We’re getting ready for preschool in our house! Jake, my three year old son is excited, to say the least, to start this new adventure. Now, this might and probably will change on the first day of drop off. I can already feel the death grip that he’ll have on me as I pry him off of me and hand him over to his teacher. But we’ll go with the excitement for now. What I love about Jake is that everyday is an exciting adventure for him. I was just saying to my husband how much joy I get out of seeing how he treats every new experience with incredible enthusiasm and energy. Not only that, he’s just ready to be a “Big Boy!”, and this mama needs a break!
I have to say, the preschool thing has been on my mind for quite a while now. You see, learning differences run in our family and I’ve always been aware of how important early intervention and building a solid foundation is for children. Maybe because I work in the industry or maybe because I’m an anxious mom. Who knows? Either way, in my mind it was a given that Jake would attend an educational-based preschool. This has been so important to me because I work with children of all different learning styles and difficulties. I recognize the importance of building a strong foundation and how confidence is half the battle when starting something new. I had made up my mind what kind of preschool I wanted him to go to but I needed to look at my options and gain a little more perspective.
Option number one was already taken care of. Little House runs a preschool/kindergarten readiness program that he would attend twice a week called the Little Learners Program. Now, I may be biased but I was part of designing it and I know it works! It’s a program that is structured, multi-sensory and phonetic based which focusses on building foundational skills like literacy, numeracy, printing, social skills and classroom routines. You can find out more about it here.
It was important to me that he attended this program at Little House but I also didn’t want it to be his only preschool experience. Especially because I felt he needed to have some time away from family and he’d be seeing his aunties and Nana daily at Little House. He also walks around like he owns the place! But what were my other options? Like most mom’s I started the research.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed so here are five of the most common preschool philosophies.
Classroom time is devoted to building essential skills in children, including color identification, measuring time, problem-solving and other basic writing, reading and math skills.
In a Montessori Preschool, children are learning the same concepts as their peers in a traditional classroom, but the idea is for children to learn individually and have the freedom to move around the room and choose from a wide range of hands-on activities that are designed to teach specific skills. This is the second method I chose for Jake as he’s a busy, active kid and I liked the idea of him being able to learn concepts and skills while moving around. He’ll also be getting lots of structure from the Little Learners Program.
This approach focuses on the process of learning. With both structured and unstructured periods, children are able to learn at their own rate. It’s believed that there is no right or wrong way to do something, allowing children to be confident and take risks.
4. Regio Emelia
This approach is modelled after methods used by communities to help children become better citizens. Preschools that follow the Reggio Emilia style believe that children learn by using different channels to express their thoughts and feelings, such as drama, art, language and music. Educators, parents, communities and students all work together as co-constructors of knowledge.
This approach is aimed to teach children how to think rather than what to think. It’s believed that children have a natural curiosity and appetite for learning, and should be encouraged to learn within an environment that stimulates all five senses.
Every method has pros and cons but my decision has been to send Jake to our education based preschool program at Little House twice a week and he’ll be attending a Montessori preschool twice a week as well.
So as the summer comes to an end, And I look back and think of all the snuggle time we had and fun times jumping on the trampoline, going to water parks, and working on crafts I realize it is time to let go and let Jake start his preschool journey. I’m excited to see him venture off into an exciting new stage in his life. This is his time to be independent and flourish and I can’t wait to cheer him on along the way.