While parents recognize the importance of early childhood education and the impact it can have on future learning success, there is often uncertainty surrounding how to differentiate nuances between various teaching philosophies and what that means for their child’s education.
Play-based curriculum, also known as child-centered curriculum, is currently the most widely utilized approach across American early education centers. Through this philosophy, teachers are able to engage students in fun, play-based activities while incorporating developmentally appropriate, educational lessons.
Rainbow’s core curriculum, The Creative Curriculum®, falls into this category. Classrooms are structured to provide children in similar age-groups interaction with activities that stimulate multiple senses and expose them a variety of both academic and abstract activities including Common Core subjects, art and dramatic play. While teachers tailor each activity to ensure every child is learning in a way that works best for them, all students move through the curriculum at a similar pace. Teachers use examples of how to successfully accomplish tasks and activities, and the class explores each educational lesson together.
In addition to academic lessons, the group-style classroom approach also provides children with valuable social and cooperation skills.
Montessori curriculum takes a different, slightly more structured approach to education, allowing children to move through activities and lessons at their own pace. Because children work independently, classrooms group multiple ages in each classroom, promoting self-esteem and leadership skills.
In contrast to the sensory-stimulating toys one may find to accompany a play-based program, Rainbow’s Montessori program utilizes uniquely designed toys, known as “manipulatives.” The purpose of manipulatives is to provide self-correcting tools that allow children to identify if a task is completed correctly, without being shown by teacher.
Educators also play a slightly different role in Montessori classrooms. As opposed to demonstrating the proper way to a complete an activity, such as in a play-based program, Montessori teachers work as facilitators between the materials and manipulatives and allow children to learn through their own engagement with the toy, not by observing specific demonstrations.
Choosing the Program Right For You
While there are multiple programs available for your child’s early education, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Assess your and your child’s goals and expectations for his/her program, and the environment in which they are most comfortable. Speak with the Center Director and classroom teachers to understand their specific approach.
To learn more about Rainbow’s solutions, please speak with your Center Director or see our Montessori Parent Guide.