Should you send your little one to an international preschool or local one? Many factors including the preschool's location, curriculum, fees and other considerations definitely play an important role in determining the right preschool for your child.
Before you decide on any school, take note that every type of preschool offers their own set of pros and cons. For instance, local preschools are more readily available as you can usually find a good one in your neighbourhood. For international preschools, they may be located far from where you work or live. Hence, you would need to devote time and energy to send and pick up your child daily. However, local schools may not have the kind of facilities and experienced teaching staff that international preschools usually provide. So it's all about what takes priority for you and your child.
Location and facilities aside, school fees are also a major deciding factor. For this reason, many parents shy away from international preschools due to their high tuition fees and turn to local ones instead. While these neighbourhood preschools usually require parents to pay a significantly lower fee, curriculum-wise, they may not provide the kind of comprehensive Early Years education that international preschools typically offer. For example, there are many international preschools in Malaysia that use the National Curriculum for England (or British Curriculum) as the basis for their learning programmes. The National Curriculum for England is a standardised curriculum that is followed by thousands of British schools around the globe. Teaching and learning is interactive and enquiry-based with the aim to help preschoolers to be more effective learners when they move on to Year 1 or primary school. Holistic and well-rounded, it’s no wonder that this form of preschool education is sought-after by parents.
Hence, if you have already decided that an international preschool education is the best option but you aren’t able to make that choice because of your budget, all is not lost. Good news is, it’s just common misconception that international preschools are overtly expensive. While international preschools may not be as economical as local ones, there are many excellent international preschools which offer you the best of both worlds – affordable fees and the international education you are looking for. Here are ten international preschools with tuition fees of less than RM 15,000 a year for you to consider:
1. MUTIARA GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Location: Ampang Jaya, Selangor
Curriculum: Based on the National Curriculum for England which offers a range of exciting, stimulating and creative themes and topics to prepare preschoolers for Year 1.
2. TENBY SETIA ECO PARK
Location: Shah Alam, Selangor
Curriculum: Incorporates the British-based Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EFYS) which offers different forms of learning ranging from child-initiated and adult-led learning to practical play-based activities.
3. ELC INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Location: Sungai Buloh, Selangor
Curriculum: Based on the National Curriculum for England.
4. TAYLOR’S INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Location: Kuala Lumpur
Curriculum: Based on the National Curriculum for England
5. ZENITH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Location: Seremban, Negeri Sembilan
Curriculum: Preschool syllabus is based on the Cambridge Primary syllabus (British curriculum), which focuses on helping children explore, learn and develop skills through play and discovery. Reading and writing skills are also emphasised.
6. DALAT INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Curriculum: Based on American-style curriculum where programmes are designed to provide children with skills, concepts, enrichment, and opportunities for self-expression. The programmes also focus on early academic concepts which are taught through exploration, inquisition and play.
7. MAZ INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Location: Shah Alam & Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Curriculum: Based on British Curriculum where learning through creative play is conducted to help children acquire the skills and building blocks needed to progress to Primary School level.
8. AUSTIN HEIGHTS PRIVATE & INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS
Location: Johor Bahru
Curriculum: Based on the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) integrated with the learning targets of the National Curriculum of England. Used in schools all over the world, IPC focuses on a combination of academic, personal and international learning that contributes to a child’s personal, social and emotional development.
9. PELITA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Curriculum: Utilises the British-based Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EFYS) which focuses on academic and life skills as well as character development.
10. MELAKA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Curriculum: Based on British Curriculum. Subjects for Kindergarten include Mathematics, English, Early Science, Bahasa Malaysia, Information and Communication Technology, Moral Education as well as Music and Physical Education.
* Solely tuition/school fees; does not include other fees like application fees, registration fees, etc
* Tuition fees as per published on above mentioned schools’ websites in April 2016. Fees are subject to change without prior notice and may not be updated in this article
* The fees published are based on the writer’s informal research on what most parents and institutions consider “affordable” and do not reflect every single parent’s impression of affordability