Some people think preschool is preschool, no need to go the length of paying thousands of ringgit per month for just a half day session. And that it's only preschool, so don't have to go through the pressure of finding the best curricular yet and whatnot.
I agree to that actually, but when i was looking for tia's first preschool at 3 years old, my top influencers in choosing a school would be:
1. Patient teachers.
2. Hygiene - of the premises, of TOILETS especially (kids can also get UTI ok)
3. Large school area -kids being kids, they have to run around. so shoplots are a no-no to me.
4. Healthy food menu.
Then only comes the curricular. because at 3 year old, do you want to pressure the kid into reading already? school at that age is supposed to be more for social developments and to gain independence in the child.
Ampang is an old area, therefore kindies around this area have been around for many years. Some of my friends send their kids to their old kindies. Here are some of the schools that I have visited or enquired within a 5-6km radius from my house. However, all the info below are just my personal opinion on the schools. Your expectations might not be the same as mine, but I hope it would help some of the parents out there who are looking for a kindy around Ampang.
1. Kindicare Play and Preschool, Jalan Pakat, Ukay Heights
This school captured my heart the moment I walk in. Headmistress was very welcoming, and answers your questions the right way. Out of all the schools, this one assures me that they will guide tia through her potty training although she was already 3years old (which translates to me that they are patient). She lets tia join the class she's supposed to be in while she showed me around and tia did not want to go home. The school has a nice mix of expats and all races. Toilets are clean, has a stepstool and children will be assisted by teachers when they go peepee. Big playground area at the back of the school. Fees are supposedly RM750 a month but they have this compulsory music class, +RM50. so, RM800 a month. school hours 8.30am-12.30pm.
2. Kidz Cabin - Jalan Tebrau, Ukay Heights
I went to enquire while the school was already on holidays. This school is a lot more happening than Kindicare, but I think i was a bit turned off because of the miscommunication with the headmistress- she was late for appointment and also it wasn't very easy to visit the school because she's always not around. or perhaps it was just a coincidence with me. Big space, 2 bungalows. has a sick bay as well. a playground, and a cute little roleplay area. A friend told me they have a lot of fancy activities including international day, among a few others. extra classes includes rhythmic gymnastics which was awesome! Decent place, but maybe I chose Kindicare because I saw tia in action. Fees around RM500-600+ a month.
3. British Montessori Preparatory School - Jalan 1, Taman TAR
The 2 schools above were located in the hills of Ukay Heights, secluded and a way from pollution. this one is on top of the hills of Taman TAR, also nice. Principal was very nice. I was impressed with her explanation as well as the large compounds of the school. Tia liked the big trampoline outside. Toilets are good, has a proper canteen like eating place instead of converting a classroom into a canteen. Teachers seem patient with the kids as far as I can see. Fees are a bit steep though, RM1200 a month if I'm not mistaken. So we had to give it a pass.
4. REAL kids -4th Mile, Jalan Ampang
I forgot about this school. otherwise I would've enrolled Tia there. My sister Fina goes there back in the days when it was still called CEC, and she was happy there. However, the system, teachers would've changed since the rebranding. What I do know is, they have a proper swimming pool, a nice dropoff and pickup system, and school hours can be chosen whether its half a day, or til 3.30pm. Fees if I'm not mistaken, also affordable at RM500+ a month.
5. Smart Reader Bukit Indah & Ampang Point
I went to both centres to ask about reading tutorials recently. Both premises are a tad too tiny and there were a lot of kids. Not my preference. It's a sit down and learning kind of school. They have to divide the children into two sessions- morning (8.30am-12.00pm) and Afternoon (2.30- 5.30pm).I went during their snack time and I see the kids eating those teddy bear chocolate biscuits given by the school. Headmistresses are very accomodative to questions. Fees are very very reasonable though. and I love the phonics and reading charts they have in their common area.
6. Buzzy Bee Montessori International School
Most of my little cousins went to this school and my grandmother and aunty advised me to send tia here as well. at first I thought the fees are a little bit steep at RM900 a month (might have been increased by now) and the area wasn't really big. It's located in a row of houses, in a housing area, so it does seem a little bit crowded. The food menu looks healthy and nice as well, and I understood that 80% of the students are expats. maybe that explains the fees. However, I did not get to visit this school as at that time I have chosen Kindicare for Tia.
Other kindergartens around Ampang which I know but have no info on:
- Brainy Bunch Ampang Point
- Seri Mawar Childcare and Development Centre
- CIC , Bukit Indah
- Atfal Kids, Jalan Mamanda
- Tadika Al-Ehsan
I have actually pulled Tia out of Kindicare, reason being the fees are getting too expensive for a part time pharmacist like me. That, and they also have a bunch of holidays, following the national ones and also some international ones like Easter. Parents are not very well updated on the child's progress. (or was it just me?) Tiana seemed happy everytime balik sekolah though, and that is the most important thing. however, she is a bigger girl now, ready for a more independent based school and er, much lower fees.
Hope this post helps!