New pre-school operator sets up shop in Malaysia


  • Business
  • Monday, 21 Apr 2014

Safari Kid's first Malaysia centre in Bangsar.

New child education provider, Safari Kid, hopes to grow in the local pre-school space as it strives to meet the development needs of young children in Malaysia.

Safari Kid will kick-start enrolment of its first centre in Bangsar in May with the first term starting in September.

“I would like to think that we have the potential to grow strongly here.

“The local pre-school industry is such that there will always be a pre-school centre around the corner. But most of them are independently operated and most offer more day-care services than educational development programmes,” said Aniruddh Gupta, director of DML Education Pte Ltd, which holds the Safari Kid franchise in Asia.

Safari Kid began in Silicon Valley, California in 2005. It now has close to 2,500 children in its centres worldwide.

The programme, having been developed over eight years in Silicon Valley, focuses on the cognitive, language and communication skill development of the child.

Aniruddh, who was previously from the banking industry, first approached Safari Kid in 2012 when he was looking for a pre-school for his daughter.

“We saw a gap in what regular kids at that age can do and what the schools should be doing. And we started looking around for a more suitable pre-school for my daughter. That was when some friends recommended Safari Kid,” he said.

After some thought, Aniruddh decided to bring the franchise to Hong Kong, where he was based at the time, and the first Safari Kid centre there opened its doors in January this year. The centre had started with a small enrolment of about 20 students but has grown to some 60 kids over the last few months.

In Malaysia, he noted that there were a few well established operators in the pre-school space but added that there was space to grow.

“Most teaching methods are 50 to 60 years old. When Safari Kid started in 2005, it started because parents were dissatisfied with traditional teaching methods.

“The curriculum has so far been well received in other markets and I believe it will do well here,” he said.

Aniruddh explained that the methods employed at Safari Kid takes on from the philosophies of other pre-school programmes and offers a comprehensive learning experience for its students.

He expects student intake in Malaysia to reach some 80 to 90 children in a year’s time.

Should the centre in Bangsar do well, Aniruddh will look into more centres in Malaysia and is eyeing main markets such as Iskandar, Ampang and Penang.

He also hopes to grow Safari Kid in other Asian cities including Shanghai and Singapore.

“We are still searching for a suitable piece of real estate in Singapore. The requirements there are more stringent so getting the ideal location is not easy.

“We don’t want to open too many too quickly. Our strategy is to start one in every market to test it out. And if it does well in that market, we will expand,” he said.

Safari Kid will be having an open house from April 25 to 27 from 10 am-5pm at 56, Jalan Medang Tanduk, Taman Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur. For details, visit www.safarikid.com.my.

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