Kiddy123 interviewed the owner of Peter & Jane Kindergarten - Mrs Patricia Teh. Established since 1982, Peter & Jane Kindergarten still focusing on exposing children to top quality early learning experiences and continue to strive for excellence.
Can you tell us about the history on the birth of Peter & Jane Kindergarten?
Once upon a time, way back in 1977, after my Form 6, I helped out in a preschool. The Principal, Fiona Loh noticed that I do have affinity with children and suggested that I could consider this career. She gave me contacts of Montessori Colleges in London. My father thinks it’s a good idea for me to do a one year diploma before I head for University. I find it extremely interesting, stayed on for Preschool Management and assisted a year in a renowned preschool.
In 1980, armed with all the knowledge on Montessori Education, I headed home to Malaysia, with a plan to continue my education in USA. Meanwhile, the desire to put my learnings into practice burns brightly. I taught in a Montessori in Selangor for a year. I felt I wanted to do more in the field for Malaysian children. In 1982, I delayed my plans for USA and decide to open my own preschool, naming it Peter & Jane Kindergarten.
Lady luck was on my side. London Montessori Centre Ltd came into Malaysia. They appointed me as their representative in South East Asia, made me their external examiner and my dream to further my studies in USA is history. Meanwhile, Peter & Jane Kindergarten grew from strength to strength. Business was extremely brisk, we have big enrolment which requires us to open up other centres.
Together with London Montessori Centre Ltd, we set up London Montessori Centre (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. Montessori Training was really popular as there was no other training available at that time in our region.
I’m curious. How did you come up with the name Peter & Jane?
It was on a whim because I didn’t want the centre to have my name since this was supposed to be something that I do while I’m in Malaysia before going to the States. At that time, I was holding the famous Longman’s Peter & Jane series and I though that’s a sweet name, “Peter & Jane”.
When did you start opening the other centres?
1982 - Started the first Peter & Jane Kindergarten – Taman Megah
1985 - Peter & Jane Kindergarten – Damansara Jaya
1989 - Peter & Jane Kindergarten – Taman Sea, a specially built kindergarten.The drawings for this building was archive by Aga Khan Foundation. They recognize it as a well-planned building for children.
1990 - Peter & Jane Kindergarten, Taman Megah was closed and we shifted all the children to our new premise at Taman Sea.
1995 - Peter & Jane Kindergarten – Saujana Villa. Peter & Jane was invited by the Management of Saujana Villa Condominium to run a set up for their Japanese Client
2007 - Peter & Jane Kindergarten opened its flagship at Mutiara Damansara with a 28,000 square feet build up.
2010 - Peter & Jane was invited by Citibank Berhad to provide education and care programmes at their Corporate Childcare Centre, called CitiKids Care.
What makes Peter & Jane different from other players in the industry?
We lay a strong emphasis on the building of self-confidence alongside academic excellence. The environment in Peter & Jane Kindergarten is based on good values in life. Peter & Jane strive to:
Provide a happy, caring and supportive environment
Ensure that the child imbibes the right values
Treat the child with dignity
Encourage the child to explore his/her potential
Respect the child as an individual
Just treatment to all children
Allow the child to make choices
Nurture independence and confidence
Excellence in education
So am I correct to say that what you’re doing is making children love learning?
Yes, that is what we have to do best. Even without conventional homework, we have six years old children with the reading ability of a Standard 3 & 4. There is no secret to do this, but it’s all about what we do and what we have done.
Once a child is engaged, there is no stopping from wanting to learn more. Learning has to be cultivated and to be enjoyed and not forced upon.
What were the challenges that you faced in the past 32 years?
One of the main challenge was to generate enough profit to have more facilities. As a centre owner, it is very important to keep on improving yourself and the quality of your business. Grooming teachers can be challenging. Another challenge is educating parents to appreciate the positive outcome of good early childhood care and education programmes.
Any advice for those who are thinking of opening their own kindergarten?
You need to think out reasons as to why you want to open one. You need to balance collection vs expenses. With top priority, always give the children the best you can afford. Treat your staff well, give them what they should rightfully have and in the long run, the school has everything to gain.
Finally, any plans on going as a franchise?
I do hold a license, but I’m not marketing it. I don’t know what the future holds and I’m not in a hurry to expand.
Thank you very much for your time, I really do appreciate it.
As do I, you’re very welcome.