What are the different types of preschool programs?
It seems like just yesterday your little one was learning to walk, and in the blink of an eye, it’s time for them to enter preschool. Apart from location and cost, when choosing a preschool, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind.
One of the biggest differentiators between different preschools is the program type. If you’re not familiar with the learning styles or even aware there are separate approaches, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need. You can also find out more about preschool in Singapore at https://ourfirststeps.com.sg/east-coast/.
The Montessori curriculum focuses on child-directed learning, where children work on skills at their own pace. Teachers are recognised as “guides” who attend to children as they have the freedom to move around the classroom. Learning is often hands-on with an emphasis on practical life skills and social skills. Children can expect to learn essential everyday skills like taking care of their belongings or cleaning up after themselves.
Special Montessori toys known as manipulatives, such as puzzles and blocks, are frequently used to assist in the learning process. Classrooms are multi-age, so the little ones can interact with children across other ages and build a friendly, safe community.
2. Reggio Emilia
Originally from Italy, the Reggio Emilia curriculum values children as resilient, strong and capable. This means adapting each Reggio Emilia preschool to meet the unique needs and culture of the community it’s in, as they believe children can learn more when driven by self interests. Students get to choose topics to explore and then go on to learn with other kids as a community. Hence, the Reggio Emilia approach highly values teamwork and collaboration.
In a Reggo Emilia classroom, you’ll see students using their four senses to learn and teachers by their side to facilitate learning and encourage active communication. The whole idea is to create respectful citizens of the world through cooperative learning.
The Waldorf curriculum focuses on a child’s body, spirit and soul — essentially, a child’s uniqueness. Kids learn through self-initiated play and sensorial experiences, such as exploring the environment. The teacher’s job is to help the child unravel his/her drive for learning and help the child discover his/her innate abilities.
The Waldorf method is unique in the sense that it excludes traditional academics and does not use any kind of electronics. Rather, storytelling, music and arts are implemented in the curriculum to instil imagination and creativity. There are also plenty of activities that involve hands on learning, like handiwork, cooking and gardening. To establish security in children, the Waldorf method also believes following a predictable routine for children to follow.
4. Bank Street
The Bank Street curriculum was developed based on early child development, with a focus on mental, physical, emotional and social growth. Lessons are play-based and classroom materials are kept simple to encourage imagination among students. Teachers are seen as facilitators who guide and monitor children through their lessons. Expect to see lots of art, puzzles, dramatic play and blocks!
A typical HighScope program consists of hands-on experiences with consistent daily routines. Unlike other programs, there is a focus on academics that’s based on child development research. This curriculum includes problem solving, communication skills and interpersonal skills. Additionally, teachers use a framework of scaffolding, where students are supported at their current level and nudged to extend and build skills.
HighScope programs use a research-based approach known as active participatory learning, where they follow a “plan-do-review” sequence. How this works is before starting an activity, students create and work on a plan for what they wish to accomplish, who they’ll embark on it with and how they expect it to turn out. Once the activity is completed, they’ll reflect and take ownership of the learning process.
6. Whole Brain Learning
Whole Brain Learning integrates research and learning from both the left brain and right brain to fully develop a child’s learning potential. Rather than focus on results, this approach emphasises on the process of learning. Teachers also guide children as they explore their surroundings. For a more well rounded and holistic education, the curriculum also includes music, arts and play.
7. Theory of Multiple Intelligences
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences approach is based on research that every individual possesses 8 types of intelligence. These include naturalistic, visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, musical-rhythmic, verbal-linguistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and body-kinesthetic. While every child has intelligence, they can only excel in some and remain weak at others. This curriculum however believes that kids can improve their weaker intelligences through lessons and activities specially targeted at those intelligences. For example, if a child is weaker in the logical-mathematical aspect, activities related to math and logic can enhance his intelligence in that area. Regardless, the focus should always be on the child’s unique abilities to encourage and support him.
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