During the recent Private International School Fair in Kuala Lumpur, Kiddy123 met up with the Executive Director of US-based IPC (International Preschool Curriculum), Peter de Beer, who had flown in for the event, and Little Uns Education Services Sdn Bhd’s Chief Operating Officer, C.K. Gan. Little Uns has exclusive distribution rights for IPC in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Let us hear from Peter and Gan to find out what the IPC can offer preschool owners.
Kiddy123: Hi Peter, welcome to Malaysia. Could you tell us what the IPC set out to do when it was launched six years ago in 2010?
Peter: The IPC was founded to harmonise global early childhood education standards and provide a means by which communities in any country – educators, teachers, parents, students -- can benefit from world-class educational training, materials and practices. In fact, our curriculum can be incorporated into almost any preschool in the world.
Developed by the IPC’s team of highly qualified educators and academicians, our curriculum meets or exceeds all major national standards, such as those in the US, UK and Singapore, and is aligned with NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Standards, which is the gold standard for early childhood programmes in our country.
Kiddy123: So how can the IPC benefit preschools in Malaysia?
Peter: In preschools in many countries, teachers are usually the ones who develop the content and materials. As such, the quality may vary as there are rarely any formal standards to follow. In addition, when the teacher leaves or retires, the content and materials probably go with him/her and the new or replacement teacher will have to prepare everything all over again.
On the other hand, in an IPC preschool, teaching is standardised as the teachers use the IPC’s 56 thematic unit curriculum – 36 units for the Infant and Toddler Curriculum and 20 units for the Preschool Curriculum. Within each thematic unit are a set of activities covering the IPC’s six core content learning areas: language arts, socio-emotional skills, numeracy, creative and visual arts, sciences, and fine and gross motor skills. Each unit also comes with easy-to-follow instructions and a materials list.
In addition, we have a family involvement programme as studies show that learning at home makes up about 40% of child’s total learning. We provide a Parent Newsletter to inform parents what has been taught in school plus several activities and tips to help parents reinforce their child’s learning at home.
Most importantly, the teachers are using high quality content that has already been researched and prepared by IPC’s team of experienced early childhood educators and academicians, and which even includes learning objectives and assessments to monitor student levels. IPC Classroom Resources are also available in print or online. With access to thousands of learning materials and worksheets, teachers save a lot of time preparing, preschool owners save on expenses, and there’s more more time for teachers to teach their students effectively.
C.K. Gan: Let me add to that. In Malaysia, our preschools are facing an acute shortage of trained and experienced teachers due to the rapidly increasing demand for preschool education. In the short-term, we have no choice but to employ teachers without a diploma in ECCE or those who are new graduates. In these cases, the IPC’s thematic units is an important aid to the less experienced teachers in planning their lessons.
Kiddy123: Mr Gan, I understand that there are now 12 IPC preschools in Malaysia out of the more than 150 IPC preschools in 40 countries. Could you tell us about Little Uns experience and also the experiences of these 12 preschools.
C.K. Gan: Let me start from our company’s perspective. As you may know, Little Uns is a collaboration between the HELP Education Group and OSK. We have studied many types of curriculum from around the world and we believe we have found the perfect fit for the children in Malaysia and Indonesia with IPC’s innovative materials and progressive curriculum. Together with the IPC, we are committed to raising the standards of early childhood education in Malaysia and Indonesia to an international level and equipping students with the tools necessary to meet the demands of the 21st century.
As for the IPC preschools in Malaysia, I believe they now have the confidence that they are supported by a world-class professional organisation. Also, joining the IPC has provided them access to more than a dozen benefits ranging from business plan assistance to staff training, handbooks and practical guides. With its own design studio and printing house, the IPC has several thousand resources ranging from readers and workbooks to phonics books to classroom wall cards. All IPC related content is available to every authorised IPC centre.
One of the most important benefits is of course the training that the IPC provides for teachers. There is an extensive 6-month Teacher Training Course which culminates in the IPC Teaching Certificate. The course reinforces essential teaching skills and establishes a minimum standard for teaching practices in IPC schools. There are also a growing number of continuing education units (CEU) and professional development courses available upon completion of the 6-month course.
With all these benefits, these preschools can now offer students an international preschool curriculum that comes with teachers that have world-class educational training and supervision, using world-class research-based, child-centred materials developed by IPC’s academic team. As you can see, our materials have been beautifully and creatively produced by IPC’s own design team. I can safely say that these preschools have seen their profile raised to international standards, and frankly, they stand out in the crowd.
Any existing or potential preschool owners who are looking to start an early childhood education centre that adheres to international standards, can contact us for a customised proposal. The IPC is available to qualifying schools who are capable of meeting stringent accreditation criteria that is reflective of best practices in this country.