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13 Best Playgroups in Hong Kong for Newborns and Toddlers

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15 Best Hong Kong Playgroups in 2023

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Playgroups are a fairly new concept in the world of education. Started in the 1980s in the UK, playgroups initially began as an informal gathering of kids and their parents on a regular basis. However today, playgroups are much more than that, they’re a place of learning, and exploration for kids, and experience sharing and bonding for parents.

This brings us to the question, why are Playgroups so popular in Hong Kong. Let’s dive deep to understand why.

Why do we need Playgroups in Hong Kong?

Let’s begin by understanding what a playgroup is.

A playgroup is a semi-informal gathering of children and sometimes their parents, hosted in a communal space. This gives kids a chance to interact with others their own age and explore freely within a safe environment. Kids who enroll in playgroups are usually at the age before entering school, ranging from 1 to 4 years of age.

Playgroups are essential for young children’s development for several reasons:

  1. Social Skills Development: Playgroups offer a structured environment where children learn to interact with their peers. They develop essential social skills like sharing and co-operation. These early interactions become crucial for building the foundation of how to behave and communicate in groups.
  2. Emotional Growth: In playgroups, children experience a range of emotions and also learn to express themselves through storytelling, plays and fun interactive games. They develop empathy by understanding others’ feelings and learn to manage their own emotions, which is a vital skill for personal development.
  3. Cognitive Development: Playgroups often involve activities that stimulate a child’s cognitive abilities. This includes problem-solving games, puzzles, and interactive storytelling, which are important for brain development and early learning.
  4. Physical Development: Many playgroup activities are physical, like climbing, jumping, or dancing. These activities help in improving motor skills, coordination, and overall physical health.
  5. Language Skills: In a multilingual country like Hong Kong, playgroups can be a great way for children to practice and improve their English language skills in a natural and immersive environment. This is especially beneficial for children who come from non-English speaking households.
  6. Preparation for School: Playgroups help children get used to a structured routine, which eases their transition into formal schooling in Hong Kong. They learn to follow instructions, participate in group activities, and adapt to being away from their primary caregivers for a period.
  7. Parental Support and Education: Playgroups also offer parents the chance to meet and learn from each other. They can share parenting tips, discuss child development, and find support in the challenges of raising young children.

A list of 13 Best Playgroups in Hong Kong

1. Tutor Time

Tutor Time International Nursery and Kindergarten in Hong Kong offers a bilingual curriculum for children aged 6 months to 6 years. With a presence in Hong Kong since 2001, it provides playgroup, nursery, and kindergarten programs. The school offers a low student-to-teacher ratio and a unique mode of curriculum that focuses on personal and motor development and academics.

Their aim is to prep up students to acclimatize to life in top international schools. The curriculum focuses on individualized learning and preparation for primary school. Their emphasis is on holistic child development in a safe, nurturing environment. The school has invested considerably into its environment with each age group being offered a unique space to create and interact with.

Along with this, TutorTime offers remote access to lessons as well as weekly course materials to keep kids engaged.

Phone: (+852) 9123 6889



2. Baby Steps

Baby Steps, situated in Central Hong Kong, is an international preschool dedicated to early childhood education. It aims to provide a nurturing and affectionate environment for children. They even offer private sessions for kids preparing for private, competitive kindergarten interviews.

Baby Steps have a fully childproof indoor play area that features motor skills toys (sponge balls, hanging bars, yoga balls, swings, etc) as well as a special music area with devices like drums and ukuleles. The staff keeps a strict track of every student using a weekly scorecard, and the growth is measured via individually placed milestones.

Phone: (+852) 2887 7585



3. IMS Montessori First Steps

The International Montessori School (IMS) in Hong Kong offers the Montessori First Steps program for toddlers aged 12-24 months. It provides a nurturing environment for the early developmental stages of young children.

The program focuses on immersive English and Putonghua language development, guided by Montessori experts. It aims to support growing independence, concentration, and motivation in toddlers as they start to walk and talk. The program also fosters parent-child bonding and interaction with other parents.

Phone: (+852) 2861 0339



4. Baumhaus

Remember being a child and wanting a small tree-house for yourself and your friends? While Hong Kong might not necessarily have the space (or knack) for tree-houses, Baumhaus embodies this concept by offering students a warm, friendly, and creative tree-themed space to grow in.

Their classes range from sensory experiences for babies to exploratory, walk-able settings for toddlers, to social, group-based learning for kids between two and four years of age. All of Baumhaus’s interior corresponds to the EU safety standards.

Phone: (+852) 2321 5898



5. Dibber

Dibber is a Norway-based, international nursery and kindergarten started by Hans Jacob Sundby in 1983. Currently, they have a school in Whampoa, Hong Kong. Dibber offers two modes of curriculum: Mainstream and International, aimed at local and international families respectively. 

Dibber offers 7 different streams of study and encourages peer and mentor-based learning. Students work in small groups with interactive and play-based lessons. They provide world-class facilities, offering both Cantonese-led local and English-led international curriculums. The kindergarten ensures personalized attention for each child, thanks to small group learning environments.

Phone: +852 5408 2900



6. Malvern Playgroup

With franchises at West Kowloon and Connaught Road West, Malvern Playgroup is held within the premises of Malvern College and offers educational classes with various themes. 

Their classes focus on improving children’s social, cognitive and emotional skills. The course has a strict routine which includes music time, guided activities, story time, snacks, fingerplay, investigation activites and more.

Phone: +852 3898 4669



7. Victoria Play Park

Victoria Playpark, part of the Victoria Educational Organisation, offers trilingual infant and toddler playgroup programs in Hong Kong. It employs a “one-teacher-one-language” approach for English, Putonghua, and Cantonese.

The center focuses on early childhood development through a play-based curriculum, promoting curiosity, confidence, and well-balanced learning. They offer various themed activities and learning stations, facilitating a smooth transition to kindergarten and emphasizing parent engagement.

Phone: +852 2117 4218



8. Sai Kung Monstessori

Recently started in 2016, Sai Kung Montessori follows a unique methodology of mixing kids of various age groups from 3 years to 6 years. Located in Sai Kung town, it emphasizes a child-centered approach to learning.

The kindergarten follows the Montessori method, promoting independence and a love of learning. The environment is tailored to foster child-centric education.

They offer both full-day and half-day options. The school features special parks for younger kids, and a language and math are for older kids.

Phone: +(852) 5369 8587



9. The Little Gym

The Little Gym offers parent-child classes designed for children aged 4 months to 3 years, focusing on fostering a strong bond between parents and children while enhancing the child’s development.

The classes aim to strengthen bonds, boost development, and create social connections. They incorporate activities like directive songs, basic tumbling, and gymnastics skills. The goal is to promote motor skills, balance, and coordination in a safe, fun environment.

Phone: +852 2368 8777



10. Les Petit Lascars

Les Petit Lascars is a French curriculum based school across multiple countries, aiming to vater to French nationals and their children. The school follows a trilingual mode of French, English and the local language of the country the campus is based in. Currently, Les Petit Lascars has one campus in Hong Kong at Tseung Kwan. 

The school offers baby gyms, pre-nurseries and special French language nursery classes for families who don’t want to lose touch with their traditions.

Phone: (852) 2526 8666



11. Woodlands Pre-schools

With 45 years of educating young children, Woodlands pre-schools accept students from 6 months to 6 years of age. Their pre-school is follows the English Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and has instructions in English with Mandarin as one of the subjects. 

Along with regular classes and play sessions, Woodlands also offers summer camps, outdoor activity camps and a special Protection Behavior Program for younger children.

Phone: +852 2526 9478



12. Mills International Preschool

The Mills pre-school was started by a couple whose own kids were not able to keep up and enjoy with the rigid and academia based curriculum of pre-schools back in the 90s. Joanna Hotung, of the Hotung family then decided to create a fun learning environment that combined language, music, drama, arts, dance, and science. At the same time, teachers at Mills focus on non-tangible education such as improving communication, curiosity, self-confidence and teamwork.

Phone: +852 2717 6336



13. Box Hill

Similars to Woodlands, Box Hill follows the EYFS program and has an English mode of instruction. However, major Chinese language classes are also offered and parents can make a selection for their kids. 

An interesting take by Box Hill is allowing kids to socialise by themselves by creating various enrichment camps of their own – such as Mandarin camp, or drama camps, or messy play camps.

Phone: (852) 4621 1899



Looking for a Kindergarten? Here’s a list of 10 Best Kindergartens in the North District in Hong Kong.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should babies go to Playgroups?

Playgroups and pre-schools are typically meant as a academic foundation building space for children. Hence, it should pre-date them beginning actual academic education (kindergarten). The most common and accepted (across curriculum and countries) or sending kids to playgroup is between 1.5 to 2 years of age. Children can stay in playgroups until 3 or 5 years of age, based on the classes offered by the playgroup.  

Playgroups are different from baby gyms, which are meant for much younger kids. Baby gyms typically start accepting kids from 6 months of age onwards. 

What are the activities in a Playgroup?

Activities in a playgroup can be divided as:

  • Academic education – This includes skills that will help the child with academics as they move on to K1. This can include forming basic sentences, memorising songs, communicating things they see and more. 
  • Social education – These skills are taught through a mix of peer games and activities. Playgroups can host:
    • Detective games
    • Group based quizzes
    • Storytelling
    • Obstacle courses, etc. 
  • Physical education – 
  • Psychological education – This includes incultating in kids a sense of wonder, curiosity and appreciation. Psychological education is done via:
    • Music classes
    • Dance classes or games
    • Individual or group-based art activities
    • Water-based play
    • Solids and shapes based play using materials like clay, dough, paper, etc. 
    • Play areas that allow jumping, skipping, racing, swinging and more.

What is the difference between playgroup and nursery?

The main difference between a playgroup and a nursery lies in their structure and focus. Playgroups are generally less formal and structured, designed for children to play and interact under parents or caregivers’ supervision with focus on social development and play-based learning. Nurseries, on the other hand, are more structured environments providing early education and childcare. They often have a set curriculum and are staffed by trained educators, focusing on early learning, development, and preparation for formal schooling.


All in all, playgroups are an essential part of a child’s development. It eases their transition from being around people they know, to learning how to form new social relationships. We hope this comprehensive list of some of the top, and some unique schools around Hong Kong helps your decision of selecting the best for your kid!

About the Author
Soumyajit Chatterjee
Soumyajit Chatterjee is a Contributing Editor with Fun to Learn English. He works with various educational institutes in Hong Kong to help them with improving modern English education and making learning with Phonics more fun and enjoyable for children.

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