Review of the Most Popular Preschools

Children in Early childhood from birth to age six are sensorial explorers, constructing their intellects by absorbing every aspect of their environment, their language and their culture. As parents, we want to provide our children the best early education as possible as we can. This article is about preschool reviews.

There are more preschool options than ever before, in fact, alternative preschool philosophies have been around for a lot longer than we think. We have done some research and found out that the following preschools are three of the most popular preschools in the United States. In order to provide your child the best education and start early, we suggest parents use this review as a reference and do your own research to find the right preschool for your child, which lays a strong foundation for your child’s future success.

Montessori Preschools

The Montessori approach was pioneered by Maria Montessori, who was the Italy’s first female physician, specializing in pediatrics and psychiatry. Montessori believed that learning is cumulative. As children develop the ability to take care of their own needs, they learn best from firsthand experience. Montessori urged teachers to conduct naturalistic observations of children in carefully prepared environments. Teachers in a Montessori program are to observe and direct children’s learning, so they are called directresses rather than teachers. In a Montessori classroom, they have practical life experiences such as gardening, buttoning and zipping, and flower arranging. Directresses make sure that each activity builds a foundation for a more complex and difficult activity. Children move freely about the classroom and make their own choices to become human beings able to function independently and hence interdependently.

The children’s innate passion for learning is encouraged by giving them opportunities to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Through their work, the children develop concentration and joyful self-discipline. Within a framework of order, the children progress at their own pace according to their individual capabilities.

Waldorf Preschools

The Waldorf approach was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and educational theorist. The first Independent Waldorf School opened in 1919. Today, there are over 750 Waldorf schools worldwide.

Like Montessori, students in a Waldorf classroom are rarely found sitting at desks. You’re more likely to see them doing “real work”, such as baking bread from wheat they grew themselves, playing the recorder. In addition, art and dance play a large part.

Unlike a Montessori classroom, where the teacher’s role is to guide the child and let the child work independently, Waldorf instruction emphasizes the relationship between the teacher and child. The teacher stays with the same group of children for up to eight years, and a familial bond is created. This is a homelike environment where open ended, creative play is viewed as the work of the young child.

In preschool and kindergarten, Waldorf practically ignores academics and focuses on providing children with opportunities for creative play. Television and computers are discouraged while preschoolers are more likely to play dress-up, cook, paint or sing than learn phonics. In preschool and kindergarten, students are not exposed to academics, for example, reading is not often taught until the second or third grade.

High/Scope Preschools

This is a program, which has been highly successful with Head Start students. The first school is founded in 1970 in Michigan, by Dr. David Weikart. Active learning, complete with hands-on experiences is the driving force behind the High/Scope method. Students are encouraged to choose what materials they would like to use and teachers are in place to guide. The program takes an “intentional learning” approach to education that makes teachers and children active partners. A daily routine is designed to help children understand what happens next, each day starts with a plan-do-review sequence: first, kids plan what they will do for the day, for example, who they will play with, what areas they will visit, which materials they will use, then they have an hour of work time in which to carry out their plans, and finally they discuss what they’ve learned and done. Computers are a key component in the classroom.

The curriculum has five main focuses: approaches to learning; language, literacy, and communication; social and emotional development; physical development, health, and well-being; and arts and sciences. These areas are then broken down into 58 “key developmental indicators” that include singing and role playing. To assess a child’s development, High/Scope uses the Preschool COR (Child Observation Record) as well as their own Preschool Program Quality Assessment (PQA).

Just like the old adage, “there is no such a thing that one size fits all”. None of the three, the Montessori, the Waldorf, or the High/Scope approach is for every child. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages; the most important thing is parents should think what values and believes you want to pass to your child, and what kind of adult you wish you child to be. In addition, parents should think over your child’s own personality, do your research and find the right preschool for your child and help your child excel. Hope the preschool reviews is helpful.

To learn more parenting skills, please refer to great parenting books.

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