Your children’s early childhood education has a profound and life-long effect on their emotional, social and physical development as well as who they would become as an adult. This is why it is crucial that you invest in the best preschool education for your child.
In Malaysia, international preschools are one of the top choices for parents who are seeking quality preschools or kindergartens for their children – and for good reasons. While international preschools usually require higher fees than local ones, they offer a host of benefits that local kindergartens may not be able to provide. Check out these seven aspects of international preschools that set them apart from local ones.
1. Comprehensive Curriculum
International preschools offer a well-designed curriculum that has a global, all-encompassing approach that aims at your child’s development through cultivating critical thinking, essential skills and creative expression. Many international preschools also adopt the internationally recognized International Preschool Curriculum (IPC) which incorporates play, inquiry and objective-based learning styles into 6 learning areas including Language Arts, Numeracy, Creative Arts, Socio-emotional Skills, Sciences and Motor Skills. Some international preschools also offer STEM-based education to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into their daily curriculum. Foreign language studies such as Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese (Mandarin) and French are also available as well.
2. All-Rounded Learning Methods
International preschools usually cater to all types of learners within a holistic, creative learning environment. Most of them will strive to achieve a careful balance between teacher-directed tasks and child-initiated learning, allowing students to learn about things in an exploratory and meaningful way. Core classes are also often set up to encourage students to inquire, explore, discover, encounter and question all they experience around them.
3. State-of-the-Art Facilities and Equipment
In terms of facilities, parents can expect excellent learning spaces at international preschools. Classrooms are bright and welcoming, designed to provide the optimal learning environment for your kids. Outside the classroom, there are also different school facilities that further provide students with the opportunity to explore areas of interest and pursue their passions. Facilities can range between indoor or outdoor gyms for physical activities, gardens and spacious outdoor play spaces as well as libraries and art studios to swimming pools, dance studios, multi-purpose halls and even science labs and cooking stations to encourage explanatory learning. These facilities are also selected and designed to ensure health and safety of young children. Some international preschools are now integrating the latest technology into their curriculum. For example, iPads are used as learning tools in core classes for preschoolers.
4. Qualified Teachers
International preschools are meticulous when it comes to their teaching staff. These schools only employ certified teachers and learning assistants and usually have a team of experienced management staffs. These preschools also provide their teachers wit a comprehensive training program and on-going professional development opportunities so that they can stay up-to-date with the latest in pedagogy, learning and educational practices. For example, in IPC-based preschools, staff members will be provided with specific IPC Teacher Training courses which will then culminate into the IPC Teacher Certificate. Additionally, many international preschools also have low teacher to student ratios to ensure students receive optimal attention and learning opportunities from their teachers.
5. Parental Involvement
International preschools recognise that parents play an important role in their child’s education process. To have parents more involved, these preschools encourage frequent communication between parents and the school via parents meetings and weekly newsletters to keep parents informed. At some schools, there are Parent-Teacher Organizations that offer parents, teachers and children the opportunity to take an active role together in ensuring their children's successful development. There are also activities planned, for instance, get-togethers and social gatherings, picnics, field trips and more.
6. Meticulous Policies
International preschools have thorough safety and health policies in place to ensure students are guaranteed a secure, organized and healthy environment. There are usually drop-off and pick-up procedures that only allow adults authorized on the enrolment form to pick up a child. Sick policies are also non-negotiable – these schools often follow a strict quarantine and send‐home policy for illnesses emerging. For example, if your child exhibits any of the symptoms cited in their guidebook, he or she must be kept or sent home immediately.
7. More Opportunities for Studying Abroad
International preschools prepare students for international primary and secondary school programs which usually follow internationally-recognized curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate program. This IB education model is accepted in almost all continents and makes entry into overseas universities and colleges much easier. A survey also reveals that students who have gone through international education tend to be better prepared for further study and work. This is because they develop a more well-rounded range of skills like time management, critical analysis and independent thinking than their peers who are educated in national schools.