Preschool A to Z


First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes baby in the baby carriage…
Then comes school (and all the decisions that go with it)

January is open house and registration month at a lot of preschools for next September’s start, so now is the time to get informed. But beyond location (very important, we think), price and availability, there are some differences with the program philosophies that are worth knowing. Here is a quick run-through that should help make your decision a little easier.

Play-Based Preschool
This is the most common type of preschool, and is based on the direction of a formally-educated Early Childhood Education professional who has been exposed to all the various philosophies through their training. These schools have structured activities and non-structured playtimes, and, as you might expect, the main tenet of these programs is that children learn through play. There is no single source to find a complete listing of these schools, so referrals and research are the best bet here. One website that provides a good overview of child care in general, however, is the West Coast Child Care Resource Centre.

Montessori Preschool
This is one of the oldest forms of schooling around, started by Dr. Maria Montessori, over 90 years ago in Italy. Dr. Montessori believed that children learn best at their own speed and in active participation environments, allowing children to learn abstract concepts and skills spontaneously without a great deal of text or workbook usage. Montessori educators receive formal training on the philosophy and practice but each educator interprets the Montessori vision in their own way so each program is a different experience. It’s worth visiting the school and asking for references for the schools near you. Check the Montessori site for a complete listing of schools in Vancouver.


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