Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Scouting for Child Care Center / Pre-school

Last week, my colleague and I visited 5 child care centers/pre-schools around Bandar Utama. Her son is born in the same year as Jordan.

For me, it was something interesting and adventurous. It was a learning experience too. I got to know about the various progammes offered and got a few advices here and there. I’m impressed with what they do.

Below is a summary of the centers that we visited and what I think of them.

1st Center

Web site: http://www.real.edu.my/html/uniqueness.html

CEC (Child Enrichment Centre) R.E.A.L (Result Enhancing through Active Learning) approach. CEC is the first kindergarten and school in Malaysia to be accredited ISO9001:2000 certification for the full range of its head office operations, kindergarten operations as well as its school operations.

Their programmes:
R.E.A.L TOTS is a Childcare Programme for infants and toddlers ages 6 month to 3 years old. This programme meets all health and safety standards in accordance to Australian standards. Their structured programmes include baby games, baby massage, songs and rhymes, story time, special theme days, show and tell and computer class.

CEC R.E.A.L Kids 4 to 6 takes care of the pre-school years. Their R.E.A.L programmes are written specially for Malaysian children. It incorporates the Multiple Intelligences [MI] approach amongst other well-tested pedagogies. Children will breeze into the school years with confidence. The standard curriculum is planned for half-day duration. However a full-day enhancement programme is also available at selected centres.

What I think?
The first impression was good. The teacher sounded very enthusiastic about their programmes and it made us felt welcome and excited too. Because of her enthusiasm, I almost wanted to send Jordan there immediately. Hahaha! I was also attracted to the swimming pool they have outside the house though it was an inflatable one.

2nd Center
Sri Cita Child Care Center

Website: sricita.googlepages.com

Their programmes:
Exclusive Early Learning Programmes:
Playgroup: 2 – 3 years old
Preschool: 4 years old
Kindergarten 1 (K1): 5 years old
Kindergarten 2 (K2): 6 years old

Reinforcement/Enhancement Programmes:
School Age – 7 and above

Enrichment Programmes:
English Language Programme –
A balanced reading programme from UK which provides children with opportunities to learn from a variety of teaching approaches.

Mandarin Classes –
Integrated and fun way of learning Mandarin through stories, songs, drama and poems.

Music course –
Start your child on an exciting musical journey.

What I think?
Well…the teacher didn’t sound as enthusiastic as the one in CEC. In fact, she sounded boring. The place looks fine. No swimming pool. The programme and schedule is fine too.

3rd Center
Smart Reader Kids (Bandar Utama)

Web site: http://www.smartreader.com.my

Primarily, Smart Reader® Worldwide Sdn Bhd markets three educational concepts, all based on the franchise business system. They are Smart Reader Kids Junior®, Smart Reader Kids® and Smart Reader English Language for Adults and Youths®.

Smart Reader® Worldwide Sdn Bhd launched its first franchise in 1999. The first franchise was introduced in Selangor, Malaysia, followed by launches in both East and West Malaysia in the year 2000, and internationally into the Philippines in 2001, Thailand in 2002, Brunei and Taiwan in 2003, China in 2004 and Syria in 2005. Smart Reader® currently has about 225 franchised outlets locally, and 144 abroad.

Their programmes:
• Smart Reader English
• Smart Bacaan
• Smart Mandarin
• Smart Maths
• Science
• Water Play
• Computer Moral
• Art and Craft
• Music movement
• Kinder-cooking

What I think?
The programme is good – well defined. The place is also fine. Overall, it is just ok – no strong feeling about it.

4th Center

Web site: www.q-dees.com

Their programmes:
Q-dees’ passion in early child development has led to the continuing dedication in developing unique, quality and innovative programmes to nurture young minds. At Q-dees, they adopt the En-Gedi™ approach (Environmentally-Guided Experiences Develop Intelligence™), which is a total learning system and environment that stimulates good learning attitudes in children.

Q-dees Hands-on Mind-on™ approach is another ingenious method of teaching, which allows children to learn through the process of exploration and discovery.

The Q-dees system has many more unique features, all wrapped-up in a totally Integrated and Modulated system™, which includes:-
• total development for a holistic learning experience;
• trilingual programme;
• the Q-dees Individual Child Monitoring System™ (ICMS™); and
• Q-dees’ carefully created role models to inculcate good character.

Q-dees Day Care programme:
Tea Break
Tutorial and Enrichment
Reading and story time
Indoor games

What I think?
Oh….I love the swimming pool. It is actually a proper swimming pool – ‘L’ shaped. Swimming lessons are provided every Thursday. The 3 year olds do mainly colouring to improve their motor skills. They were all seating down doing colouring when we visited the class. There seem to be proper order in the class. The programme seems interesting.

5th Center
The Star Children House

Web site: www.thestarchildrenhouse.com

THE STAR CHILDREN HOUSE has its humble start some 15 years ago with its first kindergarten established at Wangsa Maju, Setapak in Kuala Lumpur.

Their programmes:
Bahasa Malaysia
Moral Education
Art and Craft
Dancing and Singing

The syllabuses that they develop embrace the Malaysia Ministry of Education's curriculum, policy and guideline so as to ensure the children are well prepared and equipped to welcome their first step into the formal education journey.

What I think?
It’s like a Chinese school – very academic. 3 year olds learn the alphabets A – Z. For each alphabet, they do colouring, tracing and craft. The programme doesn’t sound interesting. The place is big – the biggest so far. It is actually two 2 and half storey houses combined. No chairs are provided for the 3 years old, only tables in the room because the teachers feel that 3 year olds cannot sit still. Well, they can be trained to sit still. They shouldn’t be allowed to roam everywhere in the room. We also discovered something rather unique – they have different teachers every half an hour. Hmm…we don’t think it is necessary or beneficial. We wonder whether the teachers would get to know the children personally.

The fees structure is similar for all centers. Their monthly fee ranges between RM 500 to RM 600 including day care services.

Miscellaneous fee include the following:
• Registration
• Books
• Uniform
• Insurance
• Stationery
• Photo album
• Sports and concert
(Transportation can be arranged)

School hours: 8 am to 12:30

My personal ranking of the centers:
1) Q-dees
2) CEC
3) Smart Reader Kids
4) The Star Children House
5) Sri Cita

When will I start sending Jordan?
Initially, I thought of sending Jordan to school this year. Well, after some considerations and views from friends, I decided to start next year. Seng Chor doesn’t agree to start so soon. Friends shared (from personal experience) that their children even get bored when starting school too early.

Basically, what 3 year olds do are mainly colouring, art and craft. I can do that with Jordan at home. On the socializing part, he is doing fine in that area. He socializes in church as well as at the babysitter. There are 3 other kids with the babysitter. The babysitter also teaches him. Let him have more freedom, after all, they will be at school/college until they are at least 21 years old.

I also realized another thing – children tend to fall sick more often when they are in school. Their immune system is still not very strong at this young age. Most of the schools are air-conditioned. So, the viruses spread really easily.

I find that all the programmes are good. The teachers are the ones who play a very important role in administering the programmes and the class. More importantly is that Jordan is able to adapt and learn, having fun at the same time. If he is not enjoying himself or adapting, it is no point putting him in the most expensive school or the ‘best’ school.

We shall keep praying and ask God for wisdom to put Jordan in a right school.


Edmund said...

I am planning to look for a child care center as well in Bandar Utama for my 3 year old daugther. Among the 5 centers that you have visited.Any of them allow the kid to be there from 7.45am till 7.30pm as my wife and me need to go for work. Thanks in advance.


DrCabokia said...

Hi Edmund,

The earliest starting time we found out is 8:00 am. But I think 7:45 am should be ok. The latest pick up time is 7 pm at the Star Children House in BU 11. I've heard that centers may charge a small amount for the extra time.


Edmund said...

Hi Christine,

That is good.I will visit Q-dees,Smart Kid & CEC today and hopefully we can share some info after my visit.

Thanks a lot and really appreciate the info that you have published here.It really help me to save time searching around.

FYI, currently I am staying in Kayu Ara.I think Bandar Utama or TTDI are good choice for me.

Ann said...

Hi, came over your blog while surfing for nurseries...

My bbsitter stops looking after at 2 years. So, I don't have much choice.

Where is your bbsitter? When I have my 2nd was thinking of looking for another bbsitter.

ruby said...

i like tadika Aktif program. check it out! it's accross from centrepoint, BU10