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Learning Philosophy: Play-based vs Montessori

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Play-based VS Montessori

The Dilemma about a Child’s Preschool

If you have a toddler, you are probably wondering which learning philosophy to choose for your child’s preschool. This is an important transition as your child will leave the safety of your arms to be cared for by strangers. You better consider these two options carefully to see which one best matches your child’s personality and needs.

Montessori-style Setting

In a Montessori-style setting, there will be an academic curriculum. Children will be exposed to concrete language and mathematics activities. Although there are choices in the way a child spends his day, there is also a structure that guides the learning. Children will be expected to produce work. There will be specific times for unstructured play, generally during recesses. The manipulatives used in learning activities aim to lead the child toward a successful solution such as puzzles. Read Preschool Lesson Plan: How to Write it.

Play-based Environment Setting

In a play-based environment, the focus is on letting the child discover how the world functions through trial and error, using curiosity and interest as guides. Most of the play time is unstructured and open-ended. Pretend play and drama are encouraged. The materials that the children can use are very open-ended such as blocks and lose parts that they can organize and assemble the way they want. There is no right or wrong way to play a game. Their creation is their success. Through their experience, they will discover that a larger base is sturdier in a tower than a narrow one.

Which One is Right?

It is important to mention that both programs are child-centered. They promote interactions among children as well as between teachers and children. In each program, the goal is to ignite the desire to learn in the child, eliciting a curiosity to know more. Therefore, both programs offer a lot of choices for the children. In that case, how do you choose the one that is right for you as it seems they both have so much to offer…

You have to consider your child’s needs, this will be the deciding factor. If your child needs a lot of space to run and play, to make believe and to be creative, a play-based environment might be what he needs. If your child is reserved and likes it when it is quiet and peaceful, a Montessori approach might work better. Regardless, an impulsive child might benefit from a structured environment, while an introvert child could use some informal social interactions from time to time.

A Mix of Both!

The choice is not a simple one to make and sometimes you wish you could find an environment that has both philosophies in practice. Well, that might be available in your area. Check child care Liverpool and you might find a preschool that offers a balance between structure and free-play.

Another point to consider is to visit each environment before committing to enrolling your child. Go for a day or two, let your child tell you where he or she feels most comfortable. You might be surprised to find in which setting they will want to go. Once you have selected your preschool, remember that it is always possible to change your mind if you think it is not a good fit for your child and you. Check out Best Parenting tips for a preschooler.

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