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Searching for Preschools? 5 Preschool Philosophies Simplified

montessori shapesLooking for a preschool for your toddler can be a daunting task, especially if you live in a big metropolitan area. You’re still getting to know your child, so trying to figure out what’s the best environment for his or her first school experience is overwhelming. To start, it’s good to know about some of the more popular styles of preschool. For your information, I’ve taken these five most popular non-religious preschool philosophies and boiled them down to a couple of key ideas. I’ve also pointed you towards more resources for further information on each one. Hope you find this useful!

  • Montessori 1 of 5
    Montessori philosophy supports the idea that children learn best by doing. Children learn through engaging all five senses. Each child has an individualized lesson plan and goes at his/her own pace. Classrooms are bright and organized, and child-centric. Classes are multi-age inviting mentoring relationships from older to younger students. For more information on this method, please check
    The International Montessori Index.
  • Reggio Emilia 2 of 5
    Reggio Emilia
    Reggio-Inspired schools have an emergent curriculum (developed by ideas and interests of the children). Parental and community involvement are key. Project-based learning is based on the emergent curriculum. Classroom environment aesthetics are very important. Most Reggio classrooms have fresh flowers and beautiful things around the room. For more information on this method, please check
  • Traditional 3 of 5
    Traditional preschools are teacher-centered, teacher-directed classrooms. There is a focus on direct instruction instead of child-initiated learning. Academics and school readiness are stressed. You might find students doing units on shapes or the seasons of the year, as well as literacy and math development. In a traditional preschool classroom, all the students tend to work on the same unit at the same time. For more information on the Traditional method, check out this blog:
    Today's Mama.
  • Waldorf 4 of 5
    A Waldorf classroom is a warm home-like environment where the emphasis is education of the "whole child." Arts and creativity are the main focus in a Waldorf school. Lots of hands-on learning through art projects, puppet shows, cooking, gardening, dress-up and play. Much of the curriculum is taught verbally. Academics are not stressed until the third grade. Waldorf goes through middle school. For more information on this method, please check
    Why Waldorf Works.
  • Developmental or Play-Based 5 of 5
    Developmental or Play-Based
    At a Developmental or Play-Based preschool, children learn by doing instead of by listening and watching a teacher instruct. Teacher is a facilitator for students. Children learn through play (imaginative, art, block building, etc.) and there is an emphasis on the development of social skills with less emphasis on academics. For more information on this method, please check

Photo Credits:

Montessori Classroom

Reggio Classroom

Waldorf Classroom

Traditional Classroom

Developmental Classroom (blocks)


Article Posted 5 years Ago

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