School Guide

A Guide to Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Child

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Jun 21, 2021

It is almost time for preschool for your young one!

Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a tough decision for you to make. The right preschool and early childhood education can provide your child with an educational experience that will last a lifetime.

This comprehensive international preschool and private preschool guide will help you to consider your options from all aspects.

Preschool Location

Safety is important at preschool.

Conduct research on the area surrounding the preschool. Is the area prone to traffic congestion? Are there any road signs to signal the presence of school children crossing the road?

Drop by the school to observe how teachers handle before- and after-school hours as parents send and fetch their children. It is important to ensure that the area is safe for children and that the preschool adheres to safety regulations.

You can also check out if the preschool is accessible to clinics and hospitals, and the nearest police station and fire brigade in case of emergency.

Would you prefer for your child to attend a preschool that is closer to your home or your workplace? You can consider a third-party transportation provider that can fetch and send your child to and from school safely. Many international and private preschools offer a transportation service that you can opt for your child. These transportation service providers work closely with the administrative body of the preschool to ensure that every child is safe while they are in the transportation providers’ care.

Environment and Safety

Safe environment in preschool.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema [Unsplash]

Pay the preschool a visit if you can so you are able to experience the learning environment and to ensure that your child will be happy and safe to learn there.

Inspect the cleanliness of the classrooms, the play areas, the toys and tools used by the children and teachers, and most importantly, the toilets and the kitchen areas. Sharp ends of furniture must be shielded and sharp objects must be put away as soon as they are used. Teachers must be vigilant in keeping the communal areas clean and safe.

As schools nationwide are combating the spread of Covid-19, preschools must exercise strict standard operating procedures as indicated by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and the preschool’s administrative body. Students must sit at least 1 metre apart from each other and everyone must be wearing a mask at all times. Hand sanitisers must be made readily available at every entry and exit points of communal areas. High-traffic areas in the preschool must be cleaned regularly with disinfectant so the children will stay healthy and safe.

Be sure to look out for an emergency fire escape around the school. Ask the teachers what are the plans should an emergency take place. Ensure that the preschool has working fire extinguishers and that the teachers know how to use them. The preschool should also have an emergency first aid kit or an infirmary.

If you are unable to visit the preschool, do reach out to the parents in forums or Facebook groups. Fellow parents are willing to share their thoughts and would often offer advice based on their experiences. There are many Facebook groups that you can join so you can gain insight, namely the Malaysian Private and International School Information for Parents.

Teaching Methods and Programmes in Preschool

Teaching methods in preschools.

Photo by Cottonbro [Pexels]

Preschools in Malaysia have adopted many teaching methods that will help in your child’s academic, physical and social growths. Here are a few preschool curriculum offered at international and private preschools that will help to prep your child for primary school:

The Montessori Method

Developed by Dr Maria Montessori, this method of teaching centres around the child with an emphasis on learning independently and collaborating with other students of various ages. The lesson takes place at the child’s own choice and pace, and they are free to explore what they want to learn. This will simultaneously develop their curiosity and ability to think critically.

The Reggio Emilia Method

The Reggio Emilia approach believes that children communicate and learn using ‘100 languages’. Here are five things that you can expect at a Reggio Emilia preschool:

  • Teachers talk to the parents and the child to find out what interests them, then takes this information into account as they develop a course to fulfil every child's needs.
  • Teachers become the children's advisors as the children take charge of their projects.
  • Children are encouraged to explore their ideas in various forms and methods, including art and drama.
  • Children collaborate with their peers and teachers to further develop their thinking skills and social skills.
  • The child's surroundings also play a part as a 'teacher'.

The Waldorf Method

Through the Waldorf method, children are exposed to play-based activities that emphasise the child’s artistic expression and sensory, developing their relationship with the people and world around them in a genuine way. Waldorf children are treated as little explorers so they will evolve into bright and passionate students.

Ask About Physical Exercise

Remember to enquire about the preschool’s Gym class! Your child is at their prime to build their strength, agility, and gross motor skills. It is best to select a preschool that offers an all-encompassing Gym lesson that will promote your child’s health and growth.

Cost of Preschool

Teaching methods in preschools.

Photo by Micheile Henders [Unsplash]

International and private preschool fees tend to dissuade parents from spending a hefty amount of money on their child’s education. Parents might find it dumbfounding seeing such numbers attached to the price tag -- after all, your child is learning ABCs and simple mathematics.

That is untrue.

A good preschool and early childhood education, just like a good school and university, is an investment towards your child’s future. A preschool that offers high-quality education will not only encourage your child to become academically inclined but will also make learning enjoyable. With the right preschool and the right programme, the child will become someone with impeccable character.

International and private preschools are specialised in imparting knowledge and the joy of learning to your child. With well-designed teaching methods and a smaller teacher-to-student ratio, your child will receive undivided attention and interaction from their teachers. A good indication of this is observing that your child is happy to attend preschool and arrive home cheerfully and positively.

While all preschools promise the best for your child, early childhood education is not a one-size-fits-all; testing the waters should help you come to a conclusion. The only way to find out if a preschool meets your child’s needs is to reach out to the teachers and enquire about the programme they offer. Enrol your child into a trial class if it is offered at the preschool of your choice.

Teachers and Staff

Teaching methods in preschools.

Photo by Gabe Pierce [Unsplash]

The most important aspect of learning is the experience, and teachers play an integral role in creating your child’s learning experience.

A teacher has to be friendly, caring, patient and nurturing. After all, they are your child’s second parents when your child is at preschool! It is best to get to know them as well as you can and they must have access to communicate with you directly and transparently about your child’s development at preschool.

The teachers at preschool must be qualified to teach, and that means they must possess a Bachelor’s degree that is preferably in Education or a teaching certificate from a certified governing body or are in the process of attaining one. Teachers must be knowledgeable in the subject that they are teaching, be it languages, maths and sciences, or even arts and music!

However, their qualifications do not end there. In order to create an engaging and fun environment, teachers must be creative and imaginative as they come up with lessons, and they must be flexible and always expect the unexpected in their classroom. Even then, they must be able to improvise their lessons as needed and give equal attention to all their students.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you in searching not only for the best international and private preschools but also one that satisfies your child’s educational needs and growth. For more information, check out School Advisor for a comprehensive list of international schools and private schools that include the preschool option in your area.