It’s no surprise that most parents are looking for the “best preschool in Malaysia”, but what if you take a step back and truly understand your child’s developmental needs.
You may not have known this, but stats now reveal that ninety percent of your children’s brain forms when they turn the age of five.
During the first five years, children experience a lot of activities, and this is the time when your child’s brain develops even faster.
That said, your child needs early childhood education so that he or she can put the developing brain into active use. This could even be a big stepping stone in your child’s future career.
That’s why instilling early childhood education in your child should be at the top of your priorities.
This post will give you an overview of the preschools in Malaysia, how to know when your child is ready, and how you can choose the right preschool for your child.
To start, let’s go through a few frequently asked questions about preschools and kindergartens in Malaysia, shall we?
Frequently Asked Questions About Preschool in Malaysia
1. Is kindergarten or preschool in Malaysia compulsory?
You’ll be surprised to know that preschool is not compulsory in Malaysia. which has given many parents the freedom not to register their children for early childhood education.
According to the Malaysia Education BluePrint 2013-2025, only seventy-seven percent of children register for preschool, in either private or public schools. But as we’ve mentioned earlier, because the most important time for a child development is around this time, it’s strongly recommended to enrol them into a pre-school.
Fortunately, the Education System is about to change. The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 now looks forward to targeting a comprehensive preschool enrolment.
2. What time does preschool start in Malaysia?
Now, there are varying times, depending on whether your child registers in a public or private preschool.
In public preschools, study times will start at 7:30 in the morning and end at around noon. On the other hand, private preschool classes begin at around 8:30 in the morning and end at about 4 in the evening.
Please take note that these learning times may vary depending on the preschool learning center you choose for your child.
3. What is the difference between a daycare and a preschool?
The difference lies in the age bracket. Preschools admit children between the age of three and five. On the other hand, daycares mold and take care of children aged between 6 weeks to 12 years.
Also, preschools have lesson plans that aim to teach children specific concepts such as colors, size, shapes, numbers, counting, among others. Additionally, preschools provide assessments to children, and teachers have guidelines to help them better manage children.
On the other hand, daycares provide children watching services to help parents who might be involved in other areas, such as work. Fortunately, some preschools may go the extra mile to provide one-on-one child watching services.
4. What is Taska?
You may have heard of the word ‘Taska’ being used to describe kindergartens. To start with, Taska is an abbreviation for Taman Asuhan Kanak-Kanak. Taska offers childcare facilities to children aged 0 to 4 years.
That said, most Taskas are responsible for taking care of children while their parents are at work. Typically, Taska ensures that your child is well-dressed, well-fed, and his or her diapers are changed while you are away.
Apart from daycare services, some of the Taska also provide appropriate development programs, such as talking to children, eye to eye contact, among others.
An Overview of Preschool in Malaysia
Preschool education is for children between ages 4 and 6, and children must have gone through basic training from their parents.
Sure, preschool education is not compulsory in Malaysia, but it’s definitely recommended. This is because it enhances social and emotional development in children. Besides, preschool teachers are well-trained to nurture warm relationships among children.
The government, though, provides preschool programs, which focuses on socioemotional child development, and not centered academic activities. Now, these preschools are found in rural areas.
On the contrary, private preschools, which in most cases are located in the urban centers, focus on the academic aspect of learning. That means that these preschools have a curriculum that they follow to instill academic brilliance to children.
And while the Ministry of Education has a guideline in terms of the curriculum for children aged between four to six years, we can say that there’s no specific curriculum that children in this age bracket should follow.
Why Sending Your Child to Preschool is a Good Idea
Even while preschool is not compulsory, according to the Malaysia Ministry of Education, some parents still see it critical for their children. But why?
Below are a few reasons why most parents in Malaysia consider taking their children to preschool.
Let’s be honest: when your child stays at home with your or your relative, they won’t get as much socialization as they would do at preschool.
But when you register your child for preschool, he or she will interact with the rest of other children and exchange ideas.
For example, at Q-dees, we run special programs such as friendship day, where children can interact with each other and exchange brilliant ideas. This is designed to boost social skills that children might lack without interaction and doing with other people – an important skill especially when they grow up to be adults in the social world.
2. Structure and routine
Most children will struggle with the “take the day as it comes” approach, which could be the norm when they stay back at home with their parents.
Having a structure and routine can help such children. One of the many benefits of having a structure and routine is that children get a sense of security as these two components will guide them through to what they should be doing.
For example, at Q-dees we developed a methodology that has been used in our education system, called “Link and Think,” which helps children link logical and creative thinking, among building a structure and routine in their everyday learning.
Preschools offer experiences to children in many forms. Some preschools have music, art, and gym in their curriculum to help in the exposure of these children.
That’s why at Q-dees, we ensure that children participate in field trips and exposure programs, such as Q-dees Adventures. This program usually aims at enhancing understanding and discovery to children through field trips.
Through these programs, the learning for children goes beyond the classroom, increasing exposure for the children – which is highly important for their development.
What Is The Best Age to Start Preschool?
In Malaysia, according to the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, preschool education can start at four years old.
Most parents register their children for preschool education between the age of four to six years in preparation for formal education.
Now, the majority of schools have introduced preschool classes, which aim to help parents who may be experiencing financial difficulty.
It is also important to note that some preschools are governed by state governments such as Islamic Kindergarten and JAIS, MAIWP, and private preschools.
That said, we can conclude that the best age to start preschool is between 4 – 6 years. This is because the Ministry of Education in Singapore provides a base of four years.
By the time your child is due for formal education (age 6), it should be that your child has passed through preschool if he or she had to.
Questions Checklist for Parents
1. Is your child independent?
Before you think of enrolling your child into preschool, there are essential questions you need to ask yourself. For example, how independent is your child?
With that in mind, you can now decide whether or not your child is ready to start preschool. By independence, we mean your child’s ability to handle things by himself or herself, say using the toilet, or even cleaning up when necessary.
This will make things easier for the tutor, primarily when he or she is busy. If this sounds like a nightmare to your child, then try to come up with a rhyme or a song that can help your child memorize the steps quickly.
2. Is your child able to spend some time away from you?
If you’re a stay at home mum, then spending time away from your child can be a daunting prospect. This is because you’re too attached to your child, and you feel uncomfortable leaving him with a stranger.
That’s okay, but at least allow your child to spend a weekend or holiday at a relative’s place. This way, you’d have incorporated the idea of being away from each other for a while. At Q-dees, we have a sports day, where children can come together, and participate in the activities. This can help mould your child to stay away from you without any difficulties.
Most importantly, make your child feel special by reminding him or her that you still care even though you’re away. A hug or a peck on the cheek is an excellent way of doing this. It will help unlock the anxiety of adapting to a new environment.
3. Can your child work on their own?
Is your child able to handle things by himself while at home? Well, I guess it’s time your child enroll in preschool. However, if your child is unable to play on his own, try and schedule playtimes so he can learn to do things by himself.
In practice, allow your child to play with toys that engage his mind while you also keep yourself busy. This will help enhance their independence as they get to do most things on their own without a hand.
4. Can your child participate in group activities?
Group activities help boost the self confidence of your child, and that’s why most preschools create time for children to participate in them. Some of the activities they enroll in include singing, listening to stories, playing musical instruments, among others.
Children below the age of three might find this a nightmare because they are not ready psychologically. In most cases, they lose their focus to something else after a short time of paying attention.
Engaging your child into a music or dance class is an excellent way of dealing with such problems. It will help enhance their focus while boosting their inner confidence.
5. Is your child used to having a schedule?
Let’s face it. Most parents find it hard setting up schedules for their children. Not because they don’t have the time to, but they see it as a chore on top of their busy work life.
However, most preschools find it necessary to have a schedule as most children get to be in control of each activity that’s ahead of them. Besides, they know what to expect after each event they indulge in.
That said, you can start teaching this culture as early as possible by having a set schedule for your child. For instance, you can create a timetable for concurrent activities say, bath time, dinner, watching time, storytime, bedtime, you name it!
6. Is he able to cope with the physical or sports demand in preschool?
There are tons of activities your child is likely to participate in when he joins preschool. Such activities involve not only physical exercise but also the mind, for example, science projects and arts need a lot of thinking.
Every parent knows what his child is capable of, and as such, you can tell whether or not he can cope with such activities. If he can play the whole day without taking naps in between, then that’s a clear indication he’s ready to handle the physical demands of preschool.
If your child seems weak for this task, perhaps you should enroll him in a half-day scheme and increase the hours as he continues adjusting to the school environment. This way, you’d have eased your child from the school tension.
How to Choose the Right Preschool for your Child
Choosing the right preschool for your child can be downright frustrating; however, you can save yourself this hassle by asking around for a recommendation. You’re likely to receive good reviews from parents who are satisfied with the preschool that they have sent their children to.
And yes, the right preschool will tell more about itself just by a glimpse of the environment. Children love engaging settings, and as such, your child’s preschool atmosphere should be friendly.
Besides, some school management will go the extra mile to give you contacts of satisfied parents so you can clear your doubts away. However, this will depend on the preschool because not all schools can disclose such information.
That said, try not to be judgemental based on the information you get from parents because not all parents will have the same experience. Instead, do in-depth research of your own and come up with a solid decision.
2. Rules and Regulations
Every school has its own rules and regulations; but, its intensity will define the preschool in the picture. The right preschool will consist of qualified professionals and responsible staff members.
Inquire about their policies and enforcement based on the health of the children because some preschools will allow sick children to continue learning even though they are aware of the consequences.
Lastly, the right preschool will open up to parents whenever necessary because they believe it’s their responsibility to set things right. Don’t hesitate to find a place elsewhere for your child if the preschool seems to act fishy with their information.
The curriculum is another critical factor you should consider before choosing a preschool for your child. The right preschool should have all the curriculum essentials for things to run smoothly. Also, ensure that the children can handle the type of curriculum offered – it shouldn’t be something strenuous.
An established preschool should balance both academic and physical activities; therefore, the curriculum activities they offer should include physical activities, storytime, socializing time, among others.
Besides, the preschool in the picture should have a meal timetable consisting of a balanced diet. Make some inquiries about sneaking some snacks or fruits in between their meals, so they have a balanced meal.
4. Qualified and Experienced Teachers
Having an unqualified teacher in a preschool is like driving a car with an old engine. Your child needs the best academic foundation because they are not developmentally ready when they start school.
In our experience and code of conduct, teachers in preschools must have a minimum of a diploma, before he or she is allowed to teach and to handle preschool activities. Also, preschool teachers should have undergone training on a couple of things, including handling emergencies.
That said, teachers and staff should be responsible and caring as well to enhance healthy relationships with the kids. They should be able to instill high levels of discipline so that the children can distinguish good from bad even at a tender age.
Over to You
Taking your child to preschool in Malaysia is a choice, but you can’t take it lightly.
The Ministry of Education uses the term “not compulsory,” but as you can see, preschool education is quite instrumental in the development of your child and preparation for formal education.
It is now or never. You have the chance to decide whether you should register your child for preschool or not.
There are public preschools, which means that your child still has the opportunity of going to preschool even when you are in a shoe-string budget. But as with most parents, you’d want the best for your child, so start them early and right today.