First Steps is an independent child development centre in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, founded on Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy of child education with the firm belief that a child can develop his intrinsic capabilities in ideal environmental conditions of freedom and discipline.
First Steps was first established in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, in 1992 and relocated to Bandar Utama in 2008. We are among the earliest proponents of Montessori education in Malaysia. We have since evolved into a renowned child education provider and care giver, strongly advocating and administering Montessori method and philosophy.
Every child at First Steps is respected as an individual and is allowed to develop and perfect himself in a prepared environment providing adequate and appropriate stimuli for social, intellectual, creative and communicative skills.
To respect every child as a unique individual giving the time and space that he rightfully deserves to explore, experiment and enlighten himself in this important stage of his life’s journey.
To develop the potential within a child by affirming resoluteness and encouraging spontaneous learning in a safe, clean and stimulating environment.
That every child that passes through First Steps will be a holistically developed individual, committed to himself, the community and the environment.
Our ultimate goal is to instill good human values and team spirit while guiding them to achieve knowledge and skills.
WHY FIRST STEPS?
Does this mean we let them do whatever they like, whenever they like and however they like, in other words, letting them take control?
Not really. We give them lessons on respect for others, respect for environment and respect for self. We let them know their boundaries in order that they may learn to care for, share with, accept and accommodate peers and adults. We structure times and schedules to ensure harmony and order. They learn to coexist without conflict.
Is the Montessori method an easy and fun ‘play’ programme?
Not quite. Children are all the time learning through ‘play’ though we do not like to call this process ‘play’. We rather use the term ‘work’ which implies to the children that whatever they do here should be serious, sincere and sensible.
How different is First Steps from the traditional pre-school system?
In the traditional school system children are made to follow through a set syllabus and to complete the same within given time frames and move on. Although there are general developmental stages in a human, we must understand that biological, social and psychological factors do influence human growth and development. Even in adults we see different persons of same age having different capabilities and functioning at different levels. At First Steps, we understand and accept that the age of a child does not determine the level of his capacity but that i is more complex than that.
Will the child be ready for Primary school moving on from Montessori approach?
While we keep in mind that a child should be prepared for primary school at a given age, we allow every child the time, space and experiences necessary to be ready to face the challenges ahead of him. Our emphasis is not so much on how fast and how well he can perform and complete his tasks in comparison with children of his age. This will put a heavy burden on the child. It is totally wrong to push a child to meet our expectations and popularly accepted standards. Our emphasis is in ensuring that the child gains confidence, independence and enthusiasm, which are very vital to good development. So, yes, the child will definitely be ready for primary school after having had a pleasant and enjoyable pre-school experience. The child would have gained enough confidence and level of maturity to move on.
Will the child be ‘left behind’ in terms of literacy, numerical and writing skills?
Not at all. Montessori approach encompasses all the skills necessary for a child’s intellectual development. There are specific Montessori apparatus to get the child started on this journey, systematically progressing from concrete sensorial perception to abstract thinking skills. The child will be strong in literacy, numerical and writing skills through the Montessori experience.