The question of pre-school enrolment is never easy for any parent. Being the parent of little human beings usually means that the stakes are high because they are completely dependent on you to make the right decisions for them. These decisions include choosing the perfect preschool for them to learn all the skills they need at that age.
This is why you need all the information you can get about this topic. Well, we have this post with all the basic information that you need.
Typically, preschool refers to the educational facility that prepares young children for their school years by combining academics with playtime.
In different countries, it may be called several names such as daycare or nursery, but in Malaysia, the system is slightly different.
Preschool age requirement
As Child Research Net states, nursery school begins somewhere between birth to age 3/4 while preschoolers are between the ages of 4/5 and 6. Understandably, many parents wonder what the difference between the two is.
Well, more often than not, nursery school is home-based with less than 10 children per class while a pre-school may cater to over 10 children in each class while adhering to a central curriculum across different schools.
Where daycares/nursery schools are more focused on unstructured playtime, preschools tend to be more educational, with special interest given to academics and early learning. Preschools lay the foundation for children to excel in elementary school.
Preschooler Starter Pack
National preschool curriculum Malaysia
We are aware that it can be rigorous, trying to learn about the educational system so that your child can get the best out of it. This is why we are breaking down how it works for you.
Preschools have become favorites of parents in recent history as the Ministry of Education reported that 2016 saw the leap of registered students from 198,574 to 200,745, within a year. This can be attributed to the structured nature of preschools under the watchful eye of the ministry and the strict requirement that instructors are trained professionals as they adhere to the National Preschool Curriculum.
It is important to note that for a long time, preschool education has been the shared responsibility of the public and private sector with the latter taking a 43% share as of 2005. However, this figure has been witnessing a steady decline as it largely depends on what the parents can afford.
At this point in their education, they are to explore and learn about their natural environment while discovering their creative sides as well as improving their social skills.
Children are encouraged to learn experientially and through their play-time. Schools often adopt theme-based or curriculum-based approaches to teaching.
Basically, the curriculum focuses on social and communicative skills, but children also learn simple math such as identifying single digit numbers; shapes; recognizing patterns; matching similar objects, amongst other things.
Of course, literacy is not left out as they get familiar with alphabets; sounds; basic spelling words and their names; different colors, storytelling, and rhymes.
They are also taught to perfect their motor skills. Therefore, preschoolers learn to hold crayons, scribble and build shapes.
Furthermore, instructors impart relevant knowledge about how to interact with others. Therefore, preschool serves as a primary agent of socialization.
Happy Preschooler Learning
What are the preschool benefits?
When all is said and done, we bet that what you really want to know is if it will be a good decision to enroll your child. We cannot decide for you, but we have hard facts to offer.
Several studies have gone into the benefits of preschool and its overall impact on the learning capabilities/social skills of children. The research tells us that it is undeniable that preschool gives children a head start in a number of ways.
- Prepares children for school by challenging and stimulating the learning process. Being a child’s first experience of an orderly setting in most cases, he/she learns to follow instructions in a structured environment.
- Helps children through developmental milestones such as spatial awareness, language, and communication
- Inspires creativity by giving children free rein to express themselves in a professionally-assisted environment.
- Promotes cognitive and physical development as it gives room for children to build hand-eye coordination.
- Aids in developing richer vocabulary and pre-reading skills. Experts say that between the ages of 3-5, children’s vocabulary increase from 900 words to 2,500 words. Therefore, if they are already in a school environment, then there is a greater chance of them hitting this mark due to constant learning exercises and interaction with others.
- Aids in self-discovery as it offers children the opportunity to explore their capabilities, preferences, and proclivities.
- Teaching social skills through which the emotional capabilities of a child may be broadened.
- Children learn to exercise free will and take responsibility for themselves – as is appropriate for their ages – because they are away from their parents’ supervision.
- Curiosity is encouraged. Preschool may be structured and have an academic tendency, but it equally allows children to make their own discoveries.
Thus, it is evident how important preschool is to your child’s well-rounded education. That being said, you cannot just hand your child a backpack then send him/her off to preschool, can you? He/she has got to be ready.
How do you prepare your child for preschool?
To ensure that your beloved child is ready to mix with other children, be away from your supervision for long hours (usually between 8 am and 2 pm) and enjoy the varied number of benefits of going to preschool, here’s what you have got to do:
Take a deep breath
We really mean that. We understand how easy it is to get carried away because you want to ensure that you dot all the ‘I’s and the ‘T’s. This could get you into a panicky mode so just relax. There is no need to begin preparing months ahead. We say this because some parents may choose to begin preparations a session ahead. We acknowledge how important it is to plan, but there is no need to over-prepare.
What you should do, however, is to begin introducing the idea of preschool to your child weeks before so that the child is not jarred about the experience but at the same time, not overwhelmed because you made too much of a big deal out of it.
Even though professionals will be handling the classes, it is always advised that your child is potty-trained beforehand. It gives the child more confidence.
Have an established schedule for preschool
Having a pre-preschool schedule makes it easier for your child to acclimatize to the new order found in a school setting. This goes to show how vital it is to have a routine at home.
Teach social skills
Yes, it has been established that a preschool is an excellent place for your child to develop social skills but do note that the keyword here is ‘develop.’ One only develops pre-existing entities. This then means that parents ought to teach children about sharing, being friendly and polite right from home. In this way, it is simpler to relate to others in school.
Motor skills developments
Considering the fact that preschools in Malaysia require children aged around 4 or 5, it is most advisable that parents begin teaching children how to build their motor skills, so they don’t struggle later on. Besides, cutting out papercraft is a great bonding activity for children and parents, isn’t it?
Be conscious of teachable moments
Children are naturally curious around the preschool enrollment age so you can help that along by seizing every teaching moment that presents itself. When your child is asking questions, encourage them and use the opportunity to impart knowledge. Making a habit of this encourages your child to explore, a learning approach that is widely adopted in preschool.
Your child may be less than six but that does not make him/her too young for certain chores. Simple activities like putting away the toys or clearing his/her dishes after a meal teach responsibility, a skill that will not only come in handy for preschool but life.
Expect separation anxiety
Your child (or even you, the parent) may not be used to being away from you for so long, so you should be braced for separation anxiety. The first few weeks, you may witness bouts of wailing when you drop him/her in school but remain calm. It may be hard but be ready not to linger.
Be prepared with the necessary items
In the days before your child resumes school, ensure that you have a checklist of needed items (like a lunch box, backpack, water bottle, wipes) and that they are carefully labeled- if need be- to ease the instructor’s job.
These may seem like a lot to tick off your list, but if you remember our tiny piece of advice that encourages you to stay calm, you will be fine, in spite of how overwhelming it may seem.
How to choose the perfect preschool
Here comes the part that makes most parents crack under pressure because there seem to be too many options. However, with the important points, we have put together, the process will be much easier.
It is imperative that you research by reading informative articles like this one. By exposing yourself to diverse sources of information, you broaden your horizons and arm yourself with the right knowledge about what to look out for before you make a list of possible options.
Before you settle for one school, you must ensure that it is within easy reach, probably walking distance or at least, a 10-minute drive. This way, should an emergency arise, it is easy to get there.
Hygiene and safety measures
Hygiene should be a big deal. A clean environment with laid down procedures on how to avoid contamination of the surroundings should be high up on your checklist. You should also inspect play areas to ensure they are safe, with soft landings and absence of jutting sharp objects.
Variety of activity areas
Different activity areas are evidence of how engaged your child will be. There should be play areas, napping areas, areas for group activities, etc.
Owing to the fact that the Ministry of Education regulates preschools in Malaysia, be mindful of if the school you are considering is licensed as an educational institution with qualified instructors.
This is relative. However, the cost of school should fit in with what you can afford and should not accumulate extra costs over time.
It is important that you inquire on approaches to teaching the school may adopt. Is it more academically oriented than play-based?
The number of tots in each class is important because it tells you how much attention is being paid to your child. At most, a class should have 16 children with at least, two members of staff.
How long will your child be required to remain in school? The hours spent at school should be age-appropriate. Also, the school should have an open policy that allows parents to know what a typical day at school looks like- activities, exercises, etc.
The school should be clear on how poor behavior will be addressed and you ought to determine if it fits in with your personal values. Also, how consistent are the disciplinary measures?
Are you required to provide your child’s meals? Is there a meal plan and how many times will your child be fed each day?
The school authorities should have a policy of communicating with parents but what process would it require and how flexible is it?
Malaysia is a multi-cultural society; therefore, the school should be all-embracing, promoting diversity, since it upholds values such as integrity, child wellbeing and so on.
Speak to other parents
You may not be able to conclude the matter all on your own. This is why we suggest that you speak to other parents with children in a similar age range as yours or who have been through the process before. This way, you get valuable third-party information that is based on experience.
We have come to that point where you get to decide if a preschool is what your child really needs. The decision is yours to make but rest assured that, once you find the right one, you will not regret enrolling your child. After all, it is all about what is best for him/her, right?
You cannot deny the fact that Preschool is a big part of your kid’s life. As much as it may be scary letting your child have a stranger’s care, it may be in his/her best interest. You also get time to pursue your hobbies and goals – so it is a win-win situation. You only need to choose the right preschool for your kid through the guidance we offered in the article. In the long-run, your kid gets to learn and have friends – which is every child’s dream.