It’s that time of the year when you need to enrol your loved one to preschool for the first time. Quality early childhood education is the key to their success, especially during this early stage of their life.
Choosing the right preschool in Malaysia can be overwhelming, because of the many preschools and learning methodologies you can choose from. For example, while our national language is Bahasa Malaysia, you may find different options to which languages your child will learn at preschool.
However, whether you are looking to enrol your child in a kindergarten in Kuala Lumpur, Penang or one near you, understand that the curriculum taught differs from preschool to preschool.
In this post, we will explain 11 considerations to think about when choosing a suitable preschool for your child. Let’s get started.
Considerations when Choosing a Preschool in Malaysia
1. Preschool Philosophy
Consider the philosophy of the preschool. Are they aligned with your philosophy and beliefs that you want for your child?
A major part of the Q-dees philosophy is emphasising on achieving the best learning outcome for children. This is because your child has limitless learning potentials and the duty of a preschool is to unlock that potential – moulding them into confident, creative and caring individuals.
It’s a good idea to request for a tour at the preschool so you can observe the environment. As you enter the preschool, observe how the children and teachers interact, see if the place is conducive for learning and make a mental note if your child will feel safe and well taken care of.
Additionally, ask about the preschool’s learning materials, planned activities, and books as this will help you know whether the preschool is developmentally the best fit.
2. Aligning your Child’s Needs
Every child has different needs, whether it’s a physical, social or emotional need. As a parent, you would know this best. Thus, finding a preschool that can help your child with their developmental needs would be important.
For example, does your child need to be potty trained?
If yes, is this something that the preschool can help with? Certain preschools might make some factors a requirement and because of that, may end up as a bad fit for your child.
Start from understanding the needs of your child and then check if the preschool is able to align towards your child’s needs.
If your child needs to develop social interaction skills, check if the preschool includes play and social interaction practice and time in its curriculum. Does the preschool meticulously care about the needs of your child?
Read more: Recommended preschool age for children in Malaysia.
3. Teacher’s Experience & Educational Background
Next, you want to consider the qualification and experience of the teachers who teach at the preschool.
Do they have the right educational background, received enough training, and have the experience to teach and work with children?
The requirement to be a preschool teacher in Malaysia used to be having a Malaysian Certificate of Education, also known as Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) – with a minimum of a pass in Bahasa Malaysia and having three credits, especially in the academic subjects.
However, on 1st January 2020 – the Ministry of Education (MOE) has proposed a requirement for preschool teachers to hold at least a diploma in early childhood education (DECE).
This came about as it was reported that 90% of kindergarten teachers in Malaysia do not have tertiary education qualification needed as the base requirement.
Therefore, check if the teachers at the preschool you want to enrol your child at are qualified academically. Additionally, note that qualified and experienced teachers should also be trained with the best ways to interact with children and to bring the best out of them.
4. Security at Preschool Premises
Like all parents, you need reassurance that your child is safe at preschool. This is where personnel and building security comes into play.
Some of the key things to look out for include:
- Entry security. Is the preschool centre secured with adequate door locks and have a system for who can enter?
- Visitor policy. Does the preschool allow visitors or only allow parents to enter the premises during times of activity?
- Emergency. Does the preschool have an emergency plan for when unforeseen events such as when a fire breakout happens? Will your child be taught the safety protocols and go through a drill to stay secure?
- Background checks. Does the school principal do background checks for each employee at the preschool?
Security plays an important part in choosing the right preschool. Make sure to clarify with the preschool staff on how they handle day-to-day security in maintaining a safe environment where children can learn, play and grow.
5. Languages Taught at Preschool
Malaysia is a multilingual country, which means preschool in Malaysia should ideally teach different languages.
Teaching spoken and written multilingual languages sets children up for success as it immediately opens up communication barriers between people and even countries.
In Malaysia, you have the option to choose to have your child well-versed with certain major languages like Bahasa Malaysia and English only.
However, at Q-dees we usually advise going the extra mile. At all Q-dees preschools in Malaysia, children learn to master 3 languages – Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin. This prepares them for national, International and Chinese schools that they can then enrol in after completing their study in preschool.
6. Sensory Experiences
Touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling are not only our 5 basic senses but they are ways children use to explore and make sense of the world around them.
Encouraging them to use their senses helps in their development and will aid them to be able to complete more complex learning tasks by supporting cognitive growth, language development, social and problem-solving skills.
Choose kindergartens that include lessons designed to expose your children to sensory experiences. An example of a popular activity at preschool which encourages a sensory experience is clay crafting, where children have the opportunity to develop their fine motor and creative skill sets.
7. Budgeting – Preschool Fees in Malaysia
One concern of many Malaysian parents when selecting a preschool is the budget. It is every parent’s wish to get an excellent educational foundation for their children, but budget and cost to preschool education should always be taken into account.
While the total cost of your child’s preschool education might be different according to the subjects and educational materials needed, it’s advisable to visit a preschool near you and ask for a cost breakdown of the entire preschool program.
You can find out Q-dees’ school fees by dropping us a message here.
8. Facilities and Learning Environment
Besides learning, your child needs to participate in outdoor and playtime activities such as imaginative plays, and peer communications to enhance their sense of awareness of the natural surroundings.
This is to help children remain active and receptive during learning because they’d have jogged their minds and let go of suppressed energy during playtime.
Not all preschools offer the same type of facilities. It depends on its area and space build-up. So for this, it’s best to visit the preschool you plan to enrol your child to observe its facilities.
See if there are facilities available for children, such as sandboxes, tube slides, small swings, and bars to hang on.
A good playground for preschool children should provide diverse opportunities – structures for children to climb, crawl, run and stretch on. Besides educational development, a growing child also needs to develop in other areas such as muscle and structure growth.
9. Transportation Concerns – Is the Preschool Far from Home?
Transportation and distance are factors to consider when choosing a kindergarten for your child. Ideally, choose a preschool that is near your home, so that time to commute to school is shorter.
If a kindergarten is far from your home, you not only have to spend more time commuting, but also would need to spend additional time to prepare your child for school everyday.
This may negatively affect a child’s development due to the lack of productive rest time and inadequate sleep in some cases, as they are spending extra time in commuting and preparation.
Of course, certain preschools will provide transportation means for your child which you can consider if you have a busy working schedule.
But at the end of the day, choosing a preschool near home and optimizing the commute time & distance makes sense to give your child the rest he or she needs.
10. Curriculum of the Preschool
A good preschool should have an elaborate curriculum that works to help children. Usually, a solid early childhood curriculum aims to deliver three key components when it comes to learning.
Firstly, to build an interest in learning in children. The curriculum shouldn’t be too deep academically, but also include hands-on activities, reading, social activities, creative projects and sensory materials.
Secondly, preschool curriculums should also be designed to stimulate learning that is aligned to the child’s social, language speaking, physical and cognitive development.
And finally, because every child learns differently, the goal of a preschool and its teachers is to help children find their strengths and passions, while giving the opportunity to work on their weaknesses, at their own pace.
11. Children to Teacher Ratio in a Classroom
One of the biggest challenges most preschool teachers face is the number of children per classroom. Let’s face it – a more manageable class size with fewer students, often experiences better education quality compared to a classroom filled with too many students.
With smaller classes, teachers have the opportunity to understand each student based on their weaknesses and strengths. As such, they can have more quality time to spend with the students.
During your visit to the preschool, inquire about the maximum number of students that will be allocated in the classroom.
Getting a solid educational foundation for your child matters a lot. The choice you make to enrol your child to a trusted preschool will pave the way for their development.
So take your time and diligently choose a good preschool. Rather than just relying on online reviews and comments, take the time to visit the preschool and discuss with the principal and teachers.
Considering Q-dees to be your choice for preschool? Click here to find a Q-dees preschool near you.