Established since 2014, Kidsville International Preschool conducts the International Preschool Curriculum (IPC) where thematic approach is applied in their academic teaching. Kiddy123 managed to meet with one of the directors, Ms Valerie Tan of Kidsville International Preschool to learn more about IPC.
Please give us some basic introduction of Kidsville International Preschool.
Kidsville International Preschool, established in 2014 was founded by Ms Emily Loo and myself. Kidsville utilizes the International Preschool Curriculum
(IPC), a franchise curriculum from USA. We are one of the only six IPC centres in Malaysia.
Kidsville is a preschool that offers nursery and preschool classes, after-school childcare services and also enrichment classes. We cater to children from 18 months to six years of age.
Half-day and full-day nursery and preschool classes are both available. Afternoon session for pre-schoolers is also available, to cater to parents who want their children to benefit from our IPC programme as well as to aid the children’s revision in their academic subjects. The enrichment classes that we offer currently are Music and Creative Arts & Craft. Our music class is conducted by a certified music teacher.
What inspired both yourself and Ms Emily Loo to start Kidsville International Preschool?
Both Emily and I love children very much and we are very passionate about early education for children.
First and foremost, we are both mothers and the “rat-race” trend these days worry us. It is unhealthy especially for kids at this age. We strive to create an environment where children learn because they enjoy it.
Every child’s learning progress is different and it is up to us as educators to help cultivate and grow their learning mind. We sincerely believe that by cultivating the children’s creative thinking, it will help them tremendously in their interpersonal skills and also encourage self-confidence.
What curriculums/programs do you provide in Kidsville?
International Preschool Curriculum (IPC) practices a thematic approach. At Kidsville, we select a theme each month and integrate the theme with specially-designed programs, so the children can acquire new skills and knowledge while enjoying their learning process.
The programs available are the IPC Toddlers Program (18months to 3years old), IPC Nursery Program (3years to 4 years old) and IPC Preschool program (4 years to 6 years old).
We do run a Weekend Playgroup Class for 6-month to 18-month old children and it is open to the public. Parents are also invited to join their children in our thematic activities from time to time.
We recently launched Cognitive and Sensorimotor Program which is suitable to children between the ages of 2-4 years old. This program lasts an hour a day and is currently only available during our afternoon session from Monday to Friday.
What is the difference about IPC compared to other method such as Montessori?
International Preschool Curriculum (IPC) originated from the United States of America.
The curriculum is devised and developed by a team of experienced early childhood educators and academicians. The IPC program may be new in Malaysia but it is a proven learning program.
We may be teaching the same theme throughout the whole school, yet each age group will learn and apply their understanding differently from one another. There are a lot of room to grow the theme into something more complex as we move along each week, designed to spark and grow the children’s thought process and pique their curiosity. We believe that children learn best when they are having fun and academic items are presented in a manner that will enable them to reflect and apply in their daily lives. Learning through play and creative thinking are vital elements that will shape a child.
Kidsville practices a child-led learning procedure yet gently guided by our IPC-trained teachers so that the child’s ideas can be assisted and supported. This is to promote the child’s creativity and grow their thought process. Why make the children think outside the box when what we really want is to not even have that box in the first place in their mind. The box itself stifles creativity.
Critical and creative thinking is one of the core objectives of the IPC. Other objectives include social and emotional development, understanding of the world and internationalism, school readiness for multiple settings and programs such as the IB, Cambridge International Examinations or government operated schools in nearly every country where IPC operates.
What language do you use to teach the students?
The main language we use to teach is English but we do include Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin into our curriculum as well.
Are your educators qualified to teach IPC?
All the educators at Kidsville have to go through an intensive six months’ worth of training with the US franchise school to be qualified or licensed to teach IPC. It is a requirement at Kidsville that all the teachers possess at least a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. Hence, our educators are very well-trained to teach the International Preschool Curriculum (IPC).
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in this business?
Our biggest challenge is to get the parents to understand why our school fees are slightly pricier compared to other preschools in Penang. This is because our teacher-to-student ratio is very low and we maintain small classes which enables us to provide the necessary attention and care that the children need.
Just as we mentioned earlier too, IPC is relatively still new compared to Montessori, therefore we have to also educate the parents on how the IPC is the perfect program to aid a child’s learning process.
How do you overcome this challenge?
We offer trial classes which the parents can join in and monitor for themselves on how we carry out our classes. We always ask the parents to be open-minded with our curriculum and allow us some time to prove ourselves as the right preschool and childcare center choice for their children.
Usually, the parents are often pleased with what they see and experienced at Kidsville with their children.
What is your advice for parents who are looking for a nursery or kindergarten in Penang?
Finding a suitable child care center can be a daunting task.
There are three main concerns from parents, such as safety, cleanliness and the teachers’ experience. It goes without saying that every parent’s top priority is safety. We also suggest parents to inspect the facilities thoroughly and ensure that the center have appropriate licensing to operate its’ business. Parents should make a personal assessment on what they believe is a healthy and safe environment for their child.
At Kidsville, the gates are constantly and securely locked. The whole school is also child-proof. We have taken up an extra notch by installing CCTVs so we can capture and monitor the day’s activities and also to ward off any untoward incidents. The interior, exterior, toys, materials and furniture are also constantly cleaned and sanitized.
Are you planning to expand your business in near future?
We definitely do have plans to expand our business in the near future. We have had quite a lot of positive feedbacks and referrals from parents about Kidsville too so that acts as an encouragement for us to do better and also consider more creative programs for the children.
Emily is also very passionate about the education for special needs children and we hope in the near future, Kidsville would be able to offer a few placements for them to school together with neurotypical children.
** 2015 Weekend Playgroup have yet to commence as we are still gathering enough enrolment to kickstart a playgroup. For those who are interested, please drop us a call at 017 - 493 5118/ 04 - 890 7205 or message us on our Facebook. Thank you. **