The difference between preschools and daycares is really quite simple. Preschools are licensed to operate one session for a maximum of 4 hours per day whereas daycares offer longer day options. Child care centres are generally licenses under either of these two licences. Therefore the license only determines how long children can stay per day and has no relation to the curriculum programming ie. the activities, philosophy and other child developmental offerings.
And now to understand the myriad of programs. Not so simple for parents – and I feel your pain.
So let us take a look at what makes Montessori stand out from a conventional preschool or daycare program.
The Montessori Preschool / Daycare Environment
Children are at all times soaking in information and experiences and it only makes sense that the environment is set up primarily to meet their developmental needs.
Montessori gives much importance to its environment. Every material, area of the classroom and experience is well thought out to respond to the individuality of each child.
The teacher / guide is always observing to understand and respond to each child. Thus Montessori is child centred and not teacher centred. Activities are planned to respond to the child’s interests. As well, simplified or made more challenging to depending on the observations made.
Now you must wonder, whether the teacher is attending to every child individually? Yes! I know this sounds hard to believe but you have to see an authentic Montessori classroom in action to believe how efficiently the teacher is able to give individual lessons. Every child has their own learning plan that is created by the teacher who ensures that while the child is working with materials of their interest, the teacher is also able to keep the child aligned to the curriculum.
The authentic Montessori environment offers the child/ren the freedom to move. Nature has designed it such that children need to move – this is how they grow and develop. Given the space and freedom to move, the child’s need to move is nurtured and with this integral natural urge fulfilled, the children become calmer and more concentrated than in other preschool or daycare settings.
Children have a natural desire to do and to learn and Montessori classrooms in a preschool or daycare setting have beautiful stimulating materials. These materials lend to cognitive and intellectual development while making them independent and concentrated; you will agree with me – learning cannot take place without concentration!
I have only touched upon a few differences of the Montessori environment. Watch out for my next blog giving you details on other aspects of Montessori. For details on our program contact [email protected]