While searching for a preschool for your child, you may have come across the word ‘Montessori’ once or twice.
You must be wondering: what is Montessori and how does a preschool compare to a Montessori in Malaysia?
The fact is, Montessori is only one of the many teaching approaches preschools in Malaysia adopt.
In this article, we will explain the common preschool teaching philosophies in Malaysia, including Q-dees Link & Think methodology, to help you find the best preschool teaching method for your child.
1 – Q-dees Link & Think Methodology
Q-dees Link & Think Methodology is one of the relatively new additions in the slightly-dated early childhood sector.
Thanks to our committed research and development team, Q-dees received the best preschool brand award and best education program award for over a decade.
The success of our Link & Think Methodology that helps children accelerate their learning is prominent, with over 200,000 students impacted through our network of more than 200 preschools in South East Asia.
With fresh innovation and consistent diligence, Q-dees Link & Think Methodology is constantly going through improvements, constantly adapting to the children’s needs in a world that is often changing.
To put it simply, the Link & Think Methodology is an early childhood teaching methodology that links the creative and logical ways of thinking, creating a well-rounded, global mindset that prepares children for the future.
In our Q-dees syllabus, we cover subjects that involve:
- Memory and Logical Training.
- Mastery over three languages for preschoolers: English, Chinese and Malay.
- Logical and Scientific Approaches.
- Creative Exploration.
- Physical and Social Development.
- Character building based on love for learning, teacher, peers and our community.
Learn more about the Q-dees syllabus and see a detailed explanation of every subject.
Q-dees’ educational programme prepares children for both our globalised world and our local Malaysian context with our mastery of languages and emphasis on creating a welcoming community.
A part of their preparation includes teaching students about self-help skills under our early discovery programme such as learning how to fold clothes, and pouring a cup of water. At Q-dees, children will learn to become independent and self-confident at taking care of themselves.
We also believe that learning should be fun and enjoyable for children. Hence, our lessons are designed to be play-based and are organised to expose your children to enriching learning experiences.
This is also why we create our own animation content with song, dance and fun exercises to engage children with an authentic, unique and fun learning experience.
At Q-dees, your child will:
- Link learning strategies between all subject areas to become well-rounded scholars.
- Navigate through the global community and Malaysia’s multilingual environment with their mastery of languages
- Become compassionate individuals with our Love to Life values.
Q-dees is suitable for all children, especially those who like to openly engage with all sorts of learning opportunities.
Find a Q-dees preschool near you: https://www.q-dees.com/starters/find-a-centre/
2 – The Montessori Method
The Montessori method, developed by Maria Montessori in 1907, is a student-driven teaching style that utilises a child’s curiosity to expose them to learning opportunities.
In this teaching style, teachers adopt the role as a guide and expose children to self-learning opportunities through demonstrations.
By observing the teachers, students imitate their teachers to develop skills in five subject areas:
- Sensorial (five senses)
- Practical (learning life skills)
- Culture (includes science, geography and history)
Having a child learn the lesson for themselves can instil a love for learning within them. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and become more confident in learning unfamiliar things.
Observation is a vital part of the Montessori teaching style. Because Montessori is child-centric, teachers will observe the child’s strengths, weaknesses and interest to construct a syllabus specifically for them.
With a specialised syllabus for each student, every child will have the opportunity to grow and learn at their own pace. It allows them to overcome their weaknesses and amplify their strengths, developing them into well-rounded, competent individuals.
The classroom environment and materials are also designed to create an optimum learning environment for a child.
Sections of the class are organised based on the five subject areas, each filled with shelves of learning materials made for the Montessori syllabus.
Other classroom assets that support the learning, such as schedules, water jugs and wiping cloths, are child-sized. This allows children to maintain their environment and develop a sense of independence within them.
During class time, children are prompted to search for their materials before performing their task independently. The environment is kept quiet and calm for focused learning.
Through this teaching strategy, your child will:
- Gain a heightened sense of awareness and observation skills of the world around them.
- Develop a strong sense of independence and confidence.
- Become passionate, well-rounded learners at a suitable pace.
The Montessori Syllabus is ideal for children with special needs as the course is originally designed to help them learn and keep up with their peers.
3 – Waldorf Education
Rudolf Steiner designed the Waldorf Education syllabus in 1919 to give children an ‘unhurried approach’ to learning.
This means that childhood education shouldn’t be focused on academics; it is more age-appropriate to focus on a child’s desire to explore and activate their creative imagination.
Hence, Waldorf adapts a play-based approach to learning with movement-based, creative activities. This utilises and supports a child’s nature which is active, playful and imaginative.
Some examples of their activities are:
- Outdoor play
- Role-playing Games
- Song and Dance
- Arts and Crafts
- Story Time
Not only does this make lessons fun for the children but they will also become more creative, socially active and physically fit.
Children will only learn more academic lessons such as reading and writing when they are ready.
Because the course does not set objective expectations on children, they will naturally develop into emotionally healthy, self-actualised individuals who are ready and open to learning.
Similar to the Montessori style, Waldorf allows children to take time to navigate the world around them with their five senses and learn to adapt to it through imitation.
Therefore, a Waldorf preschool designs their environment to be sensory-rich, nurturing and gentle. They also have a consistent, dependable routine in their schedule to develop a sense of comforting familiarity.
This gives children a safe, welcoming environment to explore and create their perceptions of the world around them. It also ignites a curiosity to learn of the world around them, which will develop into passion for learning later on.
Mixed-aged classrooms are also common in Waldorf preschools.
This play-based approach will give your child:
- A suitable hands-on learning experience that naturally develops.
- Well-developed social skills, out-of-the-box creative mindsets and healthy, active bodies.
- An unhurried, fun childhood that is emotionally healthy and makes children receptive to learning.
This teaching style works well for children who appreciate predictability and depend on a homely atmosphere to learn, especially for those who tend to be shy.
4 – Reggio Emilia Approach
Under the Reggio Emilia approach, children are recognised as equals who can negotiate and communicate with teachers and parents on the same level.
They are also seen as curious individuals who have powerful potential to learn from the world around them.
Hence, children who study the Reggio Emilia approach take charge of their learning.
Rather than taking on the position of mentor and guide, Reggio Emilia teachers learn alongside their students and regularly engage with them to see what they want to learn.
By observing the child’s interest and capabilities, the teacher will construct a syllabus based on this interest and incorporate developmental skills the child needs. The environment is also organised to suit the child’s interests.
Working with the child to create a syllabus makes a child feel in control of their own learning experience. It teaches them that their voices matter and can influence decisions.
It also helps children become more attentive during lessons and find much joy through learning.
Collaborative projects are a big part of the Reggio Emilia approach.
Lasting between one or two weeks to a semester, children will get the opportunity to work together to create something based on their interest.
Teachers will guide the students throughout the process by introducing them to a variety of media forms such as videos, presentation boards, demonstrations and much more.
A child who develops with the Reggio Emilia approach will gain:
- Confidence in self-expression and identity, with a sense of independence.
- A strong connection with their environment and community.
- Have ownership of their education and their learning experience.
This is suitable for children who are quite independent and are ready to explore the world with every chance they get.
Which Teaching Philosophy is Best for My Child?
Each teaching philosophy is a different method of learning: neither is superior to the other and all of them give beneficial learning experiences to your child.
To find the best preschool teaching philosophy for your child, we suggest taking a look at your child’s characteristics:
Responses to Learning
Everyone has a different approach to learning and needs different levels of guidance. Is your child already independent?
If your child is already self-dependent, you could enrol them into a teaching methodology that allows them to explore on their own. But what if your child needs more help? This is when a structured preschool syllabus would be more beneficial for them.
It’s always advisable to visit the preschool you’re interested to enrol your child in and ask about the syllabus and teaching methodologies.
Most children learn to read and write better when they associate it with fun. Is the preschool syllabus taught in a fun and engaging way?
Children who are young and still adapting to the world around them learn the best when classes include sensory and play-based approaches. This also helps your child to look forward to going to preschool.
Do note that you should not judge a child’s capabilities based on their age. There are cases where some children develop academic skills earlier, and others may need more hand-holding.
Choose a preschool teaching methodology that is flexible – understanding that every child learns and develops differently.
Understand Your Child’s Interests
Children sometimes express their interests and strengths at a very young age. These interests can be indicators of the type of preschool syllabus that is most suitable for them.
Does your child speak multiple languages and enjoy reading? If so, the Q-dees syllabus will enable them to develop their literary strengths further. At Q-dees, we encourage our children to learn three languages, English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin as this prepares them for a world of possibilities as they grow up.
If your child is already showing interest, support it by choosing a preschool that allows them to further develop their interest.
Take the time to understand the different educational philosophies and teaching methodologies adopted by different preschools.
While you want the best for your child, understand that learning cannot be forced unto them. Learning can only happen when your child voluntarily decides to learn. And therefore, the right preschool to enrol your child in is the one that they look forward to attending.