What do you want for your child’s education? With an array of academic options available, the first step in your child’s early education isn’t always easy to make. But with the right information you can simplify the process. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the top questions to ask yourself and your child’s potential future preschool.
How Does Your Child Learn?
Every child is an individual — and that means your preschooler has a learning style that’s all their own. Watch your child as they play, explore, and create at home, and ask yourself:
- Does your child prefer hands-on activities? Kinesthetic learners use movement and action to acquire and process new information, while tactile learners use (as the name implies) touch. Children who prefer hands-on activities are often one or both of these types of learners.
- Does your child learn visually? Do the pictures in books, art on the walls, or written letters help your child learn? A visual learner needs sight-based sensory stimulation to process new concepts.
- Does your child listen intently? Auditory learners primarily use their sense of hearing. If your child enjoys music, listens to stories more than looking at the pictures, or follows spoken directions easily, they may fall into this learning style category.
Did you answer yes to more than one of these questions? Some children learn in a variety of ways. The key to pre-k classroom selection is matching how your child learns with the curriculum, activities, and instructional strategies. A classroom observation and discussion with the school’s staff can help you judge whether the early learning center is the right fit for your child.
How Does the Preschool Help Children Learn?
Like children, preschools may also have their own individual style. In the school sense, style doesn’t refer to how the educational institution learns. Instead it speaks to the overall educational philosophy and individual instructional methods used in each classroom.
Montessori is one example of a commonly used educational philosophy. If this type of early learning environment is at the top of your list but you’re not sure if it’s the right match for your child, consider:
- The self-paced setting. Montessori schools include a self-paced type of learning environment. This allows your child to explore and develop in their own way, at a rate that’s right for their individual needs.
- The multi-age classroom. Unlike the traditional school setting, Montessori centers don’t break the students up into same-aged groupings. Instead the children are in multi-age classes. This provides the students with the chance to learn from their peers and act as mentors.
- The whole child approach. Montessori helps the whole child — and doesn’t only focus on academics. In this type of program, your child will build foundational educational skills while developing socially, emotionally, and physically.
Educators in Montessori classrooms provide the educational structure — but allow the students to take the lead. Don’t expect to see lectures or a follow-the-leader style of instruction. Instead, Montessori schools encourage a child-directed, exploratory style of learning. This allows your child to create their own meaningful educational experiences.
Why Do You Want Your Child to Start Preschool?
Preschool isn’t a requirement. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important step in your child’s education. Before you choose a pre-k program, ask yourself what your educational goals (for your child) are and how the educational environment will impact your child’s future.
If you only want or need child care right now, the added educational impact of a clearly defined program is a bonus. But if learning and development are the primary reasons behind your choice, the school should have a curriculum/instruction that meets your educational goals.
Is Montessori the right match for your young learner? Contact Miniapple International Montessori School for more information.