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How to Choose a Preschool in Malaysia

Published
02/07/2013

Looking for the perfect preschool is like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – it pretty much does not exist. What works for some parents may not work for others. There are however, some things all parents should look at when picking a preschool for their child. In Malaysia, rules and regulations of preschools work differently from many other parts of the world, so it is important for parents to go through this checklist before identifying the place you would want your child to be when he is not with you.


Recommendations

The first thing you should do is to ask around. Preschools with good reputations do immediately present themselves without much advertising. You will hear about these preschools from satisfied parents whose kids have attended the place before. These preschools will reflect their good reputation as you see the ambience and environment when you walk in. It should have a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. You should see an environment that looks nurturing and stimulating. The school should not hesitate to give you phone numbers of a few current parents for reference purposes. If they have a privacy policy on that, hang around the area during drop-off or pick-up time and you will be able to chat with some people right away. Don’t form an opinion based solely on what you may hear from a disgruntled parent who may have had a negative experience. Dig deeper and form an informed opinion.


Rules & Regulations

Ask the preschool about their rules and regulations. You can tell a lot about an establishment by their rules and how they enforce them. A good preschool should have clear operating hours, trained professionals to handle emergencies and staff members who are responsible. Ask them about their sick-child policy and how they enforce it. Many places allow sick children to attend classes, only to get half the class infected. Does the preschool have an open-door policy? A reputable and confident preschool will invite you to become part of its community by encouraging parents to help out with field trips and activities. A school that does not have an open-door policy usually has something to hide. The bottom line here is that if the school is lax about rules and you don’t see staff and students that know what they are doing, look elsewhere.


Curriculum

A stimulating curriculum is probably the most important thing to look for in a preschool. A Montessori preschool should have all the apparatus that is prescribed to a Montessori preschool. If it does, check to see if the children actually use these materials. If you are looking at a non-Montessori preschool, ensure the schedule has enough time for physical activity, quiet time, story time, socializing, group time, meals and individual time. A good preschool curriculum should have a good balance of academics, social and physical activity. At the same time, check out the preschool’s food guidelines if your child is planning to snack at school. Do they have a well-balanced meal given out to children or is the menu filled with high carb no nutrient diets.


Qualified and Experienced Staff

The most important thing you need to look at when it comes to preschools in Malaysia is the people who will be looking after and teaching your precious children. Are the teachers qualified? Teachers should hold a minimum preschool education diploma or a Montessori diploma to be able to teach in a preschool. A SPM certificate is not enough simply because it has no relationship with teaching in a preschool. Do the teachers receive regular training? Are they trained for emergencies? These are questions you need to ask the principal. Ideally, the principal should also be a well-qualified (in the field of education)and experienced  individual. All staff members should be enthusiastic, responsible and caring and should share your philosophy about discipline, education and other issues. Check out how big the classes are while you are there. A classroom of a teacher and a teaching assistant should have no more than 20 students under their care. Ask questions about qualifications, experience and how long teachers have been with the preschool. A high turnover rate does not say very good things about the preschool.


With these tips, we hope you can make a more educated decision for your child’s future.