Pre-elementary

An informative briefing on private preschools. We'll provide information on early childhood education approaches from Montessori to Reggio Emilia, testing and assessments for preschool admission and advice on finding the right school for your child.
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Reggio Emilia is an approach to early childhood education which has gained popularity throughout the western world. What is Reggio Emilia? Here are five facts about it. There's much more to Reggio Emilia, of course, but this will give you an idea of what it is all about.

It is strictly an early childhood education approach.
Reggio Emilia values "the potential of all children to think, learn, and construct knowledge." Like Montessori Reggio Emilia is a progressive, child-centered approach to education. The idea is that the child must be free to discover and to learn for himself.

It is not a formal, doctrinaire approach.
Unlike the Waldorf and Montessori schools there is no formal teacher training, credentialing and authorization process for Reggio Emilia. The idea is that teachers and parents take the concepts learned by observation and interaction with Reggio Emilia and incorporate them into their classrooms. There is no such thing as a Reggio school. The only Reggio schools are those in the municipality of Reggio Emilia. All other schools which embrace the Reggio philosophy are considered to be "Reggio inspired".

It grew out of the aftermath of World War II.
Much of Italy lay in ruins after World War II. In Reggio Emilia a young teacher by the name of Loris Malaguzzi developed an approach which valued the ability of children to learn spontaneously. The relationship of child, parent and teacher is integral to Malaguzzi approach. The Reggio and Steiner (Waldorf) schools both arose
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Dr. Maria Montessori founded her Casa de Bambini in a poor neighborhood of Rome, Italy in 1906. She blazed new trails in early education by believing in the innate goodness of children, by encouraging children to be curious and to explore and by creating a teaching environment which followed the child.
 
Dr. Montessori's experiments and research ultimately produced a worldwide movement. Over 100 years later her findings and research have stood the test of time and have been validated by modern analysis and investigation. In the United States Montessori schools multiplied like rabbits from the 1960's and onwards. Unlike Dr. Montessori's schools which served poor children, most Montessori schools in North America educate children from the middle classes. Indeed the Montessori approach has been used with children in all kinds of situations. It is very adaptable to the needs of a wide range of children.
 
Dr. Montessori never trademarked the name Montessori nor did she claim any patents on her methodology. The result is that there are many Montessori schools out there claiming to be the real thing.  Some schools may include elements of Dr. Montessori's methods and philosophy in their teaching.  Other schools quietly sublimate the parts of Dr. Montessori's thinking which aren't perhaps appropriate in their setting. In short, there almost as many flavors of Montessori as there are schools. Not a bad thing in itself, but as always, do your due diligence. Caveat emptor!
 
Here are five things you should look for when vetting a school which purports to
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In the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries Friedrich Froebel, Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner were trail blazers in early education. Their ideas and philosophies shaped early childhood education as we know it in the 21st century. Who were these people?
 
Freidrich Froebel
 
Freidrich Froebel (1782-1852) invented kindergarten which literally means a child's garden. Froebel wanted children to interact with their surroundings. Interacting with nature was central to his philosophy of education. He believed that interacting with nature would lead children in a closer examination of how things work. Froebel was influenced by the Swiss pedagogue Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) whose methods and approach to education in turn shaped a young Albert Einstein when he attended the local school in Aarau. Today few people with the exception of  educators or trivia buffs know who Froebel is even though his influence in early childhood education was profound.
 
        
From left to right:  Friedrich Froebel; Dr. Maria Montessori; Rudolf Steiner

One of the features of Froebel's approach to teaching children was the use of gifts. He developed five gifts which were to be given to the child in ascending order. The gifts were designed to teach awareness of shapes, spatial relationships and many more concepts to even the youngest child.
 
Dr. Maria Montessori
 
Italian physician and pedagogue Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) dared to take on the enormous challenge of educating poor,
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