The Children’s House has left a legacy on the Malaysian education landscape with 35 years in the community.
How have they been able to leave such a strong impression?
We guess it has something to do with their vision of lifelong learning for children that permeates the school culture and environment.
When we interviewed Ann Cristal Gomes, Senior Principle of The Children’s House, she told us the 5 things they’re doing that’s in line with their vision and values as a school.
1. The Montessori Approach
Of course, this is the main pillar of the school. We focus on Practical life skills, Sensorial activities, we also work with Language, Numbers and as well as various Culture topics. Parents who choose The Children’s House are often familiar with the Montessori Approach and the lifelong benefits to children’s development.
Progress of children can be seen very soon after, once they are in the environment.
It’s very common for us to have parents enrolling their children based on the feedback of other parents because they are seeing how their children are progressing. In my 16 years I have heard many stories of children developing skills during their early years that they are now using in their careers.
2. Listening to Parents Feedback
When we first started The Children's House, we did not have a full day program. We extended the hours to support parents who wanted their children to be ready for primary school. Not just the National schools though, as time went on, we grew and things changed, we had parents (even non-Chinese) wanting to send their children to Chinese school, or international schools so we had to look at different areas and needs. We introduced Mandarin, Bahasa and classes like speech and drama, taekwondo and ballet classes after school as well.
This year, we are looking into the possibility of full afternoon sessions in a second language (either Mandarin or Bahasa) so that the older children will be more prepared for primary school. We have parents who have requested for such programs.
3. Lifelong Learning for Our Teachers
For some time, most of the enrichment school programmes were outsourced from external vendors – the company has realised that the opportunity should be given to our teachers to conduct music and gymnastic classes. I asked myself, if teachers have an interest they can be trained to fully equipped themselves so that they can create their own lessons for music, gymnastics, drama and dance which we have started piloting in schools.
We give our teachers the opportunity to improve themselves and learn more about how to improve their lesson plans and how they use the Montessori system. Our founder, Nan, is very meticulous in ensuring that our teachers are very well trained. She is so passionate about passing down this knowledge. Soon our Bahasa and Mandarin teachers will also be trained by our curriculum team so that all of our teachers, no matter what their specialty, will know the Montessori Approach.
4. Improving the Curriculum
Education is at a very exciting period, there are a lot of opportunities to bring different programmes into the curriculum. Before MCO and EMCO, there were projects that we were working on that we intend to bring back!
My favourite was the STEM and STAM programmes that we invested for our teachers to learn from our Singapore team. The programmes involved looking at energy and forces of push and pull, and fixing, screwing to build items to feed their curiosity. We tested it out with some of our children and they absolutely loved it!
I was also sent to the United Kingdom for 2 months and when I came back from that experience I knew I wanted to include more outings and outdoor activities related to sustainability and forest learning. We played music in the garden. We started a planting project where we planted vegetables. Once they were ready to be harvested, we invited parents to eat “nasi lemak” and “mee hoon goreng” with us and we ate our produce. We took the children to the TTDI park to play in the stream. And we even had a pilot project that involved parents coming into school to create an indoor playground out of cardboard. I think this should continue as soon as it is safe to do so.
5. Learning From Each Other
In July 2021, we had an open symposium organised by Busy Bees for our 35th Anniversary for all our teachers, and that included all the founders of Peter and Jane and The children’s house. The founders shared their experiences and our teachers were inspired. They told me “it was wonderful to hear them speak because they felt like they wanted to follow in their footsteps”. I was amazed because that was the feeling I had when I first joined The Children's House 16 years ago. I have learned so much from the founders and now I want to pass that down to the teachers and give this to them.
Thank you, Ann for taking the time to talk to us, it was a delight!
If you’re curious about what The Children’s House has to offer your child, this is a fantastic time to find out. Visit the school directly, there are two Open Days coming up in June. Please call 03-6203 3883 to RSVP.
The Children's House Bangsar, 11th June 2022, 9am to 12pm.
The Children's House Ampang, 18th June 2022, 9am to 1pm.