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There are many approaches educationally when it comes to preschool. Here is a way to know what’s out there for your family to choose from:

Developmental: Here we see the theories of Jean Piaget, who believed that children as well as adults pass through stages of development that are defined by developmental norms of behavior. The developmental preschool allows for children to be seen individually in a setting that allows for their development to progress through play based learning.

Progressive: This encompasses many of the traits of a developmental school, yet there is an emphasis on community and being a part of the world outside of a school setting. This means there are field trips, where children children study the community. The educator John Dewey held the belief that the educational process begins with the interest of the child, and that the child’s natural curiosity is at the for front of there curriculum.

Montessori: There are four principles of this philosophy: learning should occur in a multi age classroom, the teacher is the guide for the child as opposed to having all the answers, children work at their own pace, and a classroom is set up according to subject areas.

Cooperative: This is a school where the children work in the classroom as teachers assistants, as opposed to having paid personnel. There is a teacher who directs the parents in working with the children, and there is usually a traditional approach such as developmental. The tuition is usually low at these schools, making preschool more affordable.

Waldorf: Here to sense of unity is of importance, focusing on the mind, body and spirit as a whole. Here any learning of abc’s is not part of the curriculum, as the emphasis of of play, music and art as well as the relationship between the teacher and child is what is valued.

Reggio: In these schools the environment is called the third teacher, with the belief that environment dictates behavior. The classroom is set up to look like a home, with couches to create a non-institutionalized atmosphere. Parent involvement is expected on everything from school policy to child development concerns. Parents, children and teachers are seen as equal partners.

Here at La Canada Preschool we embrace many aspects of each of these teaching methods. We are a developmental school since we need to fit in somewhere. At the same time we have couches in our classroom, we believe the teacher/child relationship needs to be valued, we have multi age play time, and have classrooms set up according to areas of interest.

Lots of choices: Best of luck.