Principal Muhamad Hafizi Mihzan, or more fondly known as Ustaz Muhamad, was the special guest on the eighth episode of our #GOGENIUS Program on Bernama Radio. Currently the principal of Sekolah Tinta, he used to be the Principal of Islamic Education in Genius Aulad. He shared that Sekolah Tinta is in its 2nd year of operation, and as Malaysia’s first STEM-based primary school that utilizes KSSR as its main curriculum, it is the continuity that Genius Aulad students can look forward to after graduating from their preschool stage. The following is an extract of his episode:
Is it the responsibility of preschool teachers to ensure that children are ready to enter primary school?
When we speak of readiness, I believe that it is a collective effort of both educators and parents. Throughout preschool, there are four basic areas of development that we help the children to develop that will help them adapt to primary school: socio-emotional, cognitive, physical and communication. All these basic things are not something that children can learn perfectly in simply one place and time. These developments take place depending on the condition of the environment that they are in and how they view them. I believe that the environment in preschool and primary are vastly different, and therefore parents should also contribute and help out in the development of these four different areas. Looking at Genius Aulad’s “Lessons Beyond Classroom!” tagline, it means that learning does not only take place within the classroom walls; we must make use of any learning space available to provide new experiences to our children. If you ask me, learning space is everywhere and life is a school. Therefore, parents can play a role beyond preschool, and teachers can play their part in preschool.
Will what children learn in preschool contribute to how they adapt to primary school?
The name itself, PRESCHOOL, would imply that it is a starter programme that will prepare them for a formal learning environment. It is at this stage that they will learn things that will ease them through the process of adapting to primary school, such as self-management skills, character building, basic academic knowledge and so on. Preschool is a great platform to nurture a child’s mood and general outlook towards their years of formal education.
What are some of the skills that parents should instill in children to prepare them for primary school?
At Sekolah Tinta, how do you manage the first graders?
During Orientation Week, we would establish transition programmes that would help our first graders to get used to their new school environment. Typically, during the first month or so, we can still see their “preschool” behavior. The approach that we would practice in this period would be incorporated with playful elements. For example, one of the biggest differences between preschool and primary school is Play Time. That’s why, we have that in Sekolah Tinta as well (other than their actual recess time or physical education lessons), to provide them with a mood-booster that will make them feel more excited about going to school. Besides that, through our STEM-based approaches, we are honing their natural creativity and playful curiosity in a way that would keep them interested in their academics. We also practice regular recognition of their progress and achievements in school, by having Student of the Week, to show the students that we are grateful for their hard work and effort.
For more of Ustaz Muhamad’s insightful take on a child’s life after preschool, give our eighth episode of #GOGENIUS on Bernama Radio a listen! Do be sure to catch the next episode as well, as we’ve got a lot more things to share that parents might find useful in handling their child’s preschool experience.