In Malaysia, formal education starts at around four years of age when a child enters preschool. Preschool and kindergarten are often used interchangeably.
In Malaysia, homeschooling is given a lot of importance before the child is fully made to immerse in the world of formal education in a kindergarten school.
You may also hear terms like ‘tadika’ and ‘task to refer to early years centers in Malaysia. Both are Malay terms and refer to two different types of early childhood education. ‘Taska’ is short for ‘Taman Asuhan Kanak-Kanak which essentially means a childcare center, nursery, or kindergarten. They cater to children all the way from birth to four years old. On the other hand, ‘tadika’ is an abbreviation for ‘Taman Didikan Kanak-kanak’. ‘Tadika’ is the Malay version of primary school and this is for children between four and six years old.
The General Curriculum
There are numerous preschool curricula available today but play-based learning is one of the most popular. In play-based learning, children interact with the world around them. Activities included in play-based learning are solving puzzles, playing with blocks, painting, and drawing, reading simple books, and listening to stories or reciting poetry. In terms of physical exercise, children climb and work on outdoor equipment. They move and jump along with other children. Playing with clay, sand, water, paint, paper, and colors are also regular activities in play-based learning.
The Aspects to Lookout For
1. Physical Environment
A kindergarten school is the first spot for any child to explore the world. This is also the place where he spends his maximum time outside the home. Therefore, it is important that it is built to aid the general well-being of the child. Make sure that the rooms are well lit and are open to the outside elements. Children need sunlight and open spaces for their growth.
In order to impart genuine Montessori-based learning, the teachers need to be trained accordingly. Checking that the teachers are certified would make sure that the children get the correct and methodical guidance and not something that is unstructured.
Curriculum and Method of Learning
It is quite simple for many schools to pass off their method of kindergarten learning as a certified or international one because there is no syllabus in particular. However, if you look deeper, you will understand that the actual Montessori method is quite particular in its methods.
In fact, go through the following points to understand what exactly does a Montessori School as per the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) imply.
- The classrooms should be of multiple age groups. For example, classrooms for children aged between 2 1⁄2 or 3 to 6 years old are commonly operated with other known formats like ages 0–3, 6–9 or 9–12
- A method of learning here involves self-discovery rather than pure instructions. For example, malleable materials are used by children to form shapes at their own discretion
- Objects for the children are made out of natural and non-toxic materials such as wood instead of plastics which would imbue a love for the natural
- The classroom’s structure to be designed and organized keeping in mind the size, height, color preferences of children
- Work or playtime to be divided into uninterrupted sets with formats of 2 – 3 hours to establish focus and access the creative corners of the mind
- A wide array of choices of activity for children based on their preferences
- An allowance of controlled freedom, in the sense that children should be left to their devices with teachers being aware of their actions
An Ideal Kindergarten In Kuala Lumpur
Global Indian International School in Kuala Lumpur is one such international school that also offers Kindergarten education through its preschool wing. The fees here are around RM 16,727 annually for their entire Kindergarten program and are low compared to other kindergarten schools when you talk about general KL school fees.
Their USP is that they make sure to follow the Montessori Method along with including their own improvisations like their 5 Pillar aspect that they use to interact with students –
Helps students easily take up on language learning through listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, by imparting practical applications in a fun and interesting manner. Alongside this, it pushes students to ‘accelerate learning through excellence’, hence the term ‘excelerate’.
Nurtures the students’ personalities as well as grows their intellectual capabilities grow steadily through a theme-based learning process.
Encourages students to absorb and assimilate data which in turn builds in them the skills of self-reliance, cooperation, and research.
Teaches students the basic values of honesty, justice, understanding, and providence. They also have a Mahatma Gandhi Centre for universal values which particularly symbolizes their dedication towards moral science
Future Ready Programme
Boasts of a dynamic and active approach to understanding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) by developing in the students a level of interest towards the subjects through active participation, thereby brushing their creativity and sharpening their mental capabilities.
Thus, this is what Kindergarten schooling is like in Kuala Lumpur, along with an example of an ideal school.