Becoming a parent is a huge learning curve. From naps to nappies, teething to tantrums, parents face a never-ending (and frequently exhausting) array of decisions. Making the right choice isn’t always easy and seems to get harder as the number of candles on the birthday cake increases.
Deciding when, and where, to send your child to school is possibly one of the biggest decisions a family has to make in early childhood and it can be especially challenging for expatriates away from their home country and for Malaysian families wanting an education that will provide their child with options and opportunities in an increasingly globalized and competitive world.
Elementary School Principal at the renowned International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), Julie Olson offers this advice to parents, “Concentrate your research on finding the best-fit, values-based school for your child. Naturally, the academic program is important but do remember, it’s not just about reading, writing and academics. Finding a stimulating and nurturing environment which teaches your child strong values is critical”.
There is abundant research that supports that the early years are critical to a child's development and impacts future academic success. The learning and development that takes place during these years lays the foundation for developing a young learners’ attitudes, skills, knowledge, and understanding. An education framework built on strong and steadfast values can play an invaluable role in helping students develop and navigate life as they transition through school, university and ultimately into the workplace. That may seem a long way off when your child is three or four but the lessons children learn at school during their early years will shape both attitudes and behaviour which impacts how a child develops their executive functioning skills and in turn has a lasting and lifelong impact on your child.
Julie Olson explains ISKL’s approach, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of strong values at this key stage in a child’s education. Establishing early learning behaviours and attitudes is vital. At ISKL, our early learners are guided by ‘The Melawati Way’, a code of behaviour and philosophy that underpins all that we do and encourages students to ‘Take care of yourself, Take care of others and Take care of this place’. The Melawati Way has been in place at ISKL for over 20 years and has helped shape the attitudes and behaviour of thousands of students. Its simplicity and positivity connect the expectation of how students care for themselves, others and the world around them with their behaviour. Students, parents and faculty literally live and breathe the Melawati Way, starting from day one in Prep Reception aged three through to Grade 5 when students are ready to transition to ISKL’s Middle School division”.
Angela Boyle, mother of four who headed back home to Australia last year gives a parent’s perspective, “The Melawati Way has become part of the way that our family thinks about ourselves, each other and our environment both on and off the campus. This is a testimony to a school that walks the walk and doesn't just talk the talk”.
Mrs Boyle shares her experience, “The ISKL early childhood program truly takes the philosophy of developing the whole child through play-based learning seriously. Within weeks of my children commencing in Prep Junior and Prep Senior, their teachers knew in great detail about their interests and strengths, as well as their family and social history. They gathered information through attentive 1:1 and group time in creation station spaces, readers and writers workshops, math sessions, discovery centers, and the extra-circular programs of art, music, physical education and world language. I am confident that I can say our children have been given the absolute best start to their education and we will miss ISKL immensely”.
A visit to the specially designed Elementary wing of ISKL’s newly opened state-of-the-art campus is testament to just how ISKL “walks the walk” in all aspects of early childhood education.The whole child education that ISKL offers uses research based practices, innovative programs such as Design Thinking and Makerspaces and provides collaboration spaces that encourage each child to be who they are. Students get to experience learning in a way that emphasizes critical skills development while following their interests and establishing approaches that will last a lifetime!
Click here to find out more about the exceptional education that ISKL can offer your child at ISKL’s Open Day on Thursday, January 17, 2019.
About Julie Olson: Julie Olson has been the Principal of Elementary School at ISKL since 2016. She holds a M.Sc.A (Educational Leadership), M.Ed (School Counseling) and BA (Elementary Education, Speech Communication).