There are many different types of preschools, and this variety can prove bewildering to a parent encountering the wonderful world of preschool for the first time. A quality school should always be developmentally appropriate. Some schools will also be both developmentally appropriate and adhere to a particular philosophy or instructional method; some will also impart religious teaching as part of the school day. Here is a look at some popular approaches to preschool, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Most quality preschools will call themselves “developmental,” which means that they are:
Children are encouraged to work individually or in small groups, and there is time in the school day for both. There is also time specifically set aside for gross motor and fine motor activities; developing pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills; creative projects; art and music; and free play.
The goal of the Montessori method is to provide a stimulating, child-centered environment. Montessori encourages children to develop their skills by doing many types of activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction. There is a belief in the "absorbent mind:"
Every activity has its place in the classroom and is self-contained and self-correcting. A child doesn't work with an activity until the teacher or another student has demonstrated its proper use to him or her, and then s/he may use it as s/he wishes (limited only by his or her imagination or a danger to the material, himself or herself or others). Each activity leads directly to a new level of learning or concept. When a child "works," s/he is acquiring the basis for later concepts. Repetition of activities is considered an integral part of this learning process and children are allowed to repeat activities as often as they wish. A child's becoming tired of the repetition is thought to be a sign s/he is ready for the next level of learning. The child proceeds at his or her own pace from concrete objects and tactile experiences to abstract thinking, writing, reading, science, and mathematics.
The Reggio Emilia Approach to preschool education was started by parents and educators, rebuilding the schools of the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. In this approach, children, teachers and parents are considered the three central protagonists in the educational process. There is an emphasis on work in small groups, and is based on the social constructivist model that supports the idea that we construct our own knowledge and learn best through our interaction with peers, adults, things in the world, and symbols.
Children’s intellectual development is fostered through a focus on symbolic representation, including words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play and music, which leads children to surprising levels of communication, symbolic skills and creativity. Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, work on short-and long-term projects, and guide experiences of open-ended discovery and problem-solving. To know how to plan and proceed with their work, teachers listen and observe children closely, and engage in continuous discussion and interpretation of their work and the work of children. These exchanges provide ongoing training and theoretical enrichment. Teachers try to encourage children to find answers to their own questions rather than giving children scientific answers. Teachers document their work with the children, and the documentation helps make the learning visible for parents, teachers and children.
Also vital to the Reggio approach is the design and use of space, which has an underlying order and beauty in the organization of all the space in a school, and the equipment and materials within it.
Even with early panic setting in by the time your child is two, searching for a high-quality preschool can be a nerve-wracking experience. L.A. School Scout offers you a partner in this process. As an educational consulting service, L.A. School Scout offers skilled professional assistance to help families in Los Angeles find and choose a preschool that is a good personal match, which will foster your child’s cognitive, developmental, physical and social-emotional growth.
We provide each family with individual attention, and firsthand knowledge of local educational opportunities. Services include: an assessment of your family’s needs, a list of referrals to specific preschools which best match your family’s needs and your child’s educational needs, a schedule of school tours, proactive networking with preschools on your behalf, and follow up until you get at least one acceptance from a preschool.
Navigating the bewildering variety of preschools and K-12 schools can be overwhelming. Coupled with the need for two hour blocks of time for each school tour, just making the time for this and keeping the names and philosophies straight becomes a very lonely and demanding task.
L.A. School Scout™ is your partner in this process, offering skilled professional assistance to help families find and choose a preschool that is a good match for your family’s expectations, and which will foster your child’s cognitive, creative, physical and social-emotional growth. Services include: a family interview and assessment, a list of referrals to “best match” preschools, a schedule of school tours, application forms and informational packages, and follow up even after your application is in.
General Consultation ONLY AVAILABLE ABOUT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Comprehensive Consultation, Preschool or K-12
All items in the family consultation above plus the following:
This service was developed especially for those relocating to Los Angeles, or to a different neighborhood within Los Angeles, or for those who need an emergency mid-year placement, this service includes:
Your school search can be customized to meet your specific educational needs. Call with any questions – we want to help you find the best possible placement for your child. We can be reached at 877.877.6240 or by Email.