In a quiet area of Bangsar, sheltered from the hustle and bustle, sits a beautiful double storey bungalow on 14,000 square feet of land surrounded by lush greenery. As we approach, a security guard ushered us in through a side gate and into its main compound with its perfectly manicured lawn. We were led to a waiting area, where we waited for our host to join us. We notice that there are three levels of security: the main gate manned by a security personnel, an inner fence and gate to the play area, garden and swimming pool, and finally glass doors accessible only with a security code leading into the offices and classrooms.
Our host is Mrs. Gwen Ng-Perera, Parent Relations Manager for the school. She starts, “Safari Kid is an international chain of preschools and kindergartens, founded by Ms. Shy Mudakavi, in the heart of Silicon Valley in Newark, California and we have been in Malaysia since 2013.”
Since their founding in 2005, Safari Kid’s programmes have never been based on age, but on reaching developmental milestones. This ensures that the children advance through stages at a pace that they’re comfortable with. This unique curriculum and its methods are founded on three main pillars which are referred to as the accelerated learning programme, the emergent curriculum and the customization of the programme to the learning capacity of each child. “The three pillars of our programme ensure that we meet all of our developmental objectives in a fun, caring, nurturing environment, and at a pace that every child is individually comfortable with,” says Gwen.
At Safari Kid, each student is given one-to-one time with their teachers for reading, writing or just general recognition of their efforts and achievements. “We passionately believe that the very uniqueness of our programmes culled from the best practices and methods from Reggio-Emilia, Waldorf and Montessori, just to name a few, ultimately puts the fun back into learning,” professes Gwen with a passion and zeal few have exhibited.
Safari Kid has its very own research facility in the United States that constantly develops and improves their programmes by integrating new insights from research in early childhood development and by continuously being sensitive and responsive to the needs of parents.
Enormous emphasis is placed on recruitment, training and mentoring their staff. For Safari Kid to effectively implement one of the most comprehensive, research driven early childhood programme anywhere, all their teachers have at least a degree in Early Childhood Education plus a minimum of four years’ experience in a kindergarten environment. Even their assistant teachers are diploma holders. The skills gleaned from experience and mentoring become especially poignant when you take into consideration that their student to teacher ratio is 1:6 for Turbo Toddlers (1-2 years old) and 1:8 for the Accelerated Preschool Programme (2.5-6 years old). Aside from this, the bar is set really high when it involves parent communication. “We believe the family as a unit, will encourage and enhance a child’s learning experience,” says Gwen. “All of us are here at Safari Kid because we want to be here. We are here because we care.”
It is difficult to describe Safari Kid from the perspective of someone from the outside looking in. Only parents and their children who have experienced the ‘magic moments’, its energy and its vibrance can attest and do justice to this ‘magical’ oasis of knowledge and learning. Being aware of this, Safari Kid now offers free trial classes so that parents can experience Safari Kid for themselves.
The learning environment with its open space concept, very specific colour schemes and resources are specially designed to support the child’s developmental journey. These include ‘reading corners’ in each classroom, role play corners, physical play areas, sensory development areas, creative spaces for the explorations in art, music, drama, storytelling and public speaking plus dedicated science and technology corners. Safari Kid also has its very own full-sized swimming pool, art and dance studio and a very well maintained outdoor play area and child-safe play sets.
Safari Kid ensures that their children receive the best education and care that they can provide. And as Gwen says, “It is because we care that we excel!”
Find Out More About Safari Kid International Preschool & Kindergarten, Bangsar