With a variety of preschool curriculums available for your preschoolers, how do you choose one from the lot?
A famous leader once said, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.” And we can’t agree more.
Here in Singapore, our children are given the edge over the rest right from the start. According to the Ministry of Education, one of the key outcomes of preschool education is to nurture the holistic development of children and to achieve that, the ministry recognises six different pre-school curriculum approaches that are used by different preschools.
“While each curriculum follows a particular educational approach or philosophy with certain key principles, the child-centric aims of each are very similar” – Judy Evans, Head of Early Years Centre, Australian International School
The six main curriculums include Montessori, Waldorf Steiner, Play-Based, Reggio Emilia, High Scope Method and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. But what makes these curriculums different from one another? Let’s find out.
- Montessori practises spontaneous learning where the teacher is the facilitator when young children are trying new tasks to prevent them from developing bad habits.
- Play-Based works under the principle that children learn the most when interacting with materials in a fun
and interesting manner.
- Reggio Emilia believes that children should learn through hands-on experience using all their senses, and promotes project-based learning.
- The High Scope Method has a strong emphasis on learning through interaction to the environment, with daily routine such as following a time-table, which is believed to be vital to a child’s growth.
- Waldorf Steiner curriculum has a strong focus on getting children involved in practical activities, while exposure to large amounts of television and media is frowned upon as it is believed to limit a child’s development.
- The Theory of Multiple Intelligences views intelligence on being multi-dimensional as opposed to purely academic intelligence. Other areas of intelligences include Linguistic, Logical, Body Kinaesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalistic.
Making the Decision
When it comes to preschool, a well-rounded curriculum that includes both academic and arts-based activities, outdoor and indoor play, a language-rich environment and inspirational educators will make all the difference.
Some of the key questions that you should be asking the schools include:
- Does this curriculum approach suit the learning style of my child?
- Does the curriculum reflect my own values and expectations for my child?
- Does the curriculum involve predominantly structured, facilitated or focused activities?
- Does the curriculum involve predominantly physical or child-determined activities?
The main (and most important) factor here is to ensure that you truly understand how your child learns best and which type of environment would be easy for them to adapt and enjoy.