private Independent Schools (Discovery College and Renaissance College) for Year 1 central applications.
  • *Priority for an interview is subject to having attended kindergarten for a minimum of two terms prior to the applicable January Year 1 interview period. Students recently arrived from overseas are exempt from the two-term requirement.
  • Children start ESF Primary Schools in the September of the calendar year during which they have their 5th birthday i.e. a 2-year kindergarten placement prior to then.
Y1 Central Applications: Important Dates and Timelines
1 -30 September

Central application period for parents to submit application:

Acknowledgement email containing applicant’s reference number will be sent upon submission.

Late November

Parents receive interview status notification letters.

Invitation to interview with a guaranteed place if successful; or

Invitation to interview with reserve wait list place if successful; or

Confirmation of wait-listing for a possible future interview opportunity.

Following January First round interviews conducted at primary schools
Mid-February Parents receive letter with interview result

Click HERE to learn more about ESF primary schools.

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