YBM Appletree – English bilingual nursery and kindergarten

With three locations in Seoul, Appletree is much more than just a pre-school…


It was a big pleasure for us to meet with Vicky Kim, the principal of Seocho Appletree and learn from her why Appletree English Bilingual Early Childhood Learning Center was so special. We wanted to share highlights from our discussion…

Kidsfuninseoul: Hi Vicky, tell us first about yourself: how long have you been working for Appletree and what is your background?

Vicky KimVicky:  I’ve been working for YBM Appletree for 7 years. I started to teach English to Korean children at YBM ECC in 1996. I also set up a story telling school, “Story Factory” and ran it for 4 years. This helped me a lot to work as a center director at Appletree.

What do you like most about it?

My favorite aspect of this job is working around children. They give me a lot of energy and working with children is one of the most rewarding jobs, I think.

What is your favorite moment of the day in Appletree?

It’s when kids arrive at school. I greet them every morning at the gate and they say ‘Hello, Vicky teacher!’ with a beautiful smile! It’s the most precious moment of my day.

What is the age range of your students?

We have children between 18 months and 5 years. The youngest kids are 18 months old which is 3 years old in Korean age. Appletree has 3-year curriculum. 

How many kids per class?

The maximum number of students is 16. We have 4 teachers, native English teacher, Korean bilingual teacher, and 2 Korean teachers in each class. 

Appletree is a bilingual school. What is the percentage of use of English and Korean during the day?

Around 80% of classes are run in English with native English teachers and Korean bilingual teachers. There are also a few classes taught in Korean, such as Think Tank, P.E., Music and Korean. 

Who are the Appletree teachers?

There are 3 different groups of teachers at Appletree. Native English teachers who teach most of the classes are from either North America or U.K. They all have bachelor’s degree and have experience working with children. Korean bilingual teachers studied TESOL or English in universities and Korean teachers studied children education. They are all very loving and caring. 

What makes Appletree so special compared to other schools?

Since we have very young kids, taking a good care of children is equally as important as teaching. Parents of Appletree kids are satisfied with a wonderful child care system as well as a strong English education.

Appletree is a part of the larger YBM Education system.  It is open for kids from 18 months to 4 years old. Appletree’s philosophy is to provide education through playtime with multiple developmental activities rather than simple traditional childcare. The whole program is taught in English with the obvious exception of Korean classes. The daily routine is structured around regular activities including Music, Science, Art, Show and Tell. There are particular themes and activities studied every month. 

Appletree also offers many after school clubs including Ballet, Lego, English Storytelling, Art & Clay and many others.

One of the big advantages is that you can join Appletree anytime during the school year subject to availabilities. The tuition fee can be also paid monthly.

Appletree schools have 3 different locations: Seocho, Apgujeong and Gaepo.

Appletree does not charge for school shuttle bus and its operating hours cover after-school clubs.

We can only warmly recommend Appletree as both our kids have studied there. Soon after arriving in Korea, we were so happy to find Appletree and instantly knew our kids would be in good hands. Appletree’s caring and loving teachers provided a very safe, warm and at the same time educative and entertaining environment for our kids. We’ll be always very thankful for their care and competence which greatly prepared our children for their next adventure  🙂

For more information, check YBM Appletree website


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