While searching for early education for your children, you may come across the phrases, ‘Taska’, ‘Tadika’, ‘Preschool’, ‘Kindergarten’ or even ‘Montessori’. What is the difference between them?
Early childhood education has become more critical to children than before. Parents these days see the importance of sending their children for early childhood education as early as twelve months old.
In this post, we’ll explain the difference between the terms above and provide you with some tips on choosing the best early childhood education for your child.
What is a Taska?
Taska is a Malay phrase that stands for ‘Taman Asuhan Kanak-Kanak’, in which “Asuhan” means to care. Shorten that and we get the popularly used ‘Taska’, which directly means a child care center or a nursery.
Taska offers childcare facilities to look and care for children aged 12 months to 4 years while their parents are busy at work. Typically, a taska or nursery centre makes sure to attend to children’s daily needs such as feeding, dressing, as well as toileting.
You can find home-based and centre-based taskas all around Malaysia, but they each have their pros and cons.
For instance, home-based nurseries usually have smaller children group size, but they may not have accreditation or a proper system set in place for child care.
Click here to find out if the nearest Q-dees centre to you provides taska/nursery services. Or call Q-dees hotline at: 1700-81-5077
What is a Tadika?
Tadika is a Malay abbreviation for Taman Didikan Kanak-Kanak, in which “Taman” means “garden,” and “Didikan” means coaching/upbringing, while “Kanak-Kanak” means, well, children. In other words, the word Tadika in Malay directly translates to kindergarten.
Tadika focuses on offering academic-oriented learning and personality development for children aged between 4 and 6 years old.
Early childhood programmes at a kindergarten are designed to teach your child to acquire social skills, emotional, creative, communication skills, and other necessary life skills that children would require as they grow up and enter primary school.
Take for example, at Q-dees, we understand that the ability to read and write in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin is exceptionally important, especially for children growing up in Malaysia.
That’s why we are one of the only kindergarten in Malaysia that teaches children to speak and write in three languages.
What is a preschool?
So what’s the difference between a preschool vs kindergarten?
Originally, preschools are for children between the ages 2-3. At a preschool, through exploration and games – children are taught to link their logical and creative minds to make their learning experience intelligent, creative, fun, and interactive.
These programmes are designed to nurture children, developing them into confident, compassionate, caring and capable individuals.
Learn more about the Link & Think methodology at Q-dees.
A preschool is meant to prepare your child before he or she joins formal education system level (primary school) as they reach the age of 7.
However these days, the lines between a preschool and kindergarten is getting blurred. Preschools and kindergartens in Malaysia offer preschool and enrichment programmes, and they differ according to the age of your children – and their ability to cope along with their development.
In Malaysia, preschool is for children age starting from 3 up to 6 years old. That said, some preschools offer classes during morning sessions only and others offer full day programmes. Each preschool in Malaysia usually has different programmes, so it’s advised to visit a preschool near you to find out.
Types of Preschool Programmes & Education Methodologies in Malaysia
While preschool and kindergarten refer to the level of education, you may find different education methodologies offered by the various preschools in Malaysia.
We explain the types of education methodologies you’ll commonly come across.
The Montessori methodology was brought to light in the 1990s by Dr. Maria Montessori and is based on an observation of the way children learn. At its initial stages, Montessori was introduced to help children with special needs.
Montessoris are commonly known to enroll children into a mixed age classroom, to encourage sociability among children. Its learning involves the five human senses and encourages learning not just through reading and listening but through participation as well.
In this methodology, children are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and according to the activities they choose.
2. Reggio Emelia
This is a learning approach that was developed in Italy, to reconstruct the society, soon after World War Two.
The Reggio methodology of learning views children as people who have the full potential and can build their theories. A typical preschool that follows this methodology usually has an innovative learning environment and presents creative techniques to teach children.
Additionally, this system recognizes children as citizens who have the right to develop themselves following a specific direction of learning.
This methodology is not too popular in Malaysia with only very few preschools offering the methodology.
Waldorf is a learning process that was brought by Rudolf Steinar, an Australian educator. The Waldorf school philosophy is student-centered, where students are not forced into a one-size-fits-all curriculum, and rather have the freedom to pursue their own interest.
In this methodology, a teacher strives to develop a child in two ways. First, the teacher opts to engage the child in practical, domestic, and artistic activities, and secondly, nurtures the child’s power of imagination.
The Waldorf methodology focuses a lot on arts and imaginative activities, and removes the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ education method.
4. Q-dees Link & Think
Through more than 25 years in continuous research & development, Q-dees developed the Link & Think methodology, a methodology designed to make complex learning simple and fun for children by integrating logical and creative thinking mind.
This includes several education programmes such as the Early Discovery Programme where children are equipped with life skills and values through imagination, memory & logical training, exercise and math & science training.
Asides to only academic excellence, Q-dees Link & Think methodology also focuses on discovery, exploration and building social skills in children – consciously preparing them for excellence in primary school.
Learn more about Q-dees Link & Think methodology.
How To Choose The Right Preschool for Your Child
With the various education methodologies and preschool, how do you choose the right preschool for your children? Here are some quick tips.
1. Philosophy & values of the preschool
One of your top priorities for choosing a preschool is the philosophy and values of the school.
Does the preschool’s philosophy resonate with what you have in mind and what you want for your child?
Pay attention to your feelings and your intuition when you enter a preschool. Observe the activities in the school – how do the teachers in the school interact with children? Do they stick with their values and do what’s best for the children?
This is something we put much attention into at Q-dees, including every teacher who teaches children. Our ‘Love to Life’ values inspires to instill the value of love in children.
2. Teachers’ qualification & teaching methods
Look for a preschool with teachers who have the appropriate educational background, relevant and adequate training, as well as the necessary experience to teach and look after your children.
Are the teachers equipped with the latest pedagogy which is relevant to the current educational landscape? A qualification alone does not guarantee a good teacher, so look to inquire about the experience that the teacher has as well.
An experienced preschool teacher should interact positively and frequently with children. Instead of just lecturing, seek to be engaging, ask thought-provoking questions to invoke children’s thinking and praise the child’s good actions frequently.
3. Child’s needs
Every child has different needs, and so does your child. Before you settle for a preschool for your child, we encourage parents to do a pre-visit and make sure that the preschool has a setting and atmosphere that is comfortable and caters to your child’s social and emotional well-being.
Check how the school incorporates playtime and social interaction with other children and see if the preschool is able to provide necessary needs for your child.
Do they have the right learning facilities for your child? What happens in the case of an emergency?
The best preschools have nothing to hide from parents, and some even go the extra mile to inform parents about their children’s development.
As a parent, you know and understand your children best, which means it would be your responsibility as well to play the part, aiding your child’s development after school hours.
For this, parents should be able to reach out to the preschool’s administration and teachers to follow up on their child’s progress in school. That said, it’s also important that you as parents, respect the role of teachers, which is to teach and help their children and never to disrupt classes and activities.
Something we do at Q-dees is to develop transparent communication channels between the preschool and parents. Besides, we also have a mobile application being developed in the pipeline, designed to keep parents informed about their children’s progress at the kindergarten.
5. Preschool program and curriculum
A good preschool should have a well-organized curriculum and education pathway that focuses on the development of children.
This also means there should also be lots of playing and physical activities, aimed at promoting brain growth and enhancing early development in children.
While playtime and social communication are important, look for a preschool that has teachers who proactively guide children, encourage social learning and do not just let children figure-it-out on their own, because at that early age, they can’t.
By now we’ve cleared up the difference between a Taska, Tadika, and Preschool vs Kindergarten. Remember that not all preschools in Malaysia offer every service, so it’s advised to pay a visit to the preschool you intend to enroll your children in and find out everything that is offered.
Choosing the right early childhood education is a big stepping stone for you and your child – so make sure to spend some time choosing the right preschool.
If you need help, feel free to reach out to us at Q-dees to ask or leave a comment below.