The Pre-School Search – Part 1

Technically, Darrius is only 3 years plus and will only be 4 years old in approximately 2.5 months time. In our eyes, he is still very young and PiggyBeng has stressed many times that we should always give Darrius his childhood… play and more play and not being bogged down with anything academic. PiggyBeng said that our education system (especially the Chinese stream) is overly academic and children are not being taught to think creatively but rather being stressed to memorize and perform like a machine. Most parents want their kids to score As which really double stressing the little kids and due to that, they lose out on their childhood…Β  What turned out to be is what daddy and mommy wants and not what the kids wanted.

Because of this reason, we tried not to send Darrius to school too soon. As Darrius is our only child (before Lil’ Bun’s arrival that is!), he lack the social and interaction skill since he seldom mix with other kids his age. He spent most of his time playing alone or with us only and thus, made him a very spoilt child… he gets what he wanted all the time. Blame it on me for being too lenient and overly pampered him. Instead of doing a lot of things by himself, he has been getting very lazy and summoned me to do for him… which is something I should not be doing.

Now that Lil’ Bun will make her appearance soon and Darrius will officially turn 5 next year, we thought it is about time he goes to school. Not to achieve anything academically but just to brush up on his social skill and to be more independent. Most importantly – learning to share!

Last Friday, we went around our neighborhood in search of the perfect place – a pre-school for him. There were 3 schools which we visited and each of them has a style of their own.


School No.1 – A kindergarten within a Methodist Church

PiggyBeng used to go to this kindy, so it is highly recommended by PiggyBeng. It is very near to our place and since it is operated by the church (I think so), it should be the right place as I always wanted some religious body being involved in my children’s education.

When we arrived, it was almost 2.30pm so the school has already closed as they only runs the morning session (8.30 am – 11.30am). They have stopped the full day session which reasons were not being given to us by the administrator who attended to us.

As we were chatting, he brought out a whole lot of books (YES!!!! BOOKS!!!) for each session which there are a total of two sessions in a year. I counted and there were at least 9 books which he told me is still not the complete set… holly molly!!!! 5 years old and already have so many books and exercises to be completed???

This school emphasized more on Mandarin, which is something both PiggyBeng and myself are looking forward to as we already decided to put Darrius in Chinese medium school when he goes to primary school later on. However, we did not get to see much ‘action’ since classes already ended for that day but the administrator told us to return on another day so we can inspect how classes are being conducted… which I will be doing next week.

This school requires their students to wear uniform.

Fee = RM100/month (not inclusive of all the other charges)

Phonics = RM80/term


School No. 2 – Montessori

The second school we visited was a certified Montessori school which is also very near to our place. This school is highly recommended by 2 mommies I knew (you know who you are!). However, I knew it won’t come cheap and I was right. Children are being grouped up to about 9 person maximum with one teacher in every subject. Therefore, each child will get at least a longer one-to-one time with each teacher.

They have 3 sessions. Students can choose either the morning session (8.30 am – 11.30 am), afternoon session (12 noon – 3 pm) or full day (8.30 am – 5 pm). Mandarin class (1 hour every day) is optional which is only available to students from the age of 5 to 6. Everything else will be conducted in English as there are a mix of teachers of different races… which is something I really like… at least Darrius will have no problem conversing.

Phonics is already part of their curriculum so there will not be any additional charges. There will also be one snack time of 15 minutes where light snack will be provided. Darrius likes this place very much as it has a slide and a sand box outside the school! (Darrius always thought that going to school means going to the playground!)

Like most Montessori teaching, a lot of teaching aids are being used… toys and apparatus. I’m not sure if this is really good? PiggyBeng felt that by using all these aids, they are more suitable for ‘slow learning’ children instead of normal children… correct me if I’m wrong!!!!

Unlike the first school we went, there will be no books given but rather each student will get different work sheets every day which are to be completed during the session. The best thing is, they don’t require their students to wear uniform.

Fee = RM330/month for 3 hours session (not inclusive of other MISC charges)

Mandarin class = RM152/month


School No. 3 – A Childcare chain

The last school we visited for the day is more like a childcare to us than a pre-school. The outside of this school looks pretty nice with large compound (it is a 2 single storey link house joint together like those manufactured home) but what we saw inside is not so pleasing to the eyes. They only use 1.5 of the 2 houses as classrooms and the other 0.5 is actually a conference room! The classrooms turned me off slightly as they are quite dim and dirty looking.

According to the lady whom attended to us,Β  there are 3 different sessions, morning session, half day care or full day care. English will be the main medium used but from the way she speak, her English is worst than mine! Ok, ok, she is only a young girl and appeared more like a sales person rather than a teacher. She even used a file to do introduction of their services which looked very commercialized… too business like and $$$ sucking! πŸ˜› Well, I am right about that judgement as their charges is almost like the Montessori one but quality wise… far below our expectation!

One of the thing they emphasized is their Computer lessons. This may sound cool but I do not wish to have Darrius learning to use the computer too soon (else he will fight with us for the PC and give us excuses like… ‘I want to do homework’ way before it’s time!) I know I am being old-fashion but kindy is hardly the place for children to learn about computers! I don’t mind if it is only a once a week or optional kinda thing but to have it every day is definitely a BIG NO!

I managed to get hold of some of their magazines (yes, they have their own magazines!!!) and after flipping through and finding all the spelling errors, my expectation dipped further down! They don’t even proof read all the BIG prints! I don’t have very good impression over chain type of operation… they usually too commercialized and lack the quality.

The lady told us that there will be other extra activities being included besides the normal programme (thus for the high charges). They even help parents to organize birthday parties at their homes… (is that a job for teachers/school???) She did not show us the books or materials being used but by looking at the charges (RM360/year) I guess there will be lots of books! I think my SPM reference books also don’t cost that much! And before I forget, they said those 5 and 6 years old will have to take exams too! Yikes!!!! (PiggyBeng freaked out upon hearing that!)

Since this place is a chain type of childcare, we gathered their expertise is not what we are looking for or not so suitable for Darrius. And for paying so much… we rather send Darrius to else where with better facilities.

This school requires their student to wear uniform and no mention of learning Phonics.

Fee = RM250/month x 12 (not inclusive of other MISC charges)


Well, we hope to visit a few more schools which are further away next week or the coming weeks before we decide. Our only concern is the early morning traffic which is really terrible around our area and having to lug Lil’ Bun along next year to send Darrius to school is something I really need to think about.

Wish us luck!!!


About Angeleyes

Daily bites of a full time mom searching for a space to rediscover her potentials in her roles as a mom, wife and an entrepreneur.
This entry was posted in Kids Education, Milestone, My Prince. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to The Pre-School Search – Part 1

  1. rachel says:

    wah… penang prices cheaper than KL.
    Philip school is already rm350 per month for a 2yo

    and yes, till today, i hv never once ON -TIME. his school starts 8am..and i m always there 9 😦

    sometimes sending to school can let out the social part lo.. no need whole day. half day is good enough..

    best wishes

  2. mumsgather says:

    It appears to me that preschool 1 sounds like it has a lot of “paperwork”, the same as “preschool 3” as well whereas preschool 2 may not Darrius for the Chinese school style in primary school later on. Good luck in your search. Do keep us updated.

  3. Charmaine says:

    Interesting to read the different pre-schools you have visited. Good luck!

  4. ahh..i like Christian based school cos I went to 2 (kindy and std1 to form5). Ashley is attending one now and has 8 books for the first half of the year (text books and exercise books). The fee for School 1 is pretty cheap eh? Since this is the first time for Darrius, maybe it’s for him to be in a not-so overly academic environment. This is year is Ashley’s honeymoon year. Next year, we’ll be sending her to another school πŸ™‚ good luck in your search.

  5. laundryamah says:

    wah..after seeing ur report..i now feel so bad..didnt even go around to survey the kindy for both my kids..i just placeD them where it was convenient in terms of trransportation!!! Foundation is really important..u shud really study the schools properly..

  6. Angeleyes says:

    Maybe I have to set my expectation right…. it is not easy to find something that we really want… it is always either they have this and not that and vice versa…. this is Parenting Blues!!!!! 😦

  7. maybe u can try to look for those kindy that using FunGates system, check it out here

  8. wen says:

    i personally think that 5 yrs old is the latest age that one should go to school… good luck in searching a good kindy for Darrius!

  9. whoisbaby says:

    the fees are considered very reasonable to me. May be because i am comparing with where I am from. I think I might go with the first school if i only want him to play and have fun, only RM100 a month which is very affordable and you will have your 3 hours daily to your own.

  10. I believed the ” Childcare chain” that you mentioned is located at Tmn Sri Nibong. I personally think that

    1. Those kindy teachers,esp Chinese teachers are all SPM, STPM school leave,how to expect them speak good english? They are hired to teach chinese. As long as they are master in chinese, what’s wrong if they are poor in english? If someone who is very good in all 2/3languages, do you think she will work as kindy teacher?

    2. I dont feel anything wrong with the file. It is to ease for thier explaination.

    3. The price is reasonable in fact cheaper than other chain school in Penang. From what you have mentioned for the other 2 schools, the price is even higher. There is no extra charges for phonis and chinese class.

    4. Computer class is only once a week.,

    There are many childcare chains in Penang and the one we went is not in Tmn Sri Nibong.

  11. KittyCat says:

    I think my friend sent her son to the Methodish kindy previously. Initially, I wanted to send Lucas to a Montessori one but since he’s such an active jumpy kid, I think it’s better he goes to one which is more academic.

    We really like the place he is in now and he seems happy too because he can’t wait to join his pals for breakfast now πŸ™‚ No hug for Mummy also especially as his special girl friend calls out “Hello Lucas!” very loudly LOL

    Hope Darrius will like the kindy you guys pick out for him πŸ™‚

  12. a-moms-diary says:

    I also surveryed about 7 kindies before deciding on the current one. I initially was apprehensive about sending YY to her kindy as they have homework and exam for even the 4yo class. But the headmistress told me this, “If we don’t start them young with the homework habit, it’ll be more difficult when they reach primary school, especially if you intend to send her to Chinese school.” I thought it made sense. Anyway, after about 10 months in the kindy, the homework isn’t all that bad. Some days there’ll be none, and some days there’ll be slightly more.

    Good luck in your search.

  13. Pingback: RamblingMoo » The Pre-School Search - Part 2

  14. hugeheadache says:

    Not sure which one you went to but I’ve surveyed nearly 10 kindy’s to date at the Greenlane area and none seems to meet my expecations. I came to 1 which I thought would be the one .. ended up telling me the classes for the 3yr olds are full and I could only leave my contact number and the Principal promised to call me IF they open another class 😦

    Most of the kindy’s seems to be so $$$ derived. They have 15-16 students per class with 1 official teacher & an “assistant” teacher. How can 1 teacher teach 15-16 3yrs olds which will probably be roaming everywhere and not paying attention in class at all?

  15. Michelle says:

    Hi there, could use with some helps and opinions on which school you finally settled. Please write to me yeah?? Cheers!

  16. reihaneh says:

    I am looking for kindergarten (or maybe nursery) for my 3 year old son. As I am Unfamiliar to Penang can not make any decision. I don’t have either any idea about it. Could u pleas kindly help me and give some information about good , english speaking kindergarten? also my kid doesnt know any english and kindness of the people in there is so important for me. thanks a lot

    • Angeleyes says:

      It all depends on which part of Penang you are in. I can’t be recommending you a place in Bayan Lepas when you are staying in Tanjung Bungah mah! πŸ˜› If you want all English speaking, there is a Tumble Tots next to QueensBay Mall. It directly behind HSBC Bank.

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