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 Post subject: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:15 pm 
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I am looking at 2 preschools at the moment one in small hands and the other is called international pre-school plus both on the Asian side of Istanbul near Bagdat Cd. If anyone has any experience of these ten please offer me some advice on whihc would be the better option for my English speaking children.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Hello all - we too have a 3-year-old for whom we are looking for a preschool - on the Asian side. We're in Acibadem and I've looked at Small Hands, the Camlica International School and an Eyuboglu School(which combines an IB PYP with the Turkish national curriculum.) The first two have native English speakers for the majority of the day, w/assistants who may or may not speak any English, w/no formal instruction (formal play or storytime) in Turkish, which we would like. Small Hands says that since 80+% of their students are native speakers of Turkish, the parents don't want any instruction in Turkish - hmm - what about all the basic content they're learning in English (letters, colors, numbers, words - concepts. . . don't they need to formally learn these in Turkish too?) The last, Eyuboglu, is all Turkish but w/2 hours of English instruction w/native speakers in the afternoon - but I'm having a hard time learning what the English instruction consists of, other than stories and singing.

I would love to hear other parents' (particularly those who have an interest in their children being bilingual) experiences with any of these schools - and I've read the posts about the CIIS and they have pretty much scared me away from there. However, since I'm not sure how long we'll be here (or on this side) we may be willing to not worry so much about some of the negatives mentioned about CIIS. We're more concerned about his being the ONLY native English speaker at either Small Hands or Eyuboglu and about his getting no formal Turkish instruction at Small Hands or CIIS.

Has anyone done this - just plopped their baby in a school of predominantly Turkish speaking kids (or kids and teachers) w/kind of a sink or swim outlook? I know his Turkish will progress more quickly than mine and he'll be fine - but he's still little and their hours are more like a full-time job than the part-time preschool we're used to in the U.S. (9:30-4:30 or 5:30!) He's also barely 3 and not fully potty-trained and they're not thrilled about that - although we've been working on it for a while.

Another thing I'm curious about is parental involvement in the classroom and w/field trips - again - totally normal and appreciated in the U.S., but it seems as if it is kind of viewed as an inconvenience here. Either that or they're just not used to stay-at-home moms wanting to help out (I'm 6 months pregnant so will be a waddling lump before too long.)

Please forgive the digressions - and thanks in advance for any insight anyone can provide, about these schools, any others or your particular experiences.


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:43 pm 
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Oops, sorry expatyaz - I didn't mean to take your query off on another tangent into the best bilingual option. Our little guy is monolingual now (Baba has been traveling for the majority of his 3 years) but we want him to learn Turkish plus another language.

I too am curious about any direction anyone can give about these two schools or any others -

Thanks again


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:50 am 
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hi Cinfulaz,

I is hard isn't it trying to decide on a school I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old the added issue I have was the worry about my kids having communication issues and not being able to make friends with others due to the language issue.

I don't know how far you are from us but we are based near bagdat cd. and fenerbache (sp) but I wonder if we are looking at the same campus of small hands the one I am looking for is Selamcesme
Anyway best of luck and if you would like to meet up some time then pm me.

expatyaz


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Hi there
I would consider Small Hands over Eyuböğlu any day. As they both charge roughly the same fees (very expensıve I mıght add). At least Small Hands has a bıt more of an international outlook that Eyuböğlu - the latter being an very A La Turka school even though they say they have PYP authorization! Some schools in Turkey can still buy their way through IB organisations if they have got the right money and connections - believe me. Take it from me as someone who had a kid in one of their preschools. :x


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Hi All,

We moved to Istanbul just 7 months ago and I did all the research about the preschools for my 2 year old daughter at that time and decided to go with the Istanbul International Pre school Plus in Ciftehavuzlar. They have native English speakers as well as the Turkish speaking assistants who also can speak English. All the conversations are held in English even with the parents. From my point of view, it is a very clean and high care school . All the meals are nutritous and both the students and the teachers are lovely. MY daughter loves her school and she will continue going to the same school this winter time- the 3 year old class.

As far as the Small Hands : before I came here I researched all the preschools and Small Hands had the best input but when I went there to see the school on site and talked to the managers ove rthere I immidetely changed my mind . I think you shuold just go there and spend just an hour watching the kids and the teachers and decide.

BTW we also live by Bagdat Caddesi and would love to get to know you .

Best Wishes...
Eser


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:19 am 
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Hello all,
Thanks so much for the info. I tried to put my posting here in some sort of order, but since I couldn't complete it all at once, it's sort of evolved into a "stream of consciousness" ramble.

I should also say that none of the schools "blew me out of the water" and made the decision of where to send our little guy a simple process. The only one I didn't visit was the IIS Preschool Plus - as I just learned of it here - surprising that the CIIS Camlica campus people didn't mention it. . .

I too went to the Small Hands Selamicesme campus (and the CIIS Camlica campus, and the Eyuboglu Kosuyolu campus) and was at each for about 1.5 to 2 hours. I took our little guy and my mom. Last week, my husband and I went to the Eyuboglu Kosuyolu campus and met with their new principal again (first time there for my husband.) Although I agree the fees are exorbitant for what you're probably getting, and there are NO accommodations made for national holidays or school holidays in terms of any reductions in fees/prorating, I still am leaning toward the Eyuboglu Kosuyolu campus for at least this year. #1 - it's the closest to our house so less time on a shuttle. #2 - it's the only one where I know he will get actual instruction in Turkish, instead of just random communication with teaching assistants. He's going to go part-time, so we'll work on things in English every morning while he's home. Their fees are comparable to the Pre-school Plus and Small Hands and the CIIS and include Saturday morning swim lessons in the price (at their Camlica campus). I would like some more info on what they actually "do" in terms of IB PYP methods of instruction, but the small campus is clean, recently renovated, their food is outsourced through a provider that uses organic products and their new principal has lived in the U.S. for years (upstate NY,) in Dubai, and somewhere else I can't remember. She used to be a counselor here in Istanbul and has been actively involved with all of the pre-schools mentioned here, prior to her new role as the principal of the Kosuyolu campus and has a 5-year-old who goes to the Eyuboglu Camlica campus.

As our little guy gets older, the "quality" of the IB program will become increasingly important. Thanks for bringing to my attention just one more thing that I need to be concerned about, mcam! ;) I've been involved with an accreditation process for an ESL program at a university in the U.S. and it was arduous - lots of documentation, numerous on-site reviews of the curriculum, teachers, facilities - a huge process that was reviewed annually with site visits by the accrediting board. I was under the assumption that the IB accreditation process was similarly rigorous. It certainly is in my home city in the U.S., where there are a growing number of IB schools in our public school systems that are fantastic and - free!!

I'm curious as to why you might say Small Hands has a more "international" outlook. Only 10-15% of their students are not Turkish nationals and the management thinks that the parents of Turkish children want their kids to only receive instruction in English, so there's no Turkish offered. The remaining children are predominantly German, but won't receive any instruction in German either. Our little guy would have been the only native English speaker there (in his age group) as of early August. From what they shared in my meetings there(yes, I went back again,) there is no second language instruction, despite what they say on their website. As Eser mentioned, a bit of observation helps form an impression of what the interactions between children and instructors are like.

The Pre-school Plus looks lovely and it's very close to Small Hands Selamicesme (and our Babaanne and Dede!) but I'm concerned that it's managed by the CIIS - have you read the reviews of the Camlica Istanbul International School on mymerhaba and other expat blogs? They're downright scary. I didn't have an overwhelmingly negative sense when I went to the IIS Camlica campus, but I haven't been able to connect with any parents on the International side(foreign students) who've had a positive experience there. We have a couple of Turkish friends who've happily sent their kids to the Turkish side, but can't comment on the other half of the school. I've also had an extensive conversation with a friend's best friend whose daughter has been going to Eyuboglu for 6 years (she's 9 now). But, Eser, if you've had a good experience w/the Pre-School Plus with your daughter last year, that's a good recommendation too. I'll keep that in mind as we see how this fall pans out at the Eyuboglu Kosuyolu campus.

Mcam - would you have any suggestions for anyone sending a child to an Eyuboglu preschool? (LOL, other than, "don't") Things will change for us after this first year in Istanbul and I'm not sure where we'll be living come next summer, so I'm just collecting info for now.

Thanks again for all the input, I appreciate your time and insight, ladies.

Take care,

Cindy


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:33 am 
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Hi cinfulaz,

I am not sure about the other schools but after seeing istanbul international school, I was not happy with what I saw, no accreditation etc, plus I just didnot get a good vibe form the place and have realised long ago that my gut instinct is usually right.

Anyway when I went to preschool plus I asked them straight out if they were affiliated with istanbul international as I could not find information from any other source and they informed me that when they started they were loosely affilated however shortly after they seperated and are no longer in any way affiliated with this school (IIS). I am making my decision based on the fact that this information is correct and the fact that small hands in selamcesme does not have a place for my 5 year old and we will not live here long enough for turkish language to be an important issue for us. So the kids will be going to Pre school plus from september.

I hope you find a great school for you child too. Good luck

regards,
Y


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:04 pm 
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Hello Expatyaz,

Thanks so much for the update. I would have looked at their logo/website and assumed they were affiliated. Good luck to you and yours - I hope they enjoy their school!

:)

Cindy


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:59 pm 
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Hi Again,
The the Istanbul International School in Camlica and the Istanbul International School PLus in Selamicesme-Ciftehavuzlar is not related anymore. (since Jan- Feb 2009 or something around that time) .My daughter started going there on March and I also made my research about this issue .

When I was doing my research last year , just like you , I had the same concerns about these schools but then I found out that because of all these bad reputation the one in Camlica has, the International Preschool Plus wanted to separate and be a whole new different school than the one in Camlica.

Keeping in mind that every parent might have different things that they would look for their kids at a school, I really recommend the Ist. Int. Preschool PLus in Ciftehavuzlar .

I heard many good things about the Eyuboglu too but I never visited there so I cannot make any comment on that one.

Good luck to all of you ...


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:03 am 
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I have educated one of my children at Selamicesme Small Hands and the other at the Erenkoy Eyuboglu (right on Bagdat at Caddebostan - much nicer and more intimate than the Kosuyolu one). Their needs were different. The first has almost no Turkish and ironically picked it up from his Turkish classmates when they were supposed to be learning 'intensively' in English.

Eyuboglu is definitely a Turkish school, but a well-organised one. The teachers know what they are doing and why they are teaching it. The children's progress is tracked and assessed and problems are picked up as soon as they occur, rather than months later as in Small Hands. Both had pros and cons. The Etiler Small Hands is much more international, but far. I liked that the kids spent a lot of time outside. Eyuboglu was more academically-orientated but the sport was a bit weak (although the folkdance teacher was amazing). Their CIS accreditation is definitely earned, and not bought as one member commented.

It boils down to what you need - if you are only here for a year or two, why not try Playorena in Kalamis?

If you are more permanent, your child will need to pick up Turkish, so let them. They won't forget their English and are likely to learn quickly in a real intensive environment (where everyone speaks the language, not just the teacher).


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:48 pm 
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Wow, how lucky are we to have a mom who's sent her kids to two of these schools and so can give us additional insight! Jolijo, thank you for the info on Small Hands and Eyubolu - you're right, obviously each school has its pros and cons.

I don't feel like our son has been at Eyubolu Kosuyolu long enough for me to really provide a critical analysis - but he is coming home saying he had a great day and he's picking up things in Turkish. Since my husband is Turkish and we are hoping to be here for more than a couple years, we're fine w/intensive Turkish, as long as he gets some formalized instruction in English as well.

For any other mothers, I did also hear good things about Playorena in Kalamis from a lady in IWI - smaller classes and even more intimate. (But really, I thought the Kosuyolu yellow house was pretty intimate and our son is in a very small class right now. . .)

Anyway, thanks again to all of you for your input. :)


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Hi,
it seem that playorena is no more an English preschool. I called them a few weeks ago and a turkish girl has answered me that it is now a turkish kindengarden. What about preschool plus in selamicesme? I,ve tried to call them several times last week (before and after bayram :-)) and a turkish guy was on the phone (no english speaking). The only thing i have unterstood was "okul close". Closed for vacation or definetely? Does anybody there can help me?
Thanks,
Barbara


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:50 pm 
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I would like to know why noone mentions the actual fees, is it taboo? Also, none of the schools have it on their website. I suggest that a list is put on this website. I can start:

Mor kelebek 950 a month - no English, yet
Kemer Kids 1400 a month - supposedly English

I am waiting for other replies and will post as they come


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 Post subject: Re: opinions on preschools small hands and pre-school plus
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:47 am 
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I am reading your forum with interest. Unfortunately, my experience with pre-schools is way in the distant past but I would like to give a little advice having lived here on and off for 15 years and seen education in various schools from Robert College to the British International school. The official starting age for children at school here is seven years. So pre-school education does not ( or did not start to around 4 or 5 years). Children do learn turkish through play and activitiıes. My last child who was placed in the Turkish education system went into middle school at Eyoboglu. Whilst I have no experience of the junior and pre-school departments I have to stress that this is an excellent school. There is absolutely no doubt that they did not underhandedly obtained IB status. They regularly hold conferences for the IB organisation and are totally committed to this qualification. The IB organızation does not succumb to bribery as is suggested by MECAM. The comments made by MECAM are ridiculous and offensive. As a high school I would certainly recommend it as I was by my daughter's friend who attended Oxford University from being a graduate from Eyoboglu. They offer a very rounded education from sports to science and from music to the arts. As in the UK they are trying to encourage schools to take on the IB curriculum any school that offers programs under the IB umbrella should be seriously considered.


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