Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School Searching

We are pretty sure that we'll be moving back home by this December the latest.

So now, we're starting to search for schools for our children.
Ilham will be 12 (Year 6), Ihsan will be 11 (Year 5) and Anis will be 8 (Year 2). Izani will need to go to a Taska.

Personally, I would like my kids to go to an English-medium school.
It's not that I don't want them to speak Malay, but it's because I want them to have an easier first few months of school, without going through class not understanding lessons or instructions, or worse, being teased by their friends for not being able to speak Malay. I want them to be able to feel confident in a new environment. I want them to be able to make new friends.
Furthermore, Ilham would be taking his UPSR (a national level exams, not unlike SATS). I dont know how much of the syllabus he has to catch up with, but I think his pace would be slower if he has to do the catching up in a language he doesn't really grasp. At least if the classes are in English, he only needs to be up to speed with the topics, not the language, right? If I don't have to worry about the other papers, at least I can concentrate on helping him with the Bahasa Malaysia and Agama papers (less work and worry for me. Yay!)

I would also like my kids to go to an Islamic Integrated school, the kind that combines the national curricullum and the religious curricullum.
When Ilham was in Year 1 for the 6 months before we moved to Saudi, he had had to go to the national school in the morning, then on to the religious (KAFA) school in the afternoon. I had to pick him up from school, rush through lunch, then poke and prod him to change into his KAFA uniform and walk to school. Even though the KAFA school was practically at our doorstep (my mom's front gate is right in front of the mosque's gate, where the school is), I still found the schedule pretty tight. I can't imagine what it was like for kids who lives a little further away from us. By the time Ilham came home from KAFA, he's pretty pooped out and just wants to play. He would be too tired or too fed up with anything to do with school for homework.
I think having the religious lessons incorporated into their regular school would be less of a hassle, for the kids and also for me. I don't have to worry about two uniforms, two school bags, two schedules, two exams..
The religious school is not compulsory, but I would like my children to at least have the basic knowledge of the religion they are practising. I am ashamed to say that even though we are living in Saudi,(which is supposedly the epitome of an islamic country), my children have had very little religious education because they go to an international school that is not allowed to have religious classes by the Ministry of Education.
We do our best on our own of course. Apart from the Qur'an lessons three times a week by a Pakistani imam, most of their religious lessons were informal. We've taught them how to properly perform solat and the recitations involved, we've taught them how to properly fast and the rules about it, we've taught them the components of umrah/hajj and its significance, we try to instill Islamic values as much as we can, and point out the greatness and wisdom of God in our every day life and activities but these were all done by example and by doing. There were no notes, no reference books, no lapbooks. If you ask my children to list out the five pillars of islam, the six pillars of faith, Allah's names and attributes, the 25 messengers, the obligatory steps in solat, they wouldn't know. If you ask them to take a test, they would fail. I want their knowledge to be complete, to be at elast at par with other students who have gone through formal religious classes.

So, in conclusion, I am looking for an English-medium Islamic Integrated School.
Preferably within driving distance from our current house in Kelana Jaya (assuming we don't move elsewhere).

Unfortunately, most Islamic Integrated Schools are way over on the other side of the Klang Valley, in Gombak, Bukit Antarabangsa and Ampang.
There are only 3 on this side of the Klang Valley (that I have found):
Integrated School Shah Alam (ISSA - http://issa-primary.com/)
Integrated Islamic School Kota Damansara (IISKD - http://iiskd.org/index.php)
ITQAN Integrated Islamic School (ITQAN - http://www.itqan.com.my/index.htm)

ISSA currently only accepts students up to Year 5.
ITQAN somehow doesn't teach Islamic or Qur'an lessons (?).

So my best bet right now would be IISKD. It has a primary school *and* secondary school. I don't know how much they'll cost me, since my queries via their website have gone unreplied.. :P
Perhaps I should call them.

If you have any information on any other schools around PJ/Damansara/Taman Tun, please do drop me a line ;)

35 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:26 AM

    Elisa, scrap the one in Kota Damansara.The teachers can't even speak proper English. 2 young family members went there before, and they went home complaining to their parents that they have to correct their teacher's English. Pastu fees mahal bedengung..check out other places lah.

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  2. i thought IISKD best? well, i too am searching for a good integrated school for my son. Currently studying in Sri Seremban (ABIM school) but next month we'll move to BJ.

    For the time being, will be sending my son to Sekolah Integrasi Darul Ehsan in Subang (private). Their UPSR achievements stats was quite good. And the mosque is just nearby, so i dont have to wait for him in the car on fridays (when he perfom solat jumaah). that's my solution for now. coz they're building a religous school in BJ. So would probably move him there in 2 years time.

    there r quite a number of private schools, but its best u check their status with the Pej. Pelajaran and JAKIM/JAIS.

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  3. It's not easy. Makes your priority and istikharah lah which one is the best for you and your children.

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  4. Anonymous4:48 AM

    Hi kak elisa,

    I'm ur silent reader. Just my 2 cent . maybe akak can check below link as an alternative but dunno whether they have syllabus for older kid..so far yg i noticed they have it for 7-9 yrs and below :)

    http://www.geniusaulad.com.my

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  5. I have the full fee structure for IIKD but in hard copy form. Want me to scan and email to you?

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  6. Elisa,

    My niece and some friends' children were taken out of IISKD. They could not cope. What I heard at that point was that the teachers kept changing, there wasnt a continuity with the teaching. Having said that , my neighbours' children love it there. But their mom is pretty hands on and is active in the PTA. My take on Malaysian schools (any of them) is that we parents must 'tunjuk our muka' (and be nice when we do it, no matter what the situation is) once in a while so they pay attention to our kids. Sad, but true.

    Another neighbour loves the ADNI school but the children are on the bus at 6.30 am? Kesian pulak.

    Izani can go to Genius Aulad, reviews are good, only that its done in shop lots. I think little children need some time out in the garden. There is an Islamic kindy called Al-Husna in Kelana Jaya, not sure whether it is English based. I know Al-Hidayah in Damansara Heights is Islamic-Montessori based. So is Nuh's Ark in Shah Alam and My Montessori House in Bukit Jelutong (which also has Montessori Primary School in Shah Alam). I wanted to send my children there but its far.

    Other than that I only know of afternoon sessions islamic classes in Taman Tun and Mutiara Damansara.

    The UPSR is on Sept 8-10, is Ilham going to year 6 this year or next year?

    Sorry for hogging your comment box!

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  7. too sad you are leaving but of course for the better kan..
    My other half misses hometown so much..
    entah2 we all balik dulu.. hmmmm..

    best of luck in the searching..

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  8. Salam :)

    I know of a school in Section 13 Shah Alam..
    http://sekolahintegrasiassyakirin.blogspot.com/

    Another one is the one in Subang Jaya http://www.simde.edu.my/

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  9. woo hoo best nya dapat dengar segala macam pendapat!!

    Anon number 1,
    Okeh, noted. I havent looked at the fees yet.

    Icuk,
    I have checked the JPS website (http://schoolmalaysia.com/jps/direktori/senarai_sek.shtml?TYPE=23), and MOST of the schools are not listed here.. I dont if the list is not up to date ke, or memang sekolha2 ni tak ada approval ke.. how?

    Aza a.k.a BFYe lah.. good thing I start now. At least ada 6 bulan lagi to search and pikir and timbang2..

    Anon number 2I was so excited when I checked out genius aulad.. macam best aje, and ada branch in Kelana Jaya! Tapi unfortunately they only cater for pre-schoolers (Izani aje lah) and ada half day session aje. The Program for 7-9yr olds is an afterschool program :P
    Thanx anyways.

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  10. mosh,
    oooo.. that would be great! can you? please?

    Mrs. A,
    I'm not so worried about Izani .. he can be put into any kindy I suppose.. Paling tidak, ikut the tradition of cucu-cucu kustamang almost semua pegi Taska Salsabiila :)
    I am seriously thinking of sending Izani to Genius Aulad just for the morning session and have him spend the rest of the day with me, since I dont plan to work. hee hee.
    Ilham is 11 this year, so he's going to be in Year 6 next year, in 2010.
    I really appreciate your feedback! Kalau ada dengar lagi testimonials, dont hesitate to share with me!

    Neeza,
    Ada chance you akan balik dulu ke??

    rd,
    Wa-'alaikum-salam..
    Thankyou for the links!
    Tapi these schools are BM-medium kan? I have always had the impression that BM-medium Integrated school are really difficult to get into :P
    Betul ke?

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  11. make sure the school teaches how to make lapbook. then u pulak teach me. :P

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  12. i have the pdf now. where do i send it to?

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  13. sayanggg elisa :) thanks ehh for comipling this ;)

    Mrs A..boleh cerita sikit pasal Tmn Tun, any other religious classes/schools that u can recommend besides the normal kafa?

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  14. Zan,

    The ones I know in Taman Tun are only

    i) The big Sekolah Agama near the police station RM 20/month 2.30-4.40

    ii) The one near the masjid (no one I know sends there)

    iii) Kafa Azzahrahwan (next to Tadika Diyana. My son was there from when he was 5 til last year , the JAWI big exam is in Standard 5, this year I let him off to concentrate on UPSR. My take on the school, good in the beginning, last year they slack sikit because of other matters, left it to their teachers , no where near the standards of the owners. Hope they have improved this year.RM 120/month.

    In Mutiara Damansara, (also near the police beat) there are

    i) Mutiara Kafa Learning Centre, a lot of parents of Kafa Azzahrawan changed to here. English medium.

    ii) Madarasa An Nur - (sister school is in Damansara Uptown). I wish they had opened this earlier, as my hubby, being a Johorean wanted the Johore Sekolah Agama sylybbus(spelling!).

    Hope I was of help!

    Thanks again Elisa for letting me hog, yet again!

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  15. Izani can go where his cousins went- Sasabila (sp). That's not too far from the house and they can get Arif to memorise his doa'.
    Huggers

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  16. Anonymous2:05 AM

    .

    be prepared for some surprises - it took our son 3 months to adjust to the school here.

    dudaesimboyo

    .

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  17. Lollies,
    U kan dah terrer buat lapbook... ;)
    but seriously.. I think you are doing such a great job with your children's Islamic education.

    mosh,
    macam biasalah, the email address on mukabuku.

    Mrs. A,
    It is my pleasure, really!
    Oh by the way, I found a mom who sends her children to ITQAN, and confirmed that they DO teach Islamic lessons! YAY! So now I have more choice and need to compare fees.

    Papa,
    I think there's a good chance that Izani will end up there. he he

    Lim,
    "here" as in .. Turkmen? You dah angkut family you ke? erkkss it has been a long time since I last read your blog.

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  18. Thank you Mrs A :) a big help that is ;)

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  19. oh this is a great topic. thanks elisa for talking abt this.

    i heard good things abt salsabila. i myself went to madrasah an-nur 25 years ago (from 5-12 yrs old for evening agama classes after the usual morning SRK sessions) and i have to say they were REALLY good back then. they provide a really solid foundation. and as i recall, none of that nonsense of setan sembahyang atas sejadah kalau tak lipat, or statements such as kalau awak tak sembahyang subuh dosanya seperti berzina dgn ibu sendiri. urgh. fyi, those "statements" came from my nephew's cikgu agama at the SRK. geram!

    anyways, a fren's daughter is in IISKD and is doing great. if u want i can go and enquire because they're a hop away frm my parents' hse. in fact, if u need any help from this end, just holler coz i'm in dsara and memang i'm going around to the preschools to look at programs available for my son and nephew. let me know yeah? u can email me at ninaomar@gmail.com

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  20. salam kak elisa,

    I cannot comment on the choice of schools but I can suggest something for coping with the lessons here and to catch up.its called Score A. email me nanti if you need to know more ya?
    guess what my word veri was:?
    PROPER..hahha...

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  21. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Salam. I hope I'm not too late with this comment that I would like to make.

    1st thing is, I have come to an understanding that it is difficult to find gud english speaking teachers tis days. Furthermore most of the local grads can't speak Eng. So it's not entirely the fault of the integrated schools around.

    I think when you come back, you should go to all of the schools that you know and check out for yourself. Everyone seems to have their own opinion. I think it is not nice of these people saying bad things bout one school or any infact. Berdosa mengaibkan orang. Esp when what the owners of the school are doing the "Fardu Kifayah". Providing kids with Islamic Education. People can sday what they want but can they or are they able to do what the owners of all these schools are doing? Do u actually thnink these people are making money? I for a fact know that some of the school go thru high monthly deficits juz to educate our children for the sake of Allah SWT. It saddens me when Muslims can just go around talking bad about Islamic Schools.. Complaining about high fees. But no one complains when one sends their child to a non Islamic school with cut throat fees!

    If an Islamic Education is really what you want for your children, it doesn't matter what school you choose as long as they fit well to your needs and not others.

    I see that you have the lists of affiliates by Adni Islamic School above but you left one out in Subang Jaya. You may try at-tamimi.blogspot.com or http://tamimischool.multiply.com

    At-Tamimi Int. Islamic School, ISSA and IISKD are sister schools of ADNI sharing the same syllibus. The students even sit for Junior School Leaving Assessment for Primary 6 under Cambridge besides UPSR.

    Hope you'll find the right school for your children.

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  22. Em, akak-akak, Im actually looking for a taska for my 2 y.o son. I'm staying at Kelana Jaya. Heard of Taska Salsabila but i need to know where exactly it is la..

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  23. anon,

    Thanx for the link!

    Adisu,

    Taska Salsabiila is one of the bungalows on SS3/80. You can't miss it.

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  24. Assalamulaikum. I was googl-ing about feedbacks on Itqan Primary as I may continue my son from Itqan Preschool now. We started last July when we moved back to M'sia. So far I'm fine with Itqan Preschool, shaping the kids character and belief as muslim. So far the teachers there speaks English very well, most with American accent, which my kids prefer as they lived in the States before, and they have native Arabic speakers to teach, converse in Arabic with the children. The monthly fees of RM470/mth is high but it's for 5hrs. Most preschools here operate for 3-3 1/2hrs only. Ok, i gt google some more now. Good Luck :-)

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  25. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Taska Salsabila is too overrated! They charge premium fees but the service is not worth the money!

    1. Anak2 selalu sakit2 bila balik dari sekolah - even though they say that they disinfect their premise every couple of hours. Once anak kita dah sakit, dia tak bagi kita hantar lagi, and refuse to acknowledge yang diorang punca penyakit berjangkit (e.g HFM dan flu)

    2. Suka-suka cuti - Deepavali pun nak ambik cuti peristiwa, padahal Deepavali jatuh hari Sabtu. Dahlah tak ada anak India yang dijaga di situ, malah staff semua takde yang Hindu, so siapa yang sebenarnya celebrate Deepavali kat Tadika Salsabila Kelana Jaya tu?!

    3. Fees itu dan ini - Tak kira berapa hari hantar anak dalam seminggu, charge flat rate. Registration melampau-lampau sampai dekat RM800 satu kepala, padahal entah apa guna 'registration' fee pun tak tahu.. Lepas tu paksa bayar macam2. Untuk konsert pun, walau parents tak setuju nak involve, tetap kena bayar yuran uniform RM150 (walau mak bapak tak pergi pun konsert tu). Dahla tu, VCD konsert tu dijual balik pulak kepada mak bapak yang keluar duit buat 'konsert'!! CAP DUIT BETUL Taska Salsabilla Kelana Jaya ni!


    4. Berkira sangat - pagi makanan dia tak provide, parents kena bagi makan sendiri - dah tiga bulan hantar anak baru diorang beritahu anak saya kebulur pagi2 takde makanan. Konon aje premium facility..

    Kepada mak bapak lain, jangan terkenalah macam saya ni. Setakat nak ajar mengaji ngan sembahyang tu, lepas solat maghrib panggil anak, bikak AlQuran, ajar sendiri lebih berkat.

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  26. zie_naz,
    I was interested in ITQAN because it's actually the one closest to my house :) Tapi yeah.. the fees are pretty steep :P And macam afterschool activities tak banyak sgt je. Tell me how your children fare nanti.

    Anon,
    Wah.. my blog jadi tempat melepas geram pulak dah. I hope you had gotten everything off your chest and rasa lega sikit.
    Anyways.
    If what you say is true, than Taska Salsabila has changed a lot since we left. We've sent our kids there for 6 years before we moved away, and tak ada pulak yuran concert or whatever.
    It wasnt perfect (bebudak sakit because pegi nursery, isnt that normal?), tapi it provided what my children needed. And dari dulu lagi, babies need to bring their own food, and toddlers and older eat together with food provided by the taska.
    But *shrug*, maybe they've changed.

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  27. itqan primary is about rm725/mth excluded every semester's material+ bla,bla fees, probably thousand+ for that alone. but we decided not to send our son there, can't afford it with his younger one going to itqan playgrp next yr. i suggest you make visits. good luck to you :-)

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  28. Hai, u can view our Blog.. but earlier im said. Our class focus on Bacaan Alquran, B, Arab n Jawi.
    www.kafazzahrawan.blogspot.com

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  29. I have gone through your site information and it is the same oppertunity that i was looking for. The faclities ,the process that what you are offering, are perfeetly mathet to my expectation,& verysoon you will get responce from my side.

    distance learning

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  30. Anonymous7:02 AM

    Salams. if you're looking for an integrated islamic primary school, the nearest would probably be ITQAN, which is located at Damansara Jaya. The premise is very airy and on slightly elevated ground. My daughter's been there the last 3 years and loves the school. The atmosphere is very cosy and the teachers do more than teach. The monthly fees are RM600/- Co-co include karate, swimming, archery, and semesterly excursions. I find it to be great cos everything is under 1 roof and my kid does'nt get exhausted from going to regular school + religious school later. Hope you find what you're looking for, inshaAllah

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  31. salam

    Nice info here since i'm looking for Preschools to my son too..
    hope he can get the best early education..

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  33. Anonymous6:51 AM

    hi. i came across your blog while googling up for tadika in kelana jaya. i agree with 1st ANON comment. my daughter is now in salsabiila... its been 3 years already and i have grown fed up of the administration. cuti ikut suka hati, annual concerts kena buat in singgahsana hotel charging a massive RM50 satu kepala, wajib! anak2 sakit tu i guess any nurseries pun macam tu jugak but they do not take precaution and selalu tak mengaku a disease come from the nursery.

    for next year, i am changing my daughter to another kindy. sakit jiwa dah dengan salsabiila. dah lah fees dah naik mencanak... 3 years ago they didn't even have registration fees... setahu I, registration fees kat private school pun is waived as long as you keep sending your child every year there. bayar sekali je. they treat us parents macam we have no other choice. lepas tu bulan puasa taknak kasi anak makan sebab kononnya nak latih. but they're doing it without the consent of parents!

    sekarang pening nak cari tadika lain pulak...

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  35. Come across the blog n read through all the comments. I really wish there still good review for taska salsabila. I just move to kelana jay so i hv no idea where to send my 2yo baby

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