7 Types of Popular Preschool Programs: Which One Fits Your Child Best?

Choosing a preschool can feel like a big decision. The preschool experience can set your child on a path that will influence their ongoing education and even their career! No wonder it’s a choice that parents want to get right. 

With so many different types of preschools, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Check out these 7 types of preschool programs to help decide which is right for your family. 

1. Religious Preschools

Also known as parochial preschools. Religious preschools are very varied, as they draw influence from the teachings of the associated religion. Some may follow a recognized philosophy or curriculum, while others won’t.

The amount of religious instruction can vary a lot too. Some will be subtly guided by religious teachings. With others, it will be more explicit. 

If you’re religious and are considering this option, try touring some local preschools to see if the religious approach feels like a good fit. 

2. Waldorf Preschools

This philosophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner, is also commonly known as Steiner education. The approach favors creative, open-ended inquiry. It encourages curiosity as a means of learning. 

Steiner/Waldorf preschools can have a more spiritual approach. There’s a celebration and appreciation of the natural world woven through the philosophy. 

3. Reggio Emilia Preschools

In this approach, children learn through creation and are treated as the protagonists in their own education. Teachers observe the pupils as they play and create art.

The curriculum is then developed to encourage exploration of the child’s individual curiosities. This approach focuses on community, creation, and collaboration. 

4. Bank Street Preschools

This is also known as the ‘progressive education’ or ‘developmental-interaction’ approach. The Bank Street philosophy is based on social studies. In terms of preschool, this focuses on communities like families and neighborhoods. 

Children investigate their communities on field trips in their local area. The individual culture and values of the children are also celebrated.

5. Montessori Preschools

The Montessori school’s philosophy sees teachers as guides, facilitating an educational environment. The classrooms are designed to encourage students to select their own activities and develop independence. 

A Montessori toddler preschool will have children of mixed ages. This means the younger ones learn from the older ones, and the older ones learn how to lead. 

6. High Scope

High Scope was created to close the achievement gap by creating an active learning environment. The ‘plan, do, review’ method is the core of High Scope.

This system gets pupils to plan how they will spend their time, and then reflect on it afterward. This is understood to develop skills that lead to future educational success. 

7. Parent Co-Op

This is when a group of parents with shared educational values come together to form their toddlers’ preschool. Forming committees and curricular systems, they all have active roles in the preschool. Some also act as educators in this system. 

Choosing Preschool Programs

Choosing preschool programs can be a difficult decision. If any of these approaches to early childhood education resonated with you, research your nearest center and arrange a visit! 

Did you find this helpful? For more education and parenting resources, check out our other blog content!

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