Seeing how some mummies have been asking about this, I thought I would just do a post on schools and playgroups. Monthly fees for preschools can range from RM300 at a local kindy to RM4000++ at one of the posher (read: more expats) schools. Personally, I didn't see why I should enrol Connor at a school simply because there were a lot of expat kids. It's not like he doesn't get to see expats.. there's one at home every day.
What I did go for was a mix of cultures. The school he goes to has a mix of local and expat kids... they have a very cute little German boy who cried and cried non-stop on his first day there. We happened to be there checking out the school then and I felt so sorry for him because all he spoke was toddler German and could not understand the English-speaking staff who were trying to comfort him. I dropped by again 2 weeks later and he'd adjusted to school by then.
Connor seems to enjoy school. When we're approaching school, he'll bounce up and down in his car seat and get really excited. Then when I leave him, he'll whine, "Mummyyyyy!" But the teachers tell me I'm forgotten in 5 min time. When he returned to school after a week off for CNY, he ran to one of his teachers and gave her a big hug. That was very reassuring for me, a sign that he finds security in his teachers.
I've got here a list of schools for your consideration so do check out their websites and call them up.
The Children's House
Very popular with expats and the upper class of KL. Pricey though and way out of my budget for Connor. They have several schools in the Klang Valley - Bangsar, TTDI, Ampang Hilir.
Ouch. Price also out of our budget. Another school that's popular with expats and the socialite mums group.
Children's Discovery House
Aiyo. Another big budget school. Apparently started by teachers who left The Children's House. No wonder la name is same-same!
If I'm not mistaken, this school started out as an English language school. They now have programmes for children as well. I remember talking with the little boy who was cast alongside Connor in a tv commercial. "How old are you?" "I'm three years old." "Do you go to school?" "Yes." "Wow... that's good! Which school do you go to?" "Lorna Whiston." Wah. Minutes later, his mummy swanned in with a Tod's bag on her arm. Oh. Like dat hor. She was a very nice lady though and he was a lovely, well-brought up boy.
Okay, now that we're done with the big budget schools, here are some more budget friendly ones.
This is a private school that also has primary and secondary schools.
Located in a quiet cul-de-sac in Sri Hartamas. They have large grounds for the children to play in.
A local franchise. My friend's son goes to Kinderland and he seems happy enough there. They have locations all over the Klang Valley so you can pick one that's close by.
One that I really liked but they only take in children from 2.5 years onwards and I simply could not tahan anymore, having run out of ideas and energy to entertain my 2yo. They are in Damansara Heights. I'm thinking of switching Connor there next year.
Located in Bangsar. It's housed in a double storey linked house with a garden and play equipment.
My Montessori School
One highly recommended by many mothers I've met. They are housed in 2 connecting terrace houses in Bangsar, just next to BV I. They don't have a website as they operate by word of mouth. I found out about them when I was chatting with a mum at a playgroup and she said her son was there. What I don't like about them is the location (right at the intersection of a rather busy street) and the fact that there are no stairgates in the school building despite the presence of many stairs. Unfortunately I've lost the contact number of the school but you can't miss it from BV I. If you are standing at the Starbucks entrance, you can see a pre-school opposite the HSBC. That's them.
As for playgroups, we used to attend the Garden International School playgroup. I haven't been there for months now so I have no idea if it's still running.
Another playgroup we used to attend was the ibu playgroup at Bangsar Shopping Complex's Jungle Gym. But ibuy has recently reopened after all the legal wrangling they had to endure in 2010 and I think that playgroup has moved back to their HQ in Sri Hartamas. Many expat mums have highly recommended joining ibu. You get to meet a lot of parents and have a chance to socialise with someone other than your toddler. Check out their website here.
The various expat women's associations in Kuala Lumpur have playgroups organised at their premises as well. I know that Assoc of British Women have a playgroup, I was informed by a friend that I needn't be a ABWM member, just pay RM10 each time I turn up but we haven't been yet since Connor's started playschool.
Hope the links help you mummies out there!