When choosing a preschool, there are several different options to consider. Montessori preschools and more traditional preschools are both widely-available across the country. Both offer different benefits that can help a child prepare for kindergarten.

Montessori Preschools

The Montessori method was developed in Italy in the early 1900s by Maria Montessori. By observing the social and physical development of children of different races, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds, she developed teaching that she felt best-suited children. The method quickly spread across the world.

Montessori schools focus on teaching children through their senses and activity. It is a self-paced program that allows children to individualize their learning. This is done by allowing children to choose what they would like to learn and encourage them to explore the subject. Teachers observe the child’s progress and provide materials but don’t teach in a traditional sense.

The method offers an abundance of hands-on learning to preschoolers. A typical classroom has furniture and appliances that are child-sized and plenty of materials for learning, play, and art, including blocks, textured fabric, glass beads, and sand trays. Music, movement, and art play a significant role in the Montessori program.

Traditional Preschools

Traditional preschools are play-based. They encourage children to use their imaginations and to work together. The belief behind a traditional preschool is that children learn best through play. Children benefit from being able to play with other children. This helps children learn self-regulation, independent play, cooperation, and social skills. Educational lessons are taught by a teacher to prepare a child for kindergarten.

These types of preschools are often based on time. The teacher makes a set schedule, and children rotate to different activities within this time frame. This schedule can help prepare a child for a traditional kindergarten setting but may not allow them enough time to explore a subject that interests them.

Which is Best?

Parents need to remember that both types of preschools will help prepare their children for kindergarten and elementary education. The type of school that is best may depend on the child. Considering a child’s personalities and needs can help parents make the right decision. Children who enjoy playing with toys and being active may do better in a traditional setting, while shy children who are deep thinkers may enjoy a Montessori school more.