When choosing a playschool, parents must be aware of the system which the school is following. Instructors should be well trained. A proper and thoughtful approach to learning will show itself in basic factors such as the layout of class areas, equipment used, hands-on activities and the balance of teacher-child driven activities.
The various teaching concepts are:
- Montessori: This approach, developed by Maria Montessori in Rome in the early 1900s, is child-centric, with teachers serving as guides. The play is a child’s work, is the main philosophy and the most distinguishing feature is that children learn at their own pace. There are special Montessori toys called manipulatives that are self-corrective; this means that a child knows if they assembled a puzzle correctly.
The focus on letting children learn at their own pace also affects how the classrooms are arranged, with children aged three, four and five all being in the same class. This allows the older ones to serve as role models for the younger ones.
- Rhyme and Reason: Rhyme and Reason have been carefully designed by The Teacher Foundation – with equal elements of art and craft, songs, hands-on activities and concepts. They use a Thematic approach. The curriculum provides daily lesson ideas, with interesting worksheets, film clips and other resources for the teachers to use. They address the 6 Areas of Learning and Development:
- Communication, Language and Literacy
- Knowledge and Understanding of the world
- Physical development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development.
- Play way Method: The Play way method is a more spontaneous one, which demands creativity from both the teacher and the child. Unlike Montessori, Play way may not be a structured and documented system but more of an adaptation of best practices from across the world, with a greater emphasis on physical activities such as role-play, music and movement, art and crafts, stories.
- Nursery Teacher’s Training programme: Most institutes in India follow The Nursery Teacher’s training programme which is based on the Play way method. This methodology is gaining popularity with many preschools in the country.
- Integral Education System: Instituted by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, this system lays emphasis on five principal aspects corresponding to the five principal activities of the human being; the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic and the spiritual.
- Other Methodologies: Preschools in India have also adopted the best practices of other teaching philosophies such as those of Waldorf Steiner and John Dewey, the Reggio Emilia approach etc.