Driving along Jalan Perdana 2 in Taman Segar Perdana, Cheras we were attracted by FunKids’ impressive signage stretching prominently over four shop lots. Even so, we were not prepared for the amazing children’s wonderland that we saw when we entered the kindergarten.
The truly exciting colours and intelligent arrangement of apparatuses, equipment, books and furniture in various corners within the huge 10,000 ft2 space were designed to stimulate all the senses in a child (we adults loved it too!). Besides a sizeable indoor playground, we saw a Science Centre, a Computer Centre, an Innovation Centre -- which combined a Maths Whiz Centre, Language Centre and Super Fun Development Centre -- a professional-looking kitchen for baking and cooking, and a large activity room for their weekly Power Fun Time (in which the children enjoy games, music & movement) and for practising dances and music for their annual concerts.
There were also two well-stocked libraries – one for the 3-year olds and one for the 4 to 6-year olds -- while a wide wall display of the textbooks and workbooks used by students of different age groups revealed beautifully designed materials that any child would love to pick up and read.
Said FunKids’ owner, Mr H.K. Yap, “What you see here -- all the apparatuses, equipment, books -- are from the Fungates system, which incorporates the latest innovations in preschool education proven to be successful in developed countries. In fact, Fungates have consultants based in the US. We were the first to introduce thematic shelves (materials arranged by themes), science centres, and state-of-the-art apparatus such as the interactive multimedia whiteboard (SMART board). Fungates was also among the first to emphasise the importance of fun in learning. As you can see, everything here provides a fun and stimulating learning experience for the children. That’s why they love coming to school. Our investment in this school is very high as all the apparatuses are specially selected by Fungates and are imported. Fungates even has its own Curriculum and Publishing Departments to write and publish its textbooks and workbooks.”
Mr Yap chose the Fungates System 18 years ago for their first kindergarten in Pandan Perdana, Cheras because he found it to be the most innovative system for preschool education. Every year, Fungates founder Ms Clarine Chun will undertake a national teachers training programme in Malaysia to update and upgrade the skills of all Fungate teachers in this country.
“We are a team of serious educators and I have been involved in the field of education for 35 years, including 15 years as an advisor to the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland for their admission of students. As you may know, Fungates is very selective of the kindergartens that are allowed to use their system and I am proud to say that all our four centres in the Klang Valley have fulfilled their conditions.
“In particular, we know the importance of having a good preschool education. Young minds grow 10 times faster than that of college students, therefore we need to give them the best at this crucial time for their learning. Here, we believe in holistic education, i.e. children must relate to the community, to nature, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and love to build their character, discipline and self-esteem. In fact, all our teachers are trained to practise positive reinforcement and are not allowed to talk down to any child. There is no such thing as a smart or stupid child; there are only fast or slow learners. Our objective is to further enrich the fast learners and to encourage and support the slow learners.”
FunKids also stresses the importance of developing a love of learning. Mr Yap believes that when children love learning, they will become independent learners: “What we do here is to teach them to create, think and analyse, rather than memorising. For example, in Maths, we teach them to understand the principles behind the Maths problem rather than teaching through rote learning.
“In 2017, we are introducing something quite revolutionary for preschools here. We are using a project-based approach to introduce integrated and independent learning in our preschools. This is something you see only in universities and international schools in Malaysia and, frankly, we are very excited about it.”
Indeed, things are really moving in FunKids and the children are getting the best that innovations in preschool education can offer.
Find Out More About FunKids Kindergarten, Taman Segar Perdana, Cheras