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THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

special

Starting
the school
journey

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

2 bright kids

Best school fit


By THERESA BELLE

WHAT makes a good school great? Years of


history and our own schooling experiences
would perhaps contribute to the idea that
academic performance is the sole indicator
of excellence.
However, many schools have moved
further away from this one-track measure of
success. Parents too are increasingly
recognising holistic education, as more and
more actively seek options outside
traditional public schooling when choosing
the best school for their children.
Parents and schools also want to see
students graduate as physically, emotionally
and socially stable beings ready to contribute
not only to their own secure future, but also
to society and the world at large.
As a result, many are looking to enrol their
children in private and international schools,
which offer the right tools to produce more
than a paper qualification.
The ideal school-teacher-parent
cooperation in such schools involves timely
feedback and concerted efforts to solve

students challenges, execute lesson plans


with expected results and keep track of
performance and achievements.
Sunway International School guidance
counsellors Sherry Wyse and Nathan Shier
share that while parents and older students
are often on the same page when it comes to
seeking a prestigious and recognised
programme or school, parents are usually
the ones with long term educational
pathways planned.
Students often only think of subject areas,
while parents help to give context for career
options in that subject.
The counsellors also highlight
geographical proximity as an important
aspect when choosing a school, as dealing
with homesickness or culture shock could
affect students performance.
That is why sending your children to
boarding school, for example, is not a
decision to be made lightly.

Steps to the right choice


PRIVATE and international schools that
offer holistic education are no longer
limited to the Greater Kuala Lumpur area
there are various institutions around
Malaysia that now offer quality education at
reasonable fees, each bringing a unique
flavour to the international smorgasbord.
How, then, can parents choose the best
school for their childrens education among
all these?

> SEE PAGE 6

Step 1: Identify your childrens needs.


While younger children may not yet have
a clear path set out for them, older ones
may have already developed interests that
they wish to pursue as a career.
Younger ones therefore need to be
equipped with the basics, including literacy
and numeracy, while having sufficient time
for play and exploration to feed their
curiousity and suit their energy levels.
As your children grow, their needs and
interests evolve and you may have to look
for schools with more appropriate
curriculum, subjects and co-curricular
programmes. Some schools even have
special programmes for science, arts or
sports.
Step 2: Research to find the best fit.
As a parent, you would have an idea of
the type of education you want your
children to have. Therefore, the curriculum
applied at the school should suit the longterm plan for further education and career
options.
For example, if the plan is for them to
attend a British university, your children
would ideally be in a British system school
assessed by IGCSE and A-Levels
examinations.
Australian, American, Canadian and
Indian curricula are also offered at
international schools, in addition to the
globally recognised International
Baccalaureate (IB) programme.
The IB programme has been gaining
traction in the country, with schools such as
UCSI International School offering
programmes across all levels. Principal
Alexandre Trespach Nenes believes parents
should have realistic expectations of their
childs future and match them with what
the school has to offer.
Parents also know their childrens skills,
abilities, personalities, strengths and
weaknesses, he says, all of which play a
role in determining the best fit for a child.

There are several types of resources you


can utilise in your research, including
online portals such as schooladvisor.my and
educationdestinationmalaysia.com, which
offer comprehensive information, reviews
and advice from others in the community.
Step 3: Speak to a representative.
Meet with a school representative or
even better, the principal to have an open
and honest discussion on your childs
prospective future at their institution. Bring
your questions and concerns forward as the
answers will not only provide essential
information, but also allow you to gauge the
staffs passion and dedication to education.
A face-to-face session is best so you can
perform a reconnaissance of the school at
the same time. Observe and speak to the
pupils as they are the best indicators of the
schools conditions if they seem happy
there, yours could be too.
Step 4: Get testimonials and opinions.
Look for tangible indicators of
performance, such as programme
accreditation, staff qualifications and past
average scores, but also consider other
aspects to understand the bigger picture.
Are teachers able to relate with students
to bring out the best in them? How are they
assessed; is appropriate emphasis placed on
individual abilities and performance? Are
classrooms inclusive, safe spaces? How do
the students get along with each other?
Speaking to other parents or alumni
members can help provide insight that can
only come with experience.

Step 5: Child-test.
Once you have narrowed your choices
down, bring your child in to see how they
find their potential school. Involvement at
early stages is important to make children
feel included in the decision-making
process as opposed to feeling helpless or
stuck with their parents choices. More
importantly, you will have a preview of
how they will fit into the new environment.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

WHEN Epsom College UK alumnus


Dr John Robertson visited Epsom
College in Malaysia (Epsom) in
March, he was delighted by how
the school had not only branched
out, but also improved in leaps and
bounds to provide an unparalleled
academic experience to its
students.
Reminiscing on his time in
Epsom College in the 1950s,
Dr Robertson shares that Epsom
was founded by those in medical
professions in keeping with the
tradition of benevolent colleges of
the time.
Due to this, the standards of
science education and facilities
at Epsom College were more
advanced than ordinary public
school offerings.
At least a quarter of the boys
were destined for the medical
profession and an entire sixth form
was devoted to getting them into
medical school, says Dr Robertson.
The college was an all-boys
English public school, which at the
time meant rough conditions and
strict boarding regimes.
While the students were fed,
clothed and kept fit and healthy,
the traditional methods of
education at that time made
learning and boarding a tougher
experience for the boys.
They braved cold winters,
had limited personal possessions
and created music themselves to
make up for the lack of records
or television.
Meals served the sole purpose
of nourishment and only a few
students could afford treats from

bright kids 3

Moving with the times

The warm and welcoming


atmosphere of Epsom College
in Malaysia has helped Year 9
student Teresa Ooi become
confident.

One of Year 5 student Alexander Leaws (left) favourite aspects about


studying in Epsom is the hardworking, selfless and compassionate staff.

the tuck shop.


Besides science, sports and
music were also areas of focus;
pupils were required to participate
in sports every day except Sunday,
and mid-morning breaks were
often filled with physical training
exercises.
Despite those challenges, Dr
Robertson is grateful to Epsom for
his head start in the field of
medicine.

Comparing the college he knew


to the Epsom colleges today, he
says, What I see now is an
environment that combines high
academic standards with a more
compassionate, caring and
uplifting pastoral environment.
Dr Robertsons recollection
paints a rather different picture
from todays Epsom experience.
Strict regimes are replaced with
individualised schedules based on

students preferences and


strengths. Boarding facilities today
prioritise comfort and sanitation.
Year 5 student Alexander Leaw
says specialised facilities such as
the ICT room and swimming pool
offer various opportunities for
learning.
One of his favourite aspects
of schooling in Epsom is the
staff, whom Leaw describes
as hardworking, selfless and
compassionate.
They guide you patiently when
you dont understand a certain
piece of work, whether it involves
physical movement or mental
abilities, he says.

These facilities and staff pave


the way for holistic education
at Epsom, while providing
affirmation and support to
encourage students to play by
their passion and strengths.
At the same time, they are
exposed to new activities and
experiences to allow them to
explore and widen their
worldview.
Teresa Ooi from Year 9 shares
that the warm and welcoming
atmosphere has allowed her to
open up and be herself.
The countless opportunities we
enjoy, which range from rugby
tournaments to global debating
contests, have transformed me into
a confident student, she says.
While Epsom has experienced
many changes, several timeless
aspects remain. For example, the
school still prides itself in sports
and places an importance on
physical activities while also
championing quality academia.
I have wondered what our
school would be like in 50 years
ever since we buried a time
capsule here in March, says Ooi.
However it may be, I believe
the one thing that will remain
unchanged is the uniting
community spirit of Epsom.

n For more information, visit


www.epsomcollege.edu.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

4 bright kids

Smart path to development


Abd Khabir Mohd Ali with
his daughter Qurratul
Ain Nazeeha from Smart
Reader Kids Sentul East.

PRESCHOOL education is crucial


for the positive development of a
childs social and emotional
skills.
The skills and knowledge
that a child receives during
preschool may have an impact
on how well he or she performs
academically once he or she
begins formal schooling.
Smart Reader Worldwide, the
leading preschool education
provider in Malaysia, recognises
that young minds are very
malleable.
The Smart Reader Kids
programme uses a fun and
creative syllabus to teach
students. Students develop an
interest to learn because they
enjoy the creative, fun and
simple methods used in the
programme.
The structured syllabus allows
children to learn according to
their ability. In addition,
teaching materials
can be customised to suit
the different needs and levels
of language proficiency of
students.
Noraqilah Md Noor, mother of
seven-year-old Ainul Mardhiah
and five-year-old Raudhatul
Jannah, enrolled her children in
Smart Reader Kids Putra Point
Nilai after hearing about Smart
Reader Worldwides reputation
for producing quality early
childhood education
programmes.
Im proud to see both my
children progressing so well.
I want them to gain sufficient
skills and knowledge before
entering primary school,
she says.
In just a few months,
Noraqilah observed significant
improvement in her children.
Both can read and write well in
English and Bahasa Malaysia.
Abd Khabir Mohd Ali, father
of six-year-old Qurratul Ain
Nazeeha from Smart Reader
Kids Sentul East, also noticed
that his child has made a lot of
progress within several months
of being in the programme.

Abd Khabir says, I am really


impressed with my daughters
ability to communicate clearly,
write properly and count
accurately.
The programme has also
boosted my childs confidence.
She used to be very shy but has
now become friendlier and
more outspoken.
In hope of providing their
child with an environment that
is conducive to learning, Ladin
Anak Anyang and Endon Anak
Pahang chose to send their sixyear-old daughter Felzwein
Jezziea Anak Ladin to Smart
Reader Kids Taman Impian
Ehsan, Balakong.
As parents, we want our
child to have a good education
foundation before entering
Year 1.
We chose Smart Reader Kids
because of its proven track
record and the systematic way
classes are conducted at the
centre, says Endon.
Apart from better learning
outcomes, Endon has also found
her daughter to be more
inquisitive, independent and
confident.
Felzwein has learnt to make
many new friends of different
races and is always excited to go
to school.
For children to succeed in the
future, it is important that they
have a strong foundation.
At Smart Reader Worldwide,
extensive research is constantly
conducted to ensure students
are educated using top-notch
methods.
The educational programmes
offered by Smart Reader
Worldwide are Smart Reader
Kids, Smart Reader Kids Islamic,
Smart Reader Kids Mandarin
Medium, Smart Reader Kids
Intensive English Programme
and Smart Reader Kids++
franchise programmes.

n For more information, call


03-6279 5555 or the SMARTLine
at 1300 885 555 or visit
www.smartreader.edu.my

Ainul Mardhiah (right) and Raudhatul Jannah from Smart Reader Kids
Putra Point Nilai are progressing well in their studies.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

HAVING spent the last 15 years


at a top girls school in the United
Kingdom, it was finally time for
a new challenge.
The enthusiasm of the
Beaconhouse Regional Office for
its new project Beaconhouse
Newlands International School
was enough to lure me to Malaysia.
The Beaconhouse School System
is well known across the globe as
it has schools in nine countries,
including one very close to my
hometown in the UK.
After 40 years, it has seen
thousands of students pass through
the hands of dedicated teachers
who helped open doors to new
opportunities.
Students who complete their
education with Beaconhouse go
on to be leaders in their field.
Its alumni attribute their
confidence to the nurturing and
forward-thinking education of
Beaconhouse.
It gave them a passion to
continue learning and acquiring
new skills in higher educational
establishments across the world.
The challenge of being in a
new country and experiencing a
different culture was exciting.
School has been in session
throughout this academic year
with numbers growing daily.
We watched the ground being
dug up and walls becoming a
reality. The campus quickly took
shape and we were able to
showcase some of the areas to
parents at our Open Day.
The excitement of staff, children

bright kids 5

Stirring a passion to learn

Students benefit from participating


in sporting events.

Students at Beaconhouse Newlands International School are proud to be part


of and represent its multicultural and multitalented students community.

and parents at the building site


was uplifting and gave the
atmosphere a vibrant, optimistic
and confident feel.
We are very much concerned
with the development of childrens
brain and how they can learn best.
Everything we do allows
children to explore, investigate and
assimilate new knowledge, and

develop a passion for growth and


a desire to know more.
Beaconhouse embraces children
who ask questions and encourage
them to think outside the box.
Students are taught how to use
their knowledge and take risks
when solving a problem, and not
to be afraid of getting things wrong
the first time.

They enjoy thinking and


interacting with peers, teachers
and other professionals in different
fields.
The students are bright,
confident and excited by the
prospect of coming to school. We
have achieved so much this year.
There is a strong House system
at Beaconhouse and students
benefit from the excellent pastoral
care and from participating in
competitions such as the recent
annual Sports Day, where every
child participated in an event.
As a young school, we have
developed a real identity students
are proud to be part of and

represent Beaconhouse Newlands


International School, be it in
English prose competitions, poetry
performances, mathematics
challenges, sports competitions,
dance, robotics or public speaking.
They give their best and have
been rewarded with success both
in and out of school. I have too
many proud moments to list but
they include hearing an
adjudicator announce a
Beaconhouse Newlands Year 10
student the joint winner of a
poetry slam competition and
seeing the netball team win their
first match after only 10 days of
training.
Not everyone can be a winner,
but we give students the tools to
develop strengths in their chosen
field to give their best.
Everything we do makes us
stronger and gives us the strength
to have another go. The dedication
of the staff and students has been
paramount in making every day
this year a rewarding and exciting
experience.
With the new campus opening in
September, there are bigger and
better things on the horizon to look
out for. By Nicki Coombs
Nicki Coombs is Beaconhouse
Newlands International School
principal.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

6 bright kids

IF your child is scratching his or


her head excessively, it might be
due to head lice, a common issue
among schoolchildren.
Lice are tiny, wingless insects
that can live in human hair and
feed on tiny amounts of blood from
the scalp.
Contrary to common belief, they
cannot jump or fly, so they need
close head-to-head contact to be
able to transfer from one head to
another.
Lice usually dwell close to the
scalp, at the bottom of the neck and
behind the ears.
The eggs, called nits, are very
small (about the size of a knot in a
thread), are attached firmly to the
hair shaft and can remain glued to
hairs long after the successful
elimination of the adult creatures.
A head lice infestation has
nothing to do with poor hygiene.
It can affect all types of hair,
regardless of the length and its
condition.
Head lice in your childs hair are
not dangerous but their infestation
is highly contagious.
A louse bite can cause your
childs scalp to itch and become
inflamed.
To confirm an active infestation,
live lice have to be detected on the
scalp or hair. Using a fine-toothed
head lice comb with a tooth
spacing of 0.2-0.3mm, the
otherwise hard-to-spot lice and
nits can be easily detected.
This method of detection
combing can trap even the smallest
of lice and can be done with wet or

Safe and natural solution


Vitamode Delica Hair Wash
comes with a free magnifier
lens and fine-toothed metal
comb to facilitate lice
infestation treatment.

dry hair.
Common products for getting
rid of head lice and their nits are
easily available at pharmacies
or clinics.
Non-toxic remedies such as
dimethicone are available but their
efficacy has been reported to be
unsatisfying.
When choosing a personal care
product, its effectiveness and
naturalness should be a priority.

Unlike harsh industrial


chemicals, Vitamode Delices
natural hair-wash is formulated to
help kill hair lice and control nits
infestation among children.
Stemona root extract in
Vitamode Delice prevents eggs
from hatching, thus interrupting
the life cycle of hair lice.
Lemon peel oil powder in
the product helps to soothe
and moisturise irritated or

sensitive scalp.
Vitamode Delice is free of toxic
pesticides, malathion (maldison)
and pyrethroids such as
permethrin, which have been
linked in various studies to birth
defects, cancer, immune system
suppression, hormonal disruption,
reproductive problems and genetic
damage.
It is effective at first use (based
on the bioefficacy test performed

by the Department of Medical


Science, Ministry of Public Health,
Thailand) and is suitable for all
ages.
To use, lather Vitamode Delice
hair-wash on wet hair and
massage lightly until completely
soaked. Cover hair with shower
cap and leave it on for 10 minutes.
Then, rinse hair with water.
To remove dead lice and nits, use
Vitamode Delice fine-toothed metal
lice comb, which is more effective
compared to common plastic
combs.
Nits are easily removed by
combing while the hair is slightly
damp. You may need a magnifying
glass and bright light.
Comb the entire head from the
scalp to the tip of the hair at least
twice and rinse out the comb often
under running hot water as you
go. You may use Vitamode Delice
Hair Wash three to five times
weekly to prevent recurrence.
To facilitate the treatment of lice
infestation, a free magnifier lens
and fine-toothed metal comb are
provided with Vitamode Delice
Hair Wash.
This article is brought to you by
Vitamode.

n For more information,


call 1300 800 228 or visit
www.medispec.com.my

Breeding success
> FROM PAGE 2

Enhanced cooperation and


mutual understanding are
trademarks of 21st century
schools, parents and students.
Though education has greatly
evolved in this sense, there are
also many aspects of traditional
education that remain in todays
schools use of tools and modes
of assessment, for instance, are
merely a couple that have been
improved and updated over
the years.
Principal of UCSI International
School Alexandre Trespach
Nenes points out that assessment
has come a long way from being
a standardised test for every
student.
It is very common today
to see students engaging in
projects, carrying out research in
collaborative environments and
integrating technology with their
subjects, he says, explaining
that criteria or norm-based
assessments are more effective
than simply calculating an
average score against other
students.
Besides that, the use of
technology as teaching and
learning tools in schools is

viewed by many as the future


of education.
Students today have instant
access to vast amounts of
information as technology is
used to motivate them as well as
facilitate ongoing assessment
and feedback, says John Mackle,
principal of Sunway
International School.
As a result, they have a much
more global perspective and
relate to the idea of being a
global citizen.
This philosphy has become the
new benchmark for quality
education to nurture students
who not only excel in the
classroom, but also out in the
real world.
For this to happen, children
have to be placed in an
environment where they can
mature emotionally and socially,
deepen personal values and
demonstrate social responsibility
and global awareness.
Mackle shares the words of a
parent, which sums up this
notion nicely: It is alright if my
son does not get an A in every
subject as long as he gets an A
in life.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

WITH its first original musical


production, Kristella the Musical,
R.E.A.L Schools, Suria campus,
Cheras, has taken the diverse
creative talents of its students and
faculty to another level.
The schools Hall of Character
was furnished and transformed
into the magical world of Kristella
for the show.
The two-hour musical kept
audiences thoroughly entertained
and engaged with wonderful
performances, impressive visuals
and catchy tunes.
Each performers passion
and dedication was apparent,
particularly during the dance
numbers.
Kristella the Musical marks a
milestone achievement for the
school as not only did the event
coincide with the Suria campus
30th anniversary, it was also made
special by the fact that everything
about the musical, from script to
song, was originally written and
produced by Suria Production,
the schools in-house team of
passionate teachers, who are also
talented directors, musicians,
artists and designers.
The students have benefited
greatly from the professional
guidance of their mentors, who
tirelessly gave their best to the
schools creative endeavours.
Kristella the Musical is a story of
the titular characters journey of
self-discovery while seeking love.
She starts out as an orphan who
meets a new friend and finds
herself magically transported to a

bright kids 7

Its first original musical production, Kristella the Musical was performed by the students and staff of R.E.A.L
School, Suria campus, Cheras.

Spotlight on talents
city of glamour and fashion, where
she learns the importance of
following her dreams and lessons
in friendship, honour and humility.
The months leading up to the
event required perseverance, focus
and sacrifice. Considering the
sheer scale of the musical and the
amount of effort required to
produce each component, the
cast and crew deserve special
attention and praise.
Central to this massive

undertaking was a team of creative


and capable individuals made up
of directors, producers, designers,
artists, composers, scriptwriters
and choreographers, whose
respective areas of expertise
brought the musical to life.
Meanwhile, the cast comprised
students from various levels of
Suria Campus private and
international schools, who
collaborated to play a myriad of
memorable characters on stage.

There was also a Fashion


Runway Show segment that
took centre stage during the
intermission of the musical, where
young, budding models showcased
a range of original student designs
that were exclusively crafted
in-house courtesy of the schools
unique and innovative Art &
Design programme.
In her programme notes, Lee
Seow Ping, executive producer of
the play and senior principal and

business manager of R.E.A.L


Schools, Suria Campus, Cheras,
said, I am especially proud of our
students and teachers who have
used every triumph and challenge
on this journey to reach their
better selves. Kristella the Musical
is a labour of love, born from the
beautiful efforts of individuals who
had the courage to dream big, but
more importantly, who had the
enthusiasm and perseverance to
make those dreams a reality.
This latest musical offering
serves as R.E.A.L Schools
testament to the practice and
philosophy of providing education
that goes beyond mere academic
results.
For the past 30 years, this has
been what R.E.A.L education is all
about nurturing students with
outstanding character values,
collaborative, critical-thinking,
communication and social skills as
well as innovative creativity.
The performing arts, along with
a myriad of other extracurricular
activities and major school events,
each plays a vital and practical role
in fulfilling R.E.A.Ls mission to
transform lives.
R.E.A.L School will be having its
Open Day on Aug 8 at all three
campuses in Cheras, Shah Alam
and Johor Baru.

n For more information, call


03-9021 3601 (Suria Campus,
Cheras), 03-7842 3228 (Cahaya
Campus, Shah Alam) or 07-386
4468 (Cahaya Campus, Johor) or
visit www.realschools.edu.my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

8 bright kids

Grooming contemporary leaders


EDUCATION has to be flexible and
change according to the needs of a
society.
According to education expert
Dr Jackie Gerstein, the big shift in
21st century education involves a
few key areas.
Firstly, teachers are no longer
the only authority and expert in
delivering knowledge to students.
Instead, they are becoming a
coach, facilitator, mentor and
resource who guide students along
in their pursuit of knowledge.
Students are not passive learners
who only learn whatever they
can from their teacher. On the
contrary, they have now taken a
more central role to initiate
independent learning and share
knowledge with their peers.
In contrast to the traditional
educational system that implies
one size fits all, education today
must be personalised, interactive
and multi-sourced to engage
students who possess different
learning styles in the classroom.
Moreover, a combined
summative and formative
approach to assessment better
monitors teaching and learning

remembering and understanding


information are not sufficient.
The 21st century requires skills
involving application, analysis,
evaluation and creation.
Engaged learning Learners at
Rafflesia are challenged to show
their know-how of important and
challenging topics; telling and
showing are not sufficient.
The 21st century requires skills
involving problem-solving, task
definition, solution development
and collaboration.
Rafflesia classrooms are designed to encourage students to brainstorm and
discuss ideas creatively.

patterns and trends.


Offering international and
national curricula respectively,
Rafflesia International & Private
Schools educate learners by
emphasising traditional values
in the context of a global vision.
Rafflesias approach to 21st
century or digital-age teaching and
learning, as well as building on the
work of the Partnership for 21st
Century Learning, can be captured

in a practical acronym HEAT.


HEAT represents the elements to
be applied by any learner within
any learning environment.
In simple terms, it is the job of
Rafflesias teachers to turn on the
HEAT and encourage Rafflesias
learners to capture these elements:
Higher-order thinking
Learners at Rafflesia are
challenged to operate at
higher levels of thinking; simply

Authentic connections
Learners at Rafflesia are
challenged to reflect on what they
might do with real-life issues,
themes and problems within real
contexts.
The 21st century requires
learners who can make direct links
between the classroom and the
world outside, resulting in direct
impact and application.
Technology use Learners at
Rafflesia are challenged to use
technology in a seamless fashion
to promote learning; an absence

of technology, or technology
used only by the teacher, is not
sufficient.
The 21st century requires
student-directed technology in the
classroom or a one-to-one mobile
learning device initiative, which
promotes and enhances the visual,
audio and kinaesthetic means of
complementary learning.
This contemporary approach
to learning expands, challenges
and stretches the students mind,
encouraging them to be creative,
think for themselves, deliberate
collaboratively and communicate
effectively.
Rafflesia International & Private
Schools welcome families to visit
the campuses in 16 Sierra Puchong
and Kajang 2.
Students who enrol in Rafflesia
International School for the
September 2015 or January 2016
intake before Aug 28 are eligible
for 50% off the registration fee.
Terms and conditions apply.

n For more information,


call03-8953 9088 or 03-8741 7099
or visit www.rafflesia.edu.my

Interactive approach
MORRIS Allen English employs
an interactive structure that
not only strengthens students
English skills, but also boosts
their confidence and motivation
to learn.
With a teaching approach that
adopts an interactive multisensory system, students are
actively engaged in speaking,
listening, reading and writing
activities.
There are a number of factors
that contribute to the success
of the Morris Allen English
enrichment programmes.
Teachers are carefully
selected native English speakers
who have gained recognised
teaching qualifications and are
backed by years of teaching
experience in their home
countries.
The Morris Allen English
interactive learning system
focuses on four major areas of
English language development
listening, speaking, reading and
writing.
Morris Allen English
recognises that speaking and
listening are keys to language
learning. Conversing with native
speakers exposes students to
good models of English and
provides more opportunities
for good English language
development.
The teachers provide a
platform for students to explore
the language and expand their
vocabulary in a secure,
nurturing environment.
There is also a listening
comprehension component
included in all lessons. During
these sessions, students listen
and respond to instructions
and questions.
This often involves a fun
activity such as colouring, but
the importance of listening to

Morris Allen English uses an


interactive approach to teaching.

instructions followed by the


correct action is the focus of
this component.
Reading is one of the most
important ways for children to
enrich their learning of English.
When children read, they are
exposed to important English
grammar patterns. Sharing what
they have read also helps them
develop a greater understanding
of the reading material.
Parents are encouraged to
share stories and sit with their
children when reading.
In the classroom, this
approach of interacting with
what a person reads plays a
crucial role in developing a
better understanding of English.
This approach nurtures an
enjoyment of books and makes
reading a pleasant experience.
Morris Allen English accepts
students from the age of four
to 17 and builds them into
individuals with a strong
command of the English
language.

n For more information, call


03-7726 7656 (Centrepoint) or
03-5611 9296 (Empire Gallery)
or visit www.morrisallenmalaysia.com

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

THE early years are most


important in shaping a
childs holistic development.
Neurological research has shown
that early childhood interventions
can have a lasting effect on a
childs social and cognitive abilities
later in life.
Educators from all over the
world have thus recognised the
need for a holistic approach to
preschool education.
Odyssey, the Global Preschool is
one of the preschools in Malaysia
that recognises the need to provide
quality and innovative curriculum
to children.
Inspired by global teaching
pedagogies from the United States,
United Kingdom as well as the
Reggio Emilia educational practices
in Northern Italy, Odyssey has
incorporated the best of these
curricula into its programme since
it was established in Singapore in
2008.
Odyssey holds the belief
that children are capable of
independent learning and have a
natural desire to learn.

Natural teacher
The Reggio Emilia Approach is
an innovative approach to early
childhood education that focuses
on the educational importance of

bright kids 9

Inspiring learning spaces


community and free enquiry as its
primary values.
One of the fundamental
principles under this child-centric
approach is an emphasis on the
environment as a teacher.
Here, the environment is seen
as a living space where children
are able to explore and learn
through social interactions and
experimentations.
Recognising the important
role that the environment plays in
the educative process, Odyssey
pays close attention to the
design and layout of its physical
environment.
The spatial design of the
environment is driven by the
schools commitment to creating
spaces that are not only functional,
aesthetically pleasing and
beautiful, but also grounded in
research and enduring educational
philosophies.

Redefining preschools
Odyssey @ Setia Eco Park is the
second Odyssey campus to be
introduced in Malaysia. The first,

Child nourishment
AS many parents can attest to,
picky eating in children is one
of the major challenges of
parenting.
Picky eaters do not seem to eat
much and their appetite may
vary daily. They may enjoy a
food one day but barely touch it
the next.
If your children barely touch
the food on their plate, try not to
make a big fuss about it. Meal
times should be fun for both you
and your children.
Giving your children a head
start of 30 minutes before a meal
gives them time to settle down
and get ready to eat. Minimise
distractions, keep toys away and
turn off the television.
As a parent, you have to be a
good role model. You cannot
expect your children to eat food
that you do not.
A balanced diet provides your
children with the nutrition
needed for healthy growth and
development.
Fussy eaters who consume a
limited assortment and amount
of food are less likely to get
adequate nutrients from their
diet. Poor nutritional status is
not only associated with growth
delays, but affects immune
functions too.
Fortunately, there are
supplements for children that
can help fill the nutrition gaps.
Different nutrients play different
roles in the body for combined
health benefits.
For example, vitamin C is
crucial for childrens general
health and immune support to
fight off illnesses. In addition, it
helps in the maintenance of
healthy connective tissues, skin,
bones and blood vessels.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in
promoting healthy eyes, skin
and immune functions, while
vitamin D enhances the

A balanced diet is important for


growing children.

absorption of calcium for the


development of strong bones
and teeth.
Vitamin B complex is essential
to support a healthy metabolic
system, energy production and
the formation of red blood cells.
Lysine is one of the primary
building blocks of protein that
supports the rapid growth and
development in childhood.
It also helps boost appetite
and promotes weight gain.
Lysine is an essential amino acid
that cannot be synthesised in the
body, thus, it has to be obtained
through food.
Inulin is a prebiotic beneficial
in promoting the growth of good
bacteria in the gut. A healthy
balance of intestinal flora
maintains a strong immune
system and protects the body
from diseases.
Therefore, a solid foundation
must be given to support
children at each stage of their
growth. This makes all the
difference in helping them reach
milestones in their learning and
exploration.
This article is brought to you
by VitaHealth.

n For more information, call


03-7729 3873.

Odyssey @ Macalister, opened in


Penang last July.
At 18,300sq ft (1,700sq m) and
80,000sq ft (7,432sq m)
respectively, both campuses are
surrounded by lush greenery that
creates an optimal setting for
integrating outdoor learning
experiences with an
understanding of nature.
Odyssey seeks to meet the
developmental needs of children
aged 18 months to six years
through a leading-edge curriculum
and programmes within a vibrant
learning community.
More than just a preschool that
prepares children for formal
schooling, Odyssey is envisioned
to be an educational hub where
children are encouraged to
discover independently and
develop their character, alongside
a curriculum built on international
early childhood educations best
practices.
The school has three campuses
in Singapore and two in Malaysia.

n For more information,


visit theodyssey.my

The Odyssey campuses have orchards and herb gardens, where students
can grow their own crops and get in touch with nature.

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

10 bright kids

Beyond traditional borders


EDUCATION that is academically
rigorous, deliberately
multicultural and concerned with
developing personal values that
include a commitment to
community service is an
invaluable resource for any and
all of us, said George Rupp, the
recently appointed chair for the
International Baccalaureate Board
of Governors, in a speech about
global education a few weeks ago.
UCSI International Schools are
committed to delivering rigorous
academic programmes in a
multicultural environment in
which excellence is the basis.
This excellence comes from a
combination of new teaching
methodologies based on
technology integration and digital
literacy with tried and tested
methods.
These methods are based on
principles such as Kolbs
Experiential Learning Theory and
approaches that allow students to
extend their knowledge beyond
classroom walls.

Identifying new needs


Students at UCSI International
Schools are encouraged to take
risks so that they are exposed to
new experiences as well as
become aware of the environment

School trips, such as this one to Beryls Chocolate Factory, expose students to
new experiences.

and others around them.


This leads them to engage in
social service and activities to give
back to the community, which
develops their confidence, raises
awareness and fosters initiative.
Engagement and handling
responsibilities give them the
advantage of being better prepared
to live and succeed in a world that
is increasingly competitive and
that needs global citizens who are
willing to use their time and
capabilities to benefit and support
others.
Another aspect of navigating a
globalised world is the ability to

use tools successfully in a


responsible manner.
Digital literacy is based on the
use of peoples knowledge, skills
and behaviours in a broad
range of digital devices such as
smartphones, tablets, laptops and
desktop computers, all of which
are seen as part of a major
network rather than just
computing devices.
At UCSI International Schools,
students find a safe, structured
environment to develop digital
literacy skills to produce quality
work and develop other relevant
skills.

UCSI International Schools students


are constantly engaged in practical
explorations of science.

Best of both worlds

A challenge faced by educators


nowadays is finding the balance
between inculcating academic and
practical skills.
A balanced timetable, continued
professional development and
visionary leadership can be the
keys to the delivery of a holistic
programme.
A holistic programme is one that
gives students the opportunity to
explore the virtual world by

connecting with others near and


far as well as express themselves
through social media.
In a holistic programme,
students learn how to produce
academic papers based on relevant
research and cite their sources in
a proper manner to guarantee
academic integrity.
Such a programme provides
time and space for collaborative
hands-on projects such as tending
to a garden, taking care of class
pets, working to help those in need
through local and global charities,
and offering support to their peers
by sharing various skills, including
in music, art, language and sports.
UCSI understands that in an
inter-connected global world, every
child should have the opportunity
to receive a high-quality
international education.
To provide such an international
education, it is necessary for
schools to keep a certain focus on
how the curriculum is built so
teachers and students are able to
experience a variety of methods
and tools that expose them to learn
not only the content of each
subject, but also skills that are
essential for life.

n For more information, visit


www.ucsiinternationalschool.edu.
my

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

bright kids 11

More effective
communicators
THE benefits of being able to speak and
write effectively are obvious better grades,
greater understanding and a broader
outlook in life.
The keys to mastering the English
language are a result-oriented, consistent
and systematic teaching methodology,
proven curriculum and a team of welltrained teachers.
However, there are barriers to overcome
before one can master good communication
skills. An inaccurate belief is that
communication skills can be learnt in
isolation, separate from language study.
Interested learners often enrol in English
language centres for courses in creative
writing or public speaking, hoping to
develop confidence in writing or speaking
without realising that what they really lack
is English language proficiency.
Communication skills and English
language proficiency must be tackled
together if effective communication in
English is to be realised.
Further barriers to mastering effective
communication in English are inaccurate
pronunciation and faulty intonation.
It is possible for speakers of other
languages to make a grammatically

correct statement in English but still be


incomprehensible to a native English
speaker because their pronunciation or
intonation or both are incorrect.
Therefore, it is necessary to address each
of these areas for development to become
an effective communicator.
The Cambridge English For Lifes
(CEFL) method of teaching is based on
a communicative approach to language
acquisition.
Classes are small and interactive so that
learning is an enjoyable experience.
This also gives teachers the opportunity to
address the needs of individual students in
their classes.
Students look forward to their classes at
CEFL not just because the classes are fun, but
also because they are introduced to a wide
range of literary and cultural knowledge
seldom encountered at school.
Generally, students who thrive at CEFL
also achieve better marks in their school
examinations.
CEFLs teachers are qualified individuals
who are trained using the CEFL method and
bring their enhanced skills into the
classroom.
They monitor the performance of their

Creating holistic learners


SINCE its inception more than 20 years ago,
Q-dees has grown into one of the leading
institutions in early childhood education
here in Malaysia.
Its programmes are acclaimed for being
fun and holistic, empowering children with
the foundation they need to exponentially
grow from.
Q-dees preschool programmes are
stringently benchmarked against global
standards.
They are specifically designed based on
innovative and dynamic research and
development spearheaded by the Q-dees
research and development centre.
As children have shorter attention spans,
Q-dees exclusive interactive multimedia and
materials are meticulously integrated to
ensure that children are constantly engaged.
Through stories, songs and dance,
interactions during lessons are amplified to
provide a unique educational experience.
Its language programmes are geared to
enable children to master English, Bahasa
Malaysia and Mandarin.
Taught thematically and phonetically,
lessons at Q-dees encourage the expansion
of vocabulary while fostering correct
contextual usage of the language.
Lessons at Q-dees make seemingly
complex mathematics concepts simple for
children to understand and enjoy learning.
Using its Hands-on Mind-on methodology
with Maths Board, children are given
opportunities to explore mathematical
concepts as they learn to count efficiently
and think logically.
Its science programme is designed to make
science simple and stimulating to learn.
Children are encouraged to participate
hands-on in fun and exciting experiments
such as convections and dissolutions.
The arts and craft programme develops
childrens creativity and imagination
through activities that complement the daily
theme.
Children are taught a wide range of
techniques from simple artwork to more
complex techniques such as perspective
drawing, rendering techniques and three-

Fun and well-rounded learning is the


cornerstone of the Q-dees curricula.

dimensional modelling.
The programme helps strengthen
childrens photographic memory, logical and
reasoning skills.
Physical well-being is developed through
the Gymflex programme. Children are
given the opportunity to learn about
teamwork, improve body coordination and
develop their fine and gross motor skills
through fun exercises, physical activities
and team games.
The Q-dees Love to Life programme
ensures that its curricula are infused with
good values to teach children how to love
and care for others, be responsible
individuals and mindful of preserving the
environment.
Q-dees has been awarded The Best
Preschool Brand for the past seven
consecutive years by the BrandLaureate as
well as received recognition through the
Innovation and Brand Excellence by Smera.
Q-dees strives to meet international
standards of education while nurturing
values that empower lifelong education.

n For more information, call 1700 815 077


or visit www.q-dees.com

Based on a communicative approach to language acquisition, Cambridge English For Life teaches
students how to use English effectively.

students and keep them and the parents in


touch with students progress throughout
the courses.
The Cambridge English Language
Assessment examinations at the end of
each course provide students with
benchmarked external qualifications,
which at the highest levels satisfy the

English language entrance requirements of


colleges and universities worldwide.
CEFLs track record in the examinations
has shown a passing rate consistently
higher than the international average.

n For more information, call 03-7883 0912


or visit www.cambridgeforlife.org

THE STAR, TUESDAY 4 AUGUST 2015

12 bright kids

THE recent Asia Leadership Youth


(ALY) Camp 2015 held at Sunway
International School (SIS) was
themed Values Into Action, which
stems from the rationale that one
should embark on a learning
journey to examine his or her own
values.
SIS was selected as the ideal
candidate to be the camp host as
the school identifies with the
camps objective of helping young
adults gain skills, courage and
confidence in embracing their
leadership abilities.
In fact, SIS has been
championing this cause through
its character education and
community outreach programmes.
As a member of the Jeffrey
Cheah Foundation, SIS believes in
providing youths a head start to
impact society in positive ways.
The camp, which catered to
students in secondary school and
pre-university, aimed to prepare
and empower young students for
the leadership challenges that they
will face in their personal, school
and communal life.
Delegates were immersed in
the Harvard model of leadership
for them to thoroughly understand,
absorb and grasp what it truly
means to be a leader and prepare
their mindsets to face and solve
challenges.
The impressive line-up of
speakers included fellows from the
Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard
Graduate School of Education,
Stanford Graduate School of

Building skills and character

The Culminating Pitch Competition allowed participants to put their newfound knowledge into practice.

Business and the Fletcher School


of Law and Diplomacy.
Through mentorship,
inspirational anecdotes on
leadership and discussions on
best practices, the fellows led and
engaged delegates in capacitybuilding workshops on topics
of leadership and social-profit
initiatives, namely in
entrepreneurship, innovation in
education and social responsibility.
Key focuses in the programme
included workshops on leadership
and communications as well as

innovation and problem-solving.


The highlight of the camp was
the Culminating Pitch Competition.
In this experiential exercise,
delegates used persuasion
principles learnt throughout the
week on a personal or professional
topic of choice.
Through active and constructive
group feedback, the competition
culminated on the last day of the
programme with powerful
speeches that elicited the
audiences wholehearted response
and earned the top three most

persuasive delegates trophies at


the graduation dinner.
Additional enhancements
included in the programme talk
show panel discussions and a
lively forum where delegates
deliberated and debated on
various topics.
Students took part in fun icebreaking team games such as
scavenger hunts, educational
experiences such as Dialogue in
the Dark at Sunway University
and Wildlife EduHunt at Sunway
Lagoon, and attended dinners that

showcased local cultures and


customs.
Samuel Kim, Asia Leadership
Institute president and research
scholar of the Asia Center, Harvard
University, says, We use the
framework Knowing, Doing and
Being, which comprises making
use of what we know, coming up
with something that can add value
to your community and country,
and understanding how you can
become a contributing factor to
your nation.
Our fellows were delighted to
be part of a programme that aligns
with this framework and that
involves secondary school students
who are the future leaders of
Malaysia.
The ALY Camp showed that
youths possess the drive to begin
their journey of discovery to
recognise their own potential and
talent and assume the mantle as
leaders of the future.
Having armed themselves with
world-leading best practices and
instructive tools, ALY Camp
graduates have become capable
and ethical individuals who will
continue to lead, innovate and
inspire in the future.

n For more information,


sis.sunway.edu.my