My husband and I hunted for which preschool nearby would be best for our son last Monday. My son Ren will be 3 years old and 10 months this coming June 2011 and based on his performance and latest evaluation from his Occupational Therapist, I think he is ready. We know that a traditional way of teaching is not suitable for Ren since the ratio of teacher to the number of students is very large. We want him to start in a small group then hopefully to a big school in the coming years if all goes well.
It’s good that my husband decided to come along with me since I want to know his opinion on every school that we visit. I never thought that choosing a preschool for your child is very hard. Besides the ratio of the number of students in a class, we value to consider the curriculum or style of teaching of the school. I researched on the net about the Progressive and Montessori style of teaching, they are alike in some ways like they both believe in creating a physical environment suitable for learning; they both believe in child-centered learning; they both believe that children learn by interacting with their environment; they both de-emphasize rote drills and traditional testing methods.
So, how did this non-traditional way of teaching differ from each other? Here is an article from Pinoybaby.com
- draws mostly from the philosophy of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori
- popular in non-traditional schools in European countries
- Montessori believed in fostering the intellect as the foundation for developing imagination and social relations
- tries to teach independence (“Teach me to do it myself.”), both in academics and in practical skills
- believes that children have a natural motivation to learn; formal education helps this natural motivation flourish
- activities: self-directed and structured; learning on one’s own using Montessori learning materials, with the guidance of the teacher
- Work Time is distinguished from play time. During “Work Time” the child is allowed to go to any of the five pre-prepared work areas in the classroom each of which has materials (manipulatives, etc.) meant to help the child learn a particular concept. The five areas are: art, practical life, sensorial, language, math, and culture. At the work area, the child can choose which materials he/she wants to work with. The child may stay with one set of materials for as long as he/she likes, but is expected to put the materials away before moving on to another set of materials. The teacher avoids interrupting the children, but observes and guides them as needed.
- assessment is by portfolio and teachers’ written observations
- draws largely from the philosophy of American philosopher John Dewey and others in the Progressive Movement
- popular in non-traditional schools in the US; in the Philippines, UP Diliman’s FLCD program is strong in the progressive approach
- Dewey believed in fostering imagination and social development first, and the intellect afterwards
- group approach/cooperative learning; tries to teach children to get along with one another
- aims to build a democratic and diverse society values the individual child’s interests and needs
- activities are divided into routines, and concepts are integrated into the activities
- “Activity Time” is planned by the teacher and seeks to strengthen the various domains (physical, emotional, social, cognitive). The activity may involve art, worksheets, or other activities suitable for the group. The activities are interdisciplinary and are typically focused on problems or projects
- assessment is by projects and performances/presentations and teachers’ comments
If you want to know more about Montessori style and Progressive way of teaching check out Pinoybaby.com since they made a thorough research about these non-traditional preschool.
We are still deliberating where is the best school and which method of teaching is appropriate for Ren based on our observations.
How about you, what do you think is better Montessori or Progressive?
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