The importance of a preschool education cannot be overstated. Fortunately, many of our nation’s top researchers have devoted their careers to studying and, therefore, advocating this issue. For example, this recent report titled “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” does an excellent job of demonstrating the importance of a preschool education.
Okay, so we know a quality preschool education is important, but how do we find a good preschool for our children? This is a good question, and it is going to be the primary focus of today’s article.
If you are in the Omaha area and want to embrace the individuality of your toddler’s learning process, perhaps it is time to introduce him or her to the Montessori education. Contact Omaha Montessori Educational Centers today to learn more!
The good news is that it seems that preschools everywhere are getting better and better, and for the most part, any education is better than no education. However, when looking for a preschool, keep the following in mind:
Toddlers need to move. Regardless of the activity, game, or lesson, your prospective preschool should not expect children to sit quietly for extended periods of time. By the same token, the classroom should not feel cramped, dark, and dirty. There should be adequate space for play and learning.
While in the last tip, we suggested that your preschool should allow for movement, it is also important that they incorporate movement into games, activities, and lessons—not just letting children wander aimlessly around the school. Similarly, instructors and preschool staff should engage with the children in a friendly, supportive way, not simply barking out orders.
Children are naturally curious and have an innate desire to learn about new things. For this reason, it is important that a good preschool accentuates this quality and has a variety of available materials and activities, allowing toddlers to have the freedom to explore and follow their interests.
While no one should expect a facility catering to toddlers to be completely tidy and spotless, there should be order to the preschool. Particularly, the way all the materials and games are arranged should be intuitive and organized. This is a big part of the Montessori education. Montessori elementary schools and preschools strive to always maintain a tidy environment that instills children with responsibility and self-efficacy.
Whether your child is already taking a liking to numbers or is becoming a star reader, the preschool curriculum should be prepared and excited to adapt and encourage your child’s individual learning path. To this effect, real-life experiences with nature, animals, and plants should all be a part of the curriculum. And ideally, worksheets should rarely, if ever, be used.
Numbers and language are an important part of any toddler’s curriculum. However, the value of real-life activities and skills should not be overlooked. Preschools that make daily child activities, such as meal preparation, clean up, hand-washing, and putting away shoes and coats, will help toddlers become more responsible, self-aware, and independent.
Children develop at different rates. This is one of the main focuses of Montessori education. This method focuses on the individuality of each child and their unique learning process. If your toddler is ahead or behind the pace of the rest of the class, they shouldn’t be expected to wait up or jump ahead. Rather, they should progress at their own pace. A good preschool will not hold all toddlers to the same curriculum and each students pace shouldn’t be rendered based on relative comparisons.
Perhaps most importantly, your child should like the preschool that he or she will be attending. While some toddlers will, of course, be reluctant at first—as they do with anything new—after the initial adjustment, your child should be excited to go to preschool. If they dread the thought of going, it may be time to start hunting for another preschool.
If you are in the Omaha area, we encourage you to look into the Montessori teaching philosophy. Read more about us, our locations, the Benefits of a Montessori Education, and book your tour to come and check out one of our Montessori education centers!
This list was based on an article created by the ageofmontessori.org.