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.
View the most popular articles in Pre-elementary:
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Your Options for Child Care and Preschool
Beginning to think about your child care and preschool options? Some thoughts and guidance here.
You and I are going to take a quick look at the options available to us for educating our preschooler. The first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Tens of thousands of other parents are in the exact same situation you are in. You know that you have to find a safe, reliable, trustworthy preschool or child care center for your precious toddler. You are not quite sure how to assess and evaluate all the preschool and daycare options in your area. With these concerns and requirements on the table let's discuss how to proceed.
First, a factoid for you: 
"According to the 1995 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), over thirty-six percent of families of preschoolers with working mothers primarily relied on child care in the home of a relative, family day care provider or other non relative. Almost twenty-six percent of families used organized child care facilities as their primary arrangement."   
Child Care Centers (Day cares): A widely available option
Decades ago when you had a child, mother stayed home and looked after the baby. Father went to work. In the 21st century that model seems so quaint. Also not viable. Most families need two or more incomes just to stay afloat these days. That's where daycare comes in. A good child care center will allow both parents to manage their busy schedules without too much worry.
How do child care centers work?
Most child care centers take infants from the age of six weeks.
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5 Clues That It Might Not  Really Be Montessori School
Of the approximately 4,000 Montessori schools in the U.S. only 1,100 schools are members of the American Montessori Society. Does this matter? What else should you look for to determine if a Montessori school is the real thing?
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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Froebel, Montessori and Steiner: Champions of Children
Friedrich Froebel, Maria Montessori, and Rudolf Steiner were trailblazers in early education.
In the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries Friedrich Froebel, Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner were trailblazers in early education. Their ideas and philosophies shaped early childhood education as we know it in the 21st century. Who were these people? Why did they feel that early education was so important?
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.
This video offers an overview of Froebel.
Dr. Maria Montessori
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