After registering ourselves at the guard post of the neighbourhood, we drove into this serene area with minimal traffic. First thing that came to mind was “such a lovely location for a kindergarten.” It’s quiet, it feels safe, it is an ideal environment for learning. When we got down from our cars, we could hear “Ha! Ha! Ha!” coming from Rainbow Lighthouse Kindergarten (RLH). We soon realized that there was a group of young kids practicing Taekwondo with their instructor at the front porch. Once inside the compound of RLH, we were still fascinated by the kids practicing Taekwondo until we were greeted by Ms. Victoria, the founder of RLH.
We were invited into Ms. Victoria’s office for a quick interview to get to know the person and the story behind this haven for young children. The building had been used as a kindergarten for almost 20 years but RLH only came into operation when Ms. Victoria took over the premise in 2009. “I love young children, I truly believe in a balanced life for kids to have healthy growth and development,” said Ms. Victoria when asked about her reason to run a kindergarten instead of working a corporate job.
When Ms. Victoria started RLH, her vision is to provide a learning centre that has a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Having obtained a certificate in the Montessori method of education herself, she knows that Montessori method alone would not suffice. AT RLH, the Montessori method of teaching is combined with the thematic approach to provide a learning programs suitable for young students to prepare them for the formal education in Malaysia.
One of the challenges that most kindergarten may face now is providing an enjoyable childhood to young students while at the same time equip them with knowledge that will enable them to advance into formal primary education without much difficulty. RLH understands the demand of primary education, so there are 2 different programs, namely the English medium programs and Mandarin medium programs where the programs will be taught in the respective language. Some students may be allowed to take both medium programs if they are able to cope with the syllabus.
In the classrooms for younger age group (4 years and below), there are many hands-on material for the sensory development of students. However, we noticed that these materials are lesser in 5 to 6-years-old classrooms. Ms. Victoria explained that Montessori method is to aid the learning progress of young children, once they’ve learned writing and reading, they will be given worksheets to work on based on individual development.
RLH is a place with a pleasant environment and true to their vision, besides studies, there are many other extracurricular activities. Before we arrived, the students had a sushi-making session under the guidance of their teachers. Sometimes there would also be baking sessions, students will only be involved in simple steps such as mixing the ingredients or making the dough, whereas anything that involves using the stove or oven would be handled by teachers. As a child, we all love to play masak-masak (pretend cooking), this activity allows young children to be involved in the real process of cooking and instill an appreciation of food in children. Other activities such as kindergym, music class and physical education are also part of the extracurricular activities. In addition, optional classes such as taekwondo, ballet, speech and drama, right-brain development and building-blocks development are available as well, providing students the opportunity to pursue their interest outside of academic studies. There is an annual concert where all students will participate to perform, students who took up optional classes will also be given the opportunity to present what they have learned.
Although the programs implemented at a kindergarten is a major factor, we believe that teachers play an important role too. Young children spend most of their time at kindergarten, it is safe to say that they see their teachers almost as much as they see their parents. Teachers may make a bigger impact on a child’s life than we thought. A loving and passionate teacher who is dedicated to educating the young generations would make a difference in a child’s journey of learning. Walking by the classrooms, we could see big smiles plastered on the faces of the children; they are happy at RLH and that’s what really matters.
Standing at the front porch, we were admiring the spacious front garden of RLH for one last time before we left, imagining ourselves as children having outdoor physical activities with other children there. Everything seems so bright at RLH. Just like a colorful lighthouse on a shore guiding young children in the right direction.
Find out more about Rainbow Lighthouse Kindergarten, USJ 5 Subang Jaya.
No. 3, USJ 5/3,
USJ, Subang Jaya, Selangor 47610