In the United States, 3/4ths of children are enrolled in a preschool program. However, when the time comes find a good preschool program, it can seem confusing when considering the different approaches. Today we’ll take a look at the top 3 preschooling philosophies, so that you can better choose a top notch day care near you.
- The Montessori approach. This philosophy uses play as the main source of learning, and it gives children the freedom to seek out and explore what they are curious about. Children are encouraged to learn in a way that’s comfortable to them, and are not separated by age group. In a single classroom there are children from three to five, all interacting and learning together. This gives the older children a chance to serve as role models for younger students, while improving their self-esteem through helping younger kids who need it. Additionally, these students usually retain the same instructor throughout the 3 years of enrollment, this allows a teacher to be able to bond with each student, and learn each one’s unique needs and personalities. This type of schooling is geared towards independence, and helping foster leadership skills. If you want an open style of instruction, one that allows your child the freedom to learn on at their own pace, while developing solid social skills, you may want to look more into a montessori preschool program near you.
- The Waldorf method. At this school, every instructor is certified in the Waldorf method. This curriculum, while being based around play, differs from montessori in that it does have a routine to it. Each day has a specific scheduled activity, such as gardening or baking. This makes it a better choice for kids that are used to having a level of predictability at home, as it is not so much ‘go and explore’, as it is ‘learn creatively through a more guided system’. There isn’t a large focus on academics, and classrooms typically do not include computers or other electronics. Children must then rely on communication and interactions with peers, as opposed to having access to screen time. Jamie Quirk, Outreach Director at Waldorf School of Princeton states, “A Waldorf education teaches kids how to think, not what to think, and to develop themselves as well-rounded individuals with an innate curiosity and love of learning.” If this sounds like something you are looking for in a top notch day care, you can learn more here.
- Reggio Emilia schools. The most commonly found in the United States, these schools are based off of a philosophy that began in the 1940’s. The approach here is focused on explorative projects. If children present a question to an instructor they are typically encouraged to work together to seek out answers as a group. This helps to build cooperation and teamwork among young students, which is the main focus to this practice. Whereas montessori is based around leadership and independence, and Waldorf around routine exploration, Reggio Emilia strives towards teaching kids to work together cohesively in order to solve problems. If that sounds like a top notch day care to you, you can go here to find out more!
If you need help with finding the right preschool, I hope the above as been instructive in breaking down the top 3 most common approaches that are available to you. Choosing the right preschool can be a difficult choice, and it is important to take into account your child’s strengths and learning style, in order to find a top notch day care program that they will excel in. Which philosophy do you agree with most? Share your thoughts below and let us know!