So, when you choose a nursery school for your child, whichever type of school you choose, remember that at the end, there is a test if you want private school or a gifted program. Even if you send your child to a regular ol` public kindergarten, she will still be tested in the very early days for placement in slow, average and advanced ability groups. Some schools prepare kids for these tests and others don`t. Frankly, I probably would have chosen the same progressive school I chose no matter what because we loved it. But I wish I had understood from the beginning that there would be an important test at the end and if the nursery school didn`t prepare my child, I would have to. Here are the five most common types or philosophies of preschools you`ll see - Montessori, Progressive, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. It doesn`t matter if you`re looking at a preschool in a church, temple, co-op, private or public program - they are all likely to have adopted one of these approaches to education. Montessori. Personally, I love Montessori schools and encourage you to tour one and see for yourself. Not only do kids learn a lot, but they are taught not to start a new project until they put the materials they were working on away. My daughter was always very messy and I have to wonder if she wouldn`t have been had I sent her to a Montessori school when she was very young. Marie Montessori started her schools in the early 20th Century as a way to train severely retarded children. The materials she created were so effective that they were later used with normally intelligent children. The goal of Montessori is to establish independence, self-esteem, and confidence in a child while fostering learning at his own pace.
Teachers on their part find the program valuable as the math tests are scored and stored by the computer for evaluation of progress. The process is also simple because after taking the test, a personalized score sheet is printed along with an evaluation of topics requiring further study. The student can then return to the body of the program and practice those sections which were identified as weak areas. The use of the tests is flexible as the student may take Test A as a pre test and Test B as a post test or Test A may be used for one student and Test B for another. When it comes to math, a lot of parents really notice that only a few kids enjoy it. If your child isn`t exactly like those math geniuses and is more likely to think up ways to not do school or any academic activity, don`t despair. With a dash of creativity and sass, your child can transform from being a math hater to being a math enthusiast. One of the things you can do, especially if your child is struggling with math, is to enrol him in an after school math tutoring program that`s known to utilize a big collection of teaching methods.
Children are of mixed ages, typically three to six-years-old, with the older children helping the younger ones. Kids are encouraged to work at their own pace and build their own foundation of knowledge. When they emerge from Montessori, they are cooperative, organized, respectful of other children`s work, and able to work independently. This is the type of program I chose for my kids and we loved it. Here, the philosophy is that children need to explore and learn through imaginary play, art, and block building. The progressive classroom is usually set up as a series of "centers" where learning can take place using open-ended materials. There might be a fantasy play area, a cluster of easels with paint, a block corner, a water table, puzzle area and more. Teachers set these environments up in response to what they see the children are interested in. They move among the areas and encourage the kids to pursue their own projects and ideas at these centers. Play is considered the "work" of children and is taken seriously.
In a Montessori classroom, the main interaction is between the child and the materials, not the teacher and the children. At first, the teacher demonstrates to the children the proper use of each set of materials. Then, the child can take the materials out, place them on a mat, and use them as the teacher taught her. When she is finished, she puts it away before starting another project. The emphasis is on self-directed learning. Once the teacher has demonstrated the use of the materials, children work on them individually or in small groups. With this level of individualized instruction, children with learning delays or who are gifted often do well in a Montessori classroom. The materials used in a Montessori classroom are built around three areas. 1) Practical life skills (folding shirts, tying shoelaces); 2) Sensory (handling geometric shapes, putting blocks into the right holes) and; 3) Language and mathematics (handling sandpaper letters and numbers, counting beads on a long chain). As you can imagine, children learn a great deal with this curriculum - numbers, letters, adding, subtracting, practical life skills, information and more. The Montessori classroom is usually very bright, warm and inviting. There are usually several learning centers where children can explore via hands-on, tactile materials.
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