Earlier Play schools had a misconception that it’s all play and no learning. It’s not only play!! Extensive research has shown how crucial early years of education between 2-6 years are in shaping child’s neurological structure of the brain. This increases the significance of Play school.
Now many parents are keen on enrolling kids into play schools as it has its own set of advantages. But parents are still concerned about sending their kids to play school as this becomes the first outside point of contact for their kid. It is natural for parents to get as much information as they can before sending their child to any Play school. Here, teaching methodology play a very important role.
While parents search for playschools for their kids, they would have come across various methodologies of teaching like Montessori Method, Play way method, Reggio Emilia method, Waldorf Approach, Multiple Intelligence, Holistic Approach, and Other integrated teaching methods. Most of the playschools tend to follow an integrated curriculum adopting more than one methodologies.
We will give you an insight on most commonly used play school methods of teaching. This will hopefully help you to select the best methodology for your kid.
Montessori is very well known educational approach developed by an Italian physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method lays emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, liberty of the child in their spontaneous expressions, respect for a child’s natural psychological development and technological advancement. This approach is designed, guiding children systematically through sequence of activities, gradually increasing in complexity. Children can learn through their own experiences and at their own pace. They can respond to natural curiosities that exist in all humans and build a solid foundation for life.
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5 core components are essential in Montessori schools— Trained Montessori teachers, multi-age classrooms, use of Montessori materials, child-directed work, and uninterrupted work periods. Fully integrating all of them should be a goal for all Montessori schools.
Montessori students learn to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly.
Playway method of learning is a child centric method where the method of teaching is not formal and is made to suit the child’s interests. This methodology believes that learning is best through play. This method demands a lot of creativity from both the teacher and the child.
Many schools have been following play way methodology to make teaching more creative, lively and interesting. Playway methods are being incorporated in the school curriculum for teaching languages, mathematics etc. through a series of activities like games, songs, dance , free play, dramatic play , role plays , projects , gardening, construction activities theme based learning , blocks building etc. This learning method stimulates cognitive development of the child and leads to overall development.
Unlike Montessori, Play way is not structured but more an adaptation of best practices from all over the world, with a greater emphasis on physical activities.
Reggio Emilia Method
Reggio Emilia approach, is an Italian method of pre school education. It was started after the World War II by a psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy. The methodology is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children. This method shares values of Montessori system and Waldorf systems.
Participation of child, teacher and parent are considered to be equally important in this approach. Parents are a vital part of this methodology. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. The philosophy is extended to parenting and home also. Teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the child and not just an instructor. The child is seen as an active participant in learning. Like the Montessori Method and playway method, this approach is also child centric, where the child learns through various activities. The physical environment of school is considered as the third teacher in this method. Teachers pay attention to documentation of child’s thinking process. Teacher inquires and listens to the child on each and every activity.
The method uses multiple symbolic languages. Commonly phrased as ‘the hundred languages of children’, where children are allowed to express their ideas and feelings through drawing, painting, drama, music, modeling, play, dance etc.
Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner Education
The first Waldorf school was started by Rudolf Steiner, a scientist and an educator, in 1919 in Germany. The approach emphasizes on the role of imagination in learning. Waldorf philosophy believes that in order to understand the workings of the universe, people must first have an understanding of human being, that is, as a being of body, soul and spirit. This reflects development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present.
Waldorf education cultivates and works in support of the pre-school child’s deep, inborn natural attitude, belief and trust and basic respect for the world as a good place to live in and enable children to become free human beings.
Waldorf curriculum is structured to the three developmental phases of childhood: from birth to approximately 7 years, from 7 to 14 years and from 14 to 18 years. Similar to Montessori system, Waldorf approach follows a curriculum that facilitates overall development of the child. Early childhood learning is primarily through hands on activities, imitation, creative and imaginative play. This is achieved through story-telling, puppet play, games, singing, etc. The stated purpose of this approach is to awaken the “physical, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual” aspects of each individual, fostering creative as well as analytic thinking.
This is based on theory proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983. He believed that there exists a multitude of intelligence’s, quiet independent of each other; that each intelligence has its own strengths and constraints. The theory proposes that eight abilities govern the learning process in any child – spatial, linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. This states that children learn in different ways, the problem is to identify what child learns in what way. Through this new model, several schools have adopted it and plan their curriculum to ensure the same topic is covered in different ways.
Which methodology to choose
The main objectives of preschool education is the overall development (Physical, Cognitive and social growth) of child. It should make child start feeling confident about himself, start learning new things , enjoy learning, ability to take simple decisions, able to identify things correctly , perform imaginative tasks, etc. All the methods are good to be able to achieve these objectives, if implemented correctly. The potential problem area is when a play-school adopts the name of a proven methodology following the structure blindly and without proper training, it could result in a process which is aimless, less learning, less innovative and inconclusive. It doesn’t challenge either the instructor or the student.
While choosing a preschool, parents should try to find out about the teaching methodology and implementation of the teaching methodology. Based on each Child’s learning needs, apt teaching methodology should be chosen. And it matters equally on the instructors, if they are well trained and methodology is implemented as expected. The most important thing is maintaining a good mix of structure, flexibility and creativity that makes learning joyful for the child for their overall development.
In-case you need any help in finding the best play school in your locality, feel free to reach out to us at www.shapingkids.com
Hope this article will help you in selecting the right playschool for your child. Please leave your comments or feedback.