Researching Preschools in Malaysia

Although G2 is only 19 months old and I have no intention of sending him to preschool until he is at least 3, I figured I ought to do my research to find out more about what is out there now. I have been leaning heavily towards a Montessori program for some time now so I made up a list of schools to look at. Some of these schools aren’t Montessori based but they came highly recommended through friends. Most of the schools selected were the ones that were conveniently located for us. I figured that unless I really can’t find anything appropriate within our reach, then I would broaden my circle. So here they are…

Junior Creative Mind (Montessori)
76 Jalan Wangas Budi
9 Wangsa Melawati
Tel: 016-2067227; 017-3309354

My Little Home (Montessori)
No. 118, Jln Kasah,Bukit Damansara,
Wilayah Persekutuan, 50490
Tel: 03-20935078
Email: info@mylittlehome.net
Website: http://www.mylittlehome.net/

Smart Mandarin Kids (Montessori)
112A-124A, Jalan Kasah
Damansara Heights
Main Line: +6 (016) 227 5437
Admin Line: +6 (016) 207 5437
Email: info@smartmandarinkids.com

Blue Daisies
P-03-02, Bayu Walk
Mont’ Kiara Bayu
Tel: 03-6203 1669
Email: bluedaisies_kidsclub@hotmail.com

British Montessori Preparatory School
No. 6, Jalan 1, Taman Tun Abdul Razak. Ampang.
Tel: 012-3788879
Email: zaradavies@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.britedu.co/

Sparkles Montessori
75 Jalan Sri Hartamas 3
Tel: 03-62013103
Email: nancy6368@hotmail.com
Website: http://sparklemas.tripod.com/

Summerfields (partial Montessori program)
32 Jalan Sri Hartamas 16
Tel: 03-62012388
Email: enquiry@summerfields.com.my
Website: http://summerfields.com.my/home.htm

Both Sparkles Montessori and Summerfields are on the same street just a few houses apart. I have the details for both schools which I will write about in a separate post, but I was not keen on either school once I saw that they were located very close to high tension wires.

Lorna Whiston
Tel: 03-77271909 (TTDI Branch)
Tel: 03-41473229 (Wangsa Melawati Branch)
Email: enquiries@lornawhiston.com.my
Website: http://www.lornawhiston.com.my/

Lorna Whiston Melawati Branch is not operational at present. They are still waiting for their license from the Ministry of Education. They also only take children from 4 years onwards (not 3 years as stated on their website).

Julia Gabriel
123 Jalan Bukit Pantai
59100 Bangsar
Tel: 03-20955500
Email: kualalumpur@juliagabriel.com.my
Website: http://www.juliagabriel.com.my/

Insight Kids Preschool
No. 1 Jalan Beluntas
Medan Damansara
Tel: 03-20952496
Email: preschool@insight-kids.com
Website: http://www.insight-kids.com/preschool.php

We saw three schools today and I have to give G2 credit for taking it all so well. I would never have dared to do this with G1 at this age because we would have had a melt down in the car. G2 was only too happy to join the other kids and make himself at home while I spoke to the principals. G1 at 19 months hated anything that looked remotely like school. G2 is just happy to be around other children and to see new toys he hasn’t played with before.

Update July 2014

We ended up sending G2 to Trinity Kids and you can read more about them here.

This was the school we wanted to send G2 to except that we weren’t ready for each other at the time (by the time we were both ready, G2 was already very comfortable at Trinity Kids so we decided not to move him):

TweedleWink Playhouse

F-3A-1, Neo Damansara
Jalan PJU 8/1
Bandar Damansara Perdana
47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-7710 1090
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tweedlewink
Website: www.rightbrainkids.com

A few other preschools that have caught our attention – as in the photos they posted look really lovely but we know very little about them except for what they share on their websites:

Safari Kid International

56 Jalan Medang Tanduk,
Taman Bukit Bandaraya,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 59100
Tel: 03-22015561
Facebook: www.facebook.com/safarikidkl
Website: www.safarikidasia.com/my/

TSA – The Sequoia Academy

No. 22-1, Jalan Panglima,
Off Jalan Persiaran Mahkota Cheras,
Bandar Mahkota Cheras,
43200 Cheras, Selangor.
Tel: 013-206 2700
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sequoia-Academy/
Website: nts8982.wix.com/the-sequoia-academy

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

47 thoughts on “Researching Preschools in Malaysia

  1. Thanks for sharing the info, SL!
    May I know–how did you narrow your searches to the above list, since there are thousands of preschools in kl/klang valley? What are your search criteria?

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    1. Hi CM – this is far from an exhaustive list and I confess it is heavily biassed towards schools that are conveniently located to me (hence you will not see any schools in Puchong, USJ, Subang, Klang, etc.) Some of them came highly recommended from friends. Others are Montessori schools that are conveniently located. Why Montessori – because that is the program that TweedleWink recommended (and one that I have been partial to ever since Gavin was little). I would have (and should have) sent Gavin to a Montessori preschool but did not do so only because I was ill-prepared back then. I had always planned to homeschool him until he was 4 and thought I had plenty of time to check out schools. Then I got pregnant with Gareth and I was just too tired to do the research and deal with Gavin (who was still very sensitive in the carseat at the time).

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  2. Hi Shenli, have you ever thought of that in fact preschool is quite unnecessary for your young Gareth judging from what he has learned so much from you thus far….Just think why in a hurry. Thanks your cloud formations.

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    1. Hi FZ – I think I have always thought to send Gareth to preschool when he turned 3 because that is what I did with Gavin. But I guess I forget that I only did that with Gavin because I was pregnant with Gareth and too tired to do much with him at home. Now, I’m wondering if I should hold Gareth back until he is 4 (which was my original plan with Gavin). I guess the other reason why I am considering sending Gareth is because he seems to want it. The few schools we saw on Thursday, he was really eager to join the other children – he even sat with them to play blocks. Unlike Gavin who cried all the way when I first sent him to school, I had trouble getting Gareth to leave because he was enjoying himself. So now I’m not sure – send or don’t send? I still have a lot of time to think about it and in the meantime, I figured I should just check out the schools.

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    1. Hi Alice – I have heard briefly about Fungates, but the primary reason I never considered it is purely because the location is not convenient for me.

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  3. I heard Smart Mandarin is really good but did not know that it was a 5 day week thing. Gareth will get exposure to Mandarin as well. I love Julia Gabriel (Chiltern House) but when my husband saw the fees, his eyes almost popped out. Haha.

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    1. Irene – Yes, that’s one of the reasons why I was looking at Smart Mandarin. I can’t teach the children Mandarin because I’m hopeless.

      I have yet to check out Julia Gabriel, but yeah, I’ve noticed the fees are double the other schools I’ve seen so far.

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  4. Hi Shen-Li,

    Here’s another 2 Montessori schools located near KL/Ampang

    treetophouse
    Lot 10, Jln U-Thant,
    55000 Kuala Lumpur
    T +603.2141.2941
    treetophouse.com.my
    I’ve visited this school, it’s new, spacious (with pets & extra curricular activities), mix with expatriates and MYRxxxx per month fees (have to pay per semester of 4 months).

    International Montessori Centre
    2, Jalan Mamanda 12,
    Taman Dato’ Ahmad Razali,
    68000 Ampang (near ISKL school)
    Tel : +603.4252.5228
    It’s a small school with Montessori and Malaysian schools curriculum. Both English and Mandarin medium. Fees are affordable.

    A good Montessori school should ‘tailor’ to a child’s development i.e. if Gareth is more advanced than his peers, they will facilitate more challenging activities for him. Teachers love children, speaks English well and have at least a Certificate in Montessori or with good experience.

    Happy school hunting!

    😉 Chan

    Like

    1. Thanks Chan for the reminder. Another parent mentioned Treetophouse to me and she said it was very good. International Montessori Center sounds like it is very close to us – should check that one out, too.

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  5. just wondering, why wouldn’t you place gareth in same school with gavin? wouldn’t it be more convenient? i mean, after much research on the right school for my older kid, i automatically assume i would be sending the 2nd one to the same school as her sis.

    any specific reason for not attending the same school?

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    1. Hi Mel – there are a few reasons. There is a three year gap between Gavin and Gareth, so Gavin will no longer be in that pre-school by the time Gareth starts so convenience is no longer a factor. Secondly, I confess I didn’t really do a lot of research before deciding to send Gavin there. I was rather unprepared at the time – I was pregnant with Gareth and feeling ill and tired all the time so it seemed like the easiest option to send Gavin to a school that his god-siblings were at so the experience wouldn’t feel so alien.

      Personally, before I even started sending Gavin to preschool, I always had this intention of doing a Montessori program with him. Now that I have the chance to do it all over with Gareth, I think that’s the direction I plan to head in, unless I am totally blown away by a non-Montessori-based school.

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  6. Hi Shen-Li,
    Do you have any information about Qdees? They seem to be in everywhere but I am not sure what kind of teaching approach they are using. I’m a working mother who has very little time to do proper research, though I was really glad that I found Tweedlewink “early” enough …

    I passed-by Julia Gabriel almost everyweek, but we didn’t inquire because judging by the types of card that parked outside the school, we already knew it’s expensive, ha ha ha …

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    1. Hi CC – Yes, I have heard about Qdees but only the name. Don’t know anything more about them than that. They are very conveniently located to me (due to the numerous branches they have) so perhaps it is worth looking at. Looking at their website, they sound pretty impressive, however, the part that makes me hesitate is the “individual child monitoring system”. It sounds great, but it involves weekly/monthly progress evaluations and assessments – is that really necessary? We’re talking about preschool and kindergarten here. Doman said that the quickest way to kill a child’s interest to learn is to keep testing them repeatedly. Assessments in this case only serves the purpose of satisfying parents and the school that the children are “performing” to par but I don’t see the benefit it offers the children. These are the thoughts that come to mind when I read something like that. I could be way off the mark so it is probably best to see the school directly and ask what it all means.

      Yeah, JG is twice the price of some of the other schools I have seen. When I called them to ask for a viewing, they said they would email me their programs so I could see if they were what I wanted and then I could call them again to schedule a viewing. I think what they meant was “why don’t you see our fees first and if you think you can afford them, call us. Otherwise, let’s not waste each other’s time.” :-p

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  7. Hi Shen Li
    Just wondering if you have any frens who know of any good Montessori or not preschool in Cheras?

    Hi Chan
    Did u check out d Intl Montessori Centre in Ampang? I wanted to send my gal who is 2.9 yrs old there given dat they r montessori based n d fees r affordable compared to others. However m just not too comfortable wif d teachers there s they shout at d children to keep them quiet or keep them under control. I dun think they r Montessori trained but according to d principle they r experienced teacher. not sure if it’s my high expectation given dat they r Montessori based or these r just normal behavior for all teachers dealing wif young kids?

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  8. Hi Cin,

    Perhaps some people has a loud voice and it may seem like ‘shouting’. I’ve friends who have sent the kids to Intern’l Montessori Center for more than 3 years 🙂

    Cheras – a worth visit preschool (not Montessori but they started out as Montessori). They have indoor playground, sand & waterplay, swimming pool and group projects. Fees RMxxx/month (pay by semester).
    Tadika Sri Perdana
    1 Jalan Jering, Taman Cheras
    T 03.9133.1818
    tadikasriperdana.edu.my

    Hope you can find a school that’s best for your child 😉

    Like

  9. Hi Shenli and CC,

    First, wow, I just discovered that we have so many different style of preschools here.

    For Qdees, I think Shenli you are right, it is very academic-based, I had basically read their programs, studied their workbooks, visited one of the branches last year ( 2010) thinking to let my daughter join ONLY the mandarin class, but decided otherwise because it was very classroom style…..the end, I employed a Chinese teacher from China for 1 1/2 hrs long per week this year and I think is suffice……can’t stand if the young child has to sit in the class for hours long x 5 days even though my daughter has already 5 years now.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your insights on Qdees, FZ. Sounds like I may give them a miss then. Already too many schools to check out and as it is, I’ll have to take a break while Gavin is on holidays for two months before starting his new school. The two boys at home is already two handfuls. I don’t think we will survive a trip to check out new preschools for Gareth.

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  10. hehe, I am re-reading Dr Shichida’s books, in chinese version, reading thus far, l am still thinking the best teacher to the child is always us, the mother, the one valid reason I dont enrol V to any schools is if I were to enrol her to BIS then she would have to start September this year…… but I still think right brain education is still very crucial to her now compared to other structured school program. So, dont worry, keep your time with Gareth….. you are more important to him instead of school.

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    1. FS – thanks. I will keep that in mind. Perhaps I may not do preschool per se but regular fun classes for social interaction which he clearly enjoys. When I take him for right brain classes, he’s always so excited to be there. I think it must be a second child thing. I remember being very excited about school when I was little. I couldn’t wait to go.

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  11. Hi Shenli,

    I noticed you had purchased the following 3 items from Amazon, could you give some insights to the items pertaining to facts of is the item suitable to young children, or if that easily readable, does it come with interesting video clips ? Many thanks in advance.

    Encyclopedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate
    Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe 2011
    Complete National Geographic- Every Issue Since 1888

    Like

    1. What I purchased in the end was only Encyclopedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate. They have three levels – one for children. There aren’t as many video clips as I expected so a bit disappointed. Readability is okay. I think Venus can definitely handle it – even the one for older children based on the kind of books she is reading now.

      The complete Nat Geo I didn’t buy because Gavin probably not really interested in that right now but we used to have the hard copies which I thought were good reading for information.

      I couldn’t get them from Amazon – they don’t deliver to malaysia. I bought mine from eBay. I find the prices and availability vary a lot, though so you need to search around.

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  12. Speaking of fees that make your eyes pop, wait till you see the ones being charged by Etonhouse. *pengsan*

    I’m going to take a look at Little Mandarin House in Bangsar and Smart Mandarin Kids. Connor is very happy right now in his current school but I would like him to pick up some Mandarin and both of us can’t teach him that so it will have to be a school to teach him that.

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  13. Just wondering if you happen to have any comment on Smart Mandarin vs Little Mandarin House? I am curious to find out the difference b/w the two and struggling to find one school that is most suitable for my son whilst location closest to home plays an important factor.

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  14. Have any of you heard about Tuska Tulip in Bangsar that claims to be a Intl. Montessori School ? I am a foreigner who would like to enrol my son in a Montessori when we travel to KL in a few months. I want the best for my son. Julian Gabriel sounds good but the school times are a bit too short as I was also looking for a proper day care along with schooling. Would you be kind enough to help me out with my predicament. Our proposed locations for residence are Kelana Jaya or subang Jaya near Sunway University. Many thanks in advance.

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  15. Hi Shen-Li,
    Thanks for the info on the pre-schools. I noticed British Montessori Prep School in your list but there doesn’t seem to be any feedback on that. Trying to find out what are the reviews like for that school and if anyone knows what the fee strcuture is like. I’m not planning to send my son to a RM5k a term kind of place as it’s not affordable. Also there is another one in Ampang called Kidz Cabin. Any moms sent their kids there?

    Thanks

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    1. Hi Shirley,

      I’m sorry. I dropped off on this one. I didn’t end up checking them because the location wasn’t suitable if I have to send my other son to school. I needed the school to be in the same area. There are some very good schools in Ampang. I think Treetop house? is one… Not sure if that’s the name – it’s a Montessori school. Heard some good things about them.

      http://www.treetophouse.com.my/index.php

      Like

  16. Hi Shen-Li,
    Thanks for your reply. Still haven’t enrolled my son in any pre-school yet but I did pay a visit to BRitish Montessori and Kindicare and I like them both. Perhaps for the benefit of your readers who may be looking for schools in the Ampang area, I can provide with a bit of feedback based on my visit.

    British Montessori Prep School (officially registered as Tadika Adinda)
    The principal is a Welsh lady and I must say I like her very much and I like the way she interacts with the kids. The syllabus are montessori based but combined with other methods that the principal thinks make the teaching and learning process more hollistic. I like that they have different classrooms for different subjects and that the kids are not stuck in one same space for the duration they’re there. It’s very academic based which was what I didn’t want, after all we’re talking about toddlers and pre-schoolers but I must say based on what Ms Davies (the principal) explained to me, the learning process itself seems to be fun by the way the subjects are taught. They limit classroom lessons to 5 students at a time to one teacher so I like that it’s a small classroom. The venue is nice and more importantly I feel comfortable. Fees wise, they’re not as expensive as Treetop, Etonhouse, Children’s House (which are by the way, registered as daycare and not as a kindergarten , hence they do not need to register with Ministry of Education and do not need to licence their teachers. If you want to know if the center is registered as a daycare, check the list on Jabatan Kebajikan. Unfortunately, the minstry of education do not publish their list but I’m assuming that if they’re not listed on Jabatan Kebajikan, it will be under MOE)

    Kindicare
    Also montessori based learning but first half of the period is used for social interacting and play for the younger kids. I’m not sure about the older age group (3 years onwards). This place came recommended and the principal, Jean Danker is very hands on and is at the center managing the place herself. Most principals I understand do not. Venue wise, it’s 12 kids to one classroom which I find is quite cramped. The 2-3 years age group is ok as they have a bigger space whereas the older kids if I understand correctly stay in their specified classroom. I must say I’m impressed with the kids there. When Jean took me to see the classrooms, all the kids greeted her with a hello or good morning Auntie (they cal their teachersd Aunties) and they seem very happy. I also bumped into 2 mom who went to pick up their kids and they raved about that place.

    Time wise, British Montessori suits me better as I’m going back to work. They do 12.00, 2.20pm, or 5.30pm pick up whereas Kindicare only does one pick up time 12.20pm and late charger by the half hour applies for late pick up. They do have after school activities but I’m assuming that it will be on top of the school fees. Kindicare is cheaper but British Montessori has more flexibility with pick up times.
    I’m heading back to those two places next week with my son and see how he takes to both places.

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  17. Did anyone sending your kids to Tadika Reka at Taman Seraya(Ampang) before?
    They claim that they are one of the Montessori school. Am hoping and much appreciate for comment from anyone about this school.

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  18. Hi, I’ve sent my kid to British Montessori in Ampang.
    From what I can gather you need to call Datin Zara directly and go to see the school for yourself. They’re not so commercially inclined hence no web site but there is a FB page. Hmmm…. fees are described as cheap for international and expensive for local. But the payment method is quite manageable.

    I think the most interesting thing is they offer classes from 8:30-2:30pm all year round .Meaning there are no terms fees or breaks!! So basically when other kids are home creating havoc mine is still busy having classes 🙂
    Registration is one off Rm1K and then there are annual fees of RM2,500 and the monthly I pay now is RM750 which means I can leave my kid there until 2:30pm but before it was RM600 until 12 noon. There is also no fee deposit and you can switch up and down on the hours.

    Teachers are subject based so are the classrooms, kids rotate in groups of between 5-8 every 40 mins. Fees include everything except uniforms I think.

    Its nice and homely. Its clean and comfortable. The educational level is very high at the end with a warning that things start off slowly… Basically they are educators who co-parent with you 🙂 my kid, all I have to say… If you don’t behave tomorrow you’re not going to school. Haha.. it works every time. Can you imagine that?! Anyway hope that was helpful. Good luck.

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  19. Hai, I am involved in opening a Montessori pre-school@ daycare in Titiwangsa. It is for children age 3-6 yrs old. The timing should be 9am to 1pm. The daycare will open until 7pm from Mon to Friday with after school activities as well. Fees will be reasonable. It will be opening for January 2014. Will update you guys soon, thanks:)

    Like

  20. Hi there, Shen-Li, all:
    Can anyone offer a perspective on Eton House (other than the eye-popping fees!)
    We were impressed with the facilities and the people we met but read on Mrs. Top Monkey’s excellent blog that they’ve had issues with the administration and teacher turnover.
    Thanks!

    Like

  21. Hi Shen-ri,
    First of all, thank you for sharing your research on the pre-schools.
    I’ve just moved into KL and in the middle of scouting schools for my 4 year old son. I plan to visit two schools now, Brighton School house and My little home. I read your comment on My little home, thanks. Do you happen to hear anything about Brighton School house?

    Like

  22. Thanks for your comment anyways, Shen-Li. My son and I went to see the place and quite liked it. Today was his first day of this school…it seems like going fine so far. Although it may have some up and down, I hope he can get used to new friends and teachers. Thanks once again for your blog and let me check this up once in a while!

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  23. Hai all,

    The school location is now in Puchong from 4 to 6 years old. It will be called The Mary Astell School which is based on International Preschool Curriculum (IPC). The school is undergoing renovation. More updates soon, thank you.

    Like

  24. Hi Shen-Li, thanks for the fantastic overview! The post is from a while ago, it looks like you’re still homeschooling? I really like the look of Smart Mandarin Kids – although from their website I am not sure they have outdoor facilities, that would be really important to me. I like how Brighton Schoolhouse has a wading pool outside, for example. I was wondering if you know anything about the Kinderland chain of nurseries? Are they good?

    Like

    1. Hi Chen En – Smart Mandarin is in a shop lot so there is no outdoor. Unfortunately, that is the situation with a lot of pre-schools.

      My eldest son attended Kinderland but that was quite a number of years ago so I am not sure if it would be relevant for me to comment now. I have not kept touch with the school and do not know what it is like now. I know they have a few branches in Malaysia but I have never seen the other branches either.

      Like

  25. Hi SL,

    The Eton house site speaks about a new primary school division that goes upto Grade 6. Could you give me a more insight into how their primary division is ??

    Like

  26. Hello Shen-Li,

    thank you for so much input, this is truly a great source for parents and grandparents.

    Currently, I am looking for a nursery placement with my daughter for her son. He is slow talking and seems not to be very focused. Sweet as cotton candy but sometimes very mischevious and tends to get into things he should not.

    We have been to see a few places. We are thinking more about Montessori based learning. Looked at International on near the petrol station in Ampang, but the place seemed a bit cramped.

    We went to treetops and the fees for half a day were no less than RM16K. About 6 to 8 little ones per teacher.

    For the time frame, we felt the fees didn’t match.

    Right now we are on pay and play a trial at British Montessori who you have listed as being in Taman Tun Abdul Razak. We went there to discover they had moved to No. 6, Jalan 1, Taman Tun Abdul Razak. Ampang.

    For half day their fees are RM12K per year. We will see how it goes.

    Thanks again for the info.
    Barbara Shahariman

    Like

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for the correction. I’m afraid this article is very old and has not been updated in quite a while. Both of my kids are now well out of preschool. I wish you the very best for your grandson and hope that British Montessori works out for him.

      Best regards,
      Shen-Li.

      Like

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