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Expat Schooling Options in Beijing: Kindergarten and Preschool

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Choosing a preschool or kindergarten in Beijing can be overwhelming, with literally hundreds of schools to choose from both local and international, from English only, to Chinese only, to bilingual from Montessori to traditional, with prices ranging anywhere from 10,000RMB a year all the way up to 150,000RMB a year or more. Here we help you wade through some of the more popular preschools and kindergartens that expats in Beijing expats have chosen for their little learners.

Etonkids International Kindergarten
What they offer: Etonkids offers a Montessori-based curriculum and is spearheading a new Montessori teacher training program in Beijing, although not all of their teachers are necessarily Montessori certified. They have international kindergarten programs, which are fully English, bilingual kindergarten programs, which are 70% English and 30% Chinese, and what they call the Huizhi Bilingual Kindergarten, which is targeted more towards Chinese families. There are native speakers in every classroom in every program and they emphasize, in their own words, the Etonkids 3 Cs “Creativity, Character, and Culture.” They also have campuses located throughout Beijing, so families can choose the school nearest their home.


Price range: mid/high (60,000RMB-90,000 RMB/year)

3e International Kindergarten
What they offer: 3e’s stated mission is to “is to develop critical thinkers and passionate learners who can move fluidly and confidently across cultures.” 3e also boasts what it considers to be a true bilingual environment which results in children being fluent in both English and Chinese, something that other schools, with their heavier emphasis on English, seem to lack. Classes are small, with a maximum of 16 students in a class, and students spend half their day fully immersed in a Chinese environment and the other half in an English one. 3e is a relatively new arrival on the international school scene, having started in 2005 with a small pre-school program and rapidly expanded to include elementary up to 3rd grade. Despite being new on the scene, 3e has built its reputation and is strongly endorsed by former parents for the bilingual education it provides to young students.

Price range: High (70,00 0RMB half days-135,000 RMB/year)

Sanlitun Kindergarten
What they offer: Sanlitun is a local public kindergarten which accepts foreign students. Sanlitun kindergarten has an excellent reputation among Chinese parents, and is known especially for its physical education curriculum. Because Sanlitun Kindergarten is a public kindergarten, prospective parents should expect spaces to be limited. Parents wanting to enroll their children in this exclusive kindergarten have even been known to camp out overnight the night before enrollment begins.

Price range: Low (500 RMB-1000 RMB/month)

International Montessori School of Beijing
What they offer: International Montessori School of Beijing is the most well established Montessori school in Beijing and hires only Montessori certified lead teachers and prides itself on their commitment to hiring only professional qualified teachers. At MSB, parents can be sure that their children are learning in a true Montessori environment, whereas other Montessori schools in Beijing have been criticized for using the Montessori name for profit. MSB is an accredited International School and specializes in pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary education. MSB has three handsome campuses in Beijing, located primarily in Chaoyang.

Price range: High (80,000-140,000/year)

The Children’s House
What they offer: The Children’s House offers perhaps a more affordable alternative to the Montessori School of Beijing, with a true Montessori environment at about half the cost of MSB. They are the oldest Montessori school in the city, having opened their doors in 1992 and employ Montessori certified teachers from around the world. The Children’s House offers regular international classes with all instruction done in English, as well as bilingual classes where instruction is in Chinese with English speaking assistants in every class. The Children’s House also offers a full range of extracurricular activities including Kung Fu and Chinese language classes. The Children’s House currently has 3 Campuses at the World Trade Center, Lufthansa Center, and Yosemite Village.

Price range: Mid/High (23,000RMB half days-60,000RMB/semester)

Beanstalk International Bilingual School:
What they offer: Beanstalk is an Bilingual school for students from aged 2-15 and they follow the International Primary Curriculum, which focuses on student centered, inquiry driven learning. Beanstalk combines Eastern and Western teaching philosophies and strives to promote a truly multicultural environment, with native English speaking teachers and Chinese speakers in all classrooms. The goal of this school is to create, in their words, “truly international citizens.” Beanstalk has been operating in Beijing for over ten years and has a reputation for offering a quality bilingual education at a more affordable price than some of the more expensive international schools in the city.

Price range: Mid (60,000RMB-80,000 RMB/year)

Epoch International School
What they offer: Epoch International school offers a Montessori-based approach at a more affordable price than some of the other International schools in town. Each class is staffed with both a native English speaking teacher and a native Chinese speaking teacher. Epoch also offers a load of afterschool extracurricular activities like dance, piano, violin, Beijing opera, English and Chinese reading class that students can participate in by choice.

Price range: Low (20,000-30,000 RMB/year)

Muffy’s Place
What they offer: Muffy’s Place is unique in that while the student body is primarily Chinese, they follow a Canadian curriculum and employ foreign kindergarten teachers. Instruction is entirely in English and students learn phonics, writing, social studies, science and math, with a focus on mastering these early skills. Muffy’s has two campuses, both in Haidian -- one  is in the Xiangshan area and the other in the Wanquan area.

Price range: Mid (50,000RMB-70,000 RMB/year)

Ivy Academy
What they offer: Ivy Academy is “a Multiple Intelligences based pre-school created in collaboration with Harvard Graduate school researchers.” Teachers tailor lessons to each individual child’s needs and interests, and give weekly reports to parents on their child’s progress. Class size is extremely small, with a 5-1 student teacher ratio in nursery and pre-k classes, and 8-1 in kindergarten classes. Ivy’s lead teachers are all highly qualified native English speakers with education degrees and teaching backgrounds in their own home countries. Although Ivy might seem expensive for a pre-school, your child is certain to get the individual attention that makes the higher price worthwhile.

Price range: High (78,000RMB half day-116,000 full day/year)

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Keywords: expat schooling options beijing Best beijing preschools best international preschools Beijing best international kindergartens beijing best Beijing kindergartens

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9 Comments ( Add your comment )


This is true that there are many pre-schools or kindergartens in Beijing. Many schools from them have been set more than affordable price which isn’t possible for an average income parent to pay the fee. Apart from that everything is good but the parents need to judge the school first—that is everything is up to the mark or not? Like the hygienic food, water, safety, playgrounds, student to teacher ratio, study curriculum etc. should be examined carefully by the parents. So that they can get the maximum output from their hard-earned money. For more information about Pre-school education go to

May 23, 2016 18:17
Curious Mom

I am going to be teaching english in Guanghzhou and will bring my 3 year old son with me.
I will teach from 12-8pm 3 days a week and on Saturdays and Sundays.
I am trying to find the most appropriate form of childcare for him.
Does anyone have any recommendations?

Jun 15, 2012 02:17

Zhu, I’m so sorry, it wasnt Ivy at all that we visited. It was 3e. Actually, come to think of it, it might have been Epoch or Beanstalk.

I hope you havent spent lots of time looking up the wrong school.

Oh, I feel so silly and embarrassed.

Do you ever feel that way?

Like you cant ever do anything right, and everyone is laughing at you?

Dec 14, 2010 17:33

Katrina, can you please tell that how about to choose Epoch school for my baby (2 years). This Epoch School is in Chaoyang District near to Lido area.


Feb 29, 2012 23:36

Zhu, it was somewhere off the third ring rd. They also have one in Shunyi which we actually thought was a bit nicer.

Dec 13, 2010 21:35
Zhu Chang

Thanks very much Katrina.

I will give Ivy a call first and if it is no good then I will try Children’s Learning Center.

I have seen the cost of Ivy and it is within our budget.

Which campus did you enquire at?

Ivy seems to have a lot.

Dec 13, 2010 11:23

Zhu, you are possibly thnking of Ivy, they had an American owner and a kindergarten manager from Sichuan, if I remember right from when we talked to them last year.

We thought they were good but expenseive. We ended up sending our child to Children’s Learning Center and are very happy with them.

Dec 12, 2010 23:09
Zhu Chang

I am looking for a kindergarten for my baby and I had heard there is a very good one run by an older American gentleman with his Sichuan wife.

Do you which kinderagrten this is as I would like to see their prices.

TX, Zhu.

Dec 06, 2010 10:21

I can say only about Beanstalk International primary school. When I first come there admission seemed to me very friendly, they said a lot about how good their school is and other useless staff. But after I paid tuition fee (100000RMB 20000RMB construction fee) and my son begun to attend classes I was really very very dissappointed. First, some teachers there seem to be not qualified, looks like they found them somewhere abroad and even didn’t ask about experience, some teachers look like teenagers, others are really unpolite, most probably there are those people who didnt find work in their country and come to china mainly for travel. Second, the books, most of the books are cheap black white copies, even in chinese (it must be very easy to find colored chinese books in Beijing, isnt it?), no english textbooks at all, homework is just few pieces of black and white copies made from low quality book. Third, there are no interaction with patrents, all they can say is only useless staff about their "unique" programme. The diary was empty all the year, no word about childs performance, homework, progress. No feedback from teachers, it looks like child make homework for himself and nobody cares about it. There are still a lot of other problems in this school, and everyday it makes me unhappy, I really regret that my child goes to this school. Actually I dont know whether other schools in Beijing are of the same quality, but I need to go to other schools in order to compare, if I will find something better I will be really happy.

Nov 29, 2010 08:32

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