Enrolling your little one for preschool is not an easy task. To give the best start for education and learning for your child, parents need to understand the different preschool curriculum and the environment provided by the institution. It is fair to say that there are a lot of Malaysian parents who take preschool lightly and sends their child to a preschool that is near to their home or workplace, all for the reason of convenience.
It is time to take preschool seriously because this is where your child will be moulded and developed. It is also the responsibility of a parent to give the best to their child.
First of all, you need to identify which curricular approach you prefer:
• Play-based or academic?
• Child-centered or teacher-directed?
In actual fact, most play-based program are child-centered while the academic program are teacher-directed.
Play-based programs believes that children go through efficient learning through playing. Children under this program are encouraged to do their own learning and are given the freedom to do what they like. With this kind of autonomy, not only does it encourage them to be much more creative but children will also be motivated to learn and acquire confidence.
This program takes the traditional approach of teaching children specific skills and the teachers follow a set of syllabus and a schedule. There will be time for Physical Education classes, recess, and other classes in their weekly schedule unlike the Play-Based program which has a more freestyle approach. The teaching style and method is similar to those in primary and secondary school which helps the young ones to prepare for their future schooling life.
After determining on which curricular approach that can propel your child to the right direction, you now have to choose which preschool curriculum which suits your child:
The Montessori program is child-centered and allows the child to explore and learn in his/her own pace. Teachers and assistants will be present to facilitate instead of teaching them directly. Below are some of the strengths and benefits of choosing the Montessori education for your child:
• It fosters independence and encourages individualism.
• The requisite mixed-age classrooms (typically 2/3 to 6 years old) allow younger children to learn specific skill sets from older children who have mastered them.
• It offers a prescribed range of activities from which children can select activities for themselves.
• It offers periods of uninterrupted working time so children have the opportunity to work through their tasks at their own pace.
• It is a child-centered environment. All of the materials are easily accessible. Children are taught to respect and be responsible for the materials they use.
This global education network is result-oriented but incorporates fun teaching and learning styles. This is to help children become well-rounded individuals by allowing them to have enjoyment in the process of learning. Below are some of the strengths and benefits of Beaconhouse curriculum:
• Beaconhouse utilizes the “Play to Learn & Learn to Play” methodology, a wholesome and effective teaching philosophy that promotes experiential and play-based learning.
• It encourages students to develop a keen interest towards learning independently, teaching them to be confident and enthusiastic learners.
• It places an emphasis on building strong character traits and positive attitudes.
• Beaconhouse offers both individual and group learning experiences and every child has a personal portfolio file charting his or her development.
For the Waldorf program, it is child-centered and children work together in different activities such as painting, baking, singing and other group activities. These group activities engages the five senses allowing children to learn and understand about the world around them and how things are done. We’ve listed down the strengths and benefits of this program:
• The environment is warm, nurturing and home-like which makes it easier for children to adapt to.
• It encourages children to think creatively and imaginatively and express their ideas and inculcates an appreciation for nature and the world around us.
• Only natural materials are used in the classroom.
• It develops the whole child by placing an emphasis on creative development and character education, rather than on the development of academic skills.
• The same teacher usually stays with the same group of students. Such continuity has been shown to be beneficial for child development.
For parents who prefer a much more religion-emphasized syllabus can always opt for religious preschools that incorporate religious teachings and values in their teaching. The curriculum content is usually similar to other normal preschools, only that it has an additional religious subject.
5. Language Immersion
There are parents who wants to prepare their child for national schools but at the same time want them to learn Chinese without exactly emphasizing on the language. Language immersion programs are suitable for young children to learn an extra language without the need to feel pressured unlike going to usual school classes.
Overall, it is important to meet up with the principal of the preschool to understand further on the syllabus, curriculum and activities provided. Also, make sure you bring your child to a few preschools that you have shortlisted and see which one he/she prefers.
source: Education Destination Malaysia