Re: Preschool vs. childcare center for 3 yr olds
posted at 1/13/2013 9:41 AM EST
But at a childcare center your child DOES LEARN letters, numbers, pre-reading skills, math and pre-math skills, etc. It's NOT just at preschools (aka, 1/2 day things for 3-5 yr olds)!!! Look, preschool/nursery schools used to be "the thing" because moms were home to trundle children to/from school. But now that many of us work, we can't trundle. So we choose full day childcare centers that have preschool embedded. Or should. Not all childcare centers do this, some are horrible. But from what it sounds like, KAM, from other posts, I bet your son is learning about language as they read stories at circle (or morning meeting, whatever they call it) and sing songs and have discussions about various topics at circle. Then when he builds with blocks, legos and parquetry blocks he is learning about spatial relations, that two of these squares equals one of these rectangles, that to get this bridge to work he needs a longer or shorter block, he's learning about part-whole concepts, he's noticing and working with color, shape, size, and sorting and withing categories (aka sets). All pre-math work. In the dramatic play area he's using language as he pretends to be the waiter, and is pre-writing when he scribbles on his pad with a crayon to take the other kids' orders. He's using language to negotiate (we don't have pasgetti, only pizza at our restaurant), and he's then doing higher ordered thinking when he figures out how to deliver the "meal" and set it up. In the water table, he's learning that it takes 3 cups of water to fill that larger bucket, and what happens when he dumps that larger bucket back into the smaller cup. He's doing scientific thinking when he wonders what would happen if he did this, or how many of the tiniest cups it would take to fill the bucket with water (or rice, sand, flour, oatmeal, cornstarch). And all that art work? He's working on fine motor skills he'll need to write and type, he's learning which two colors when mixed together make another, he's figuring out how to make fine lines and wider, larger lines - heck, he's learning that with one brush it's possible to make two different width of lines!
And then he's also learning to negotiate with others, take turns when everyone wants the same brush, to share space with others as four children use the block area, he's learning that he has rights but so do others (when they must give everyone a turn to touch the object the teacher brought to circle time), and he's learning how to be a friend, how to work with those he doesn't like very much, he's learning he loves to learn, and he's learning to listen to other adults than his parents.
If they have a good writing center, he's learning to make some letters, and even if he can't write letters correctly now, he's learning the power of written language when he's encouraged to dictate stories or sentences to explain his artwork and his teachers write these words down for all to see and read. He's seeing different letters, having them talked about (that's right, that's the letter K, your names starts with K - what other words start with the K K K sound? kangaroo? right! and what about what we had for snack this morning that was green? right, kiwi! and, yes, carrot does start with the same k k k sound, good job! - no need to dicuss the finer points of K vs. C at this young age, or perhaps the teacher says, carrot has the same sound at the front, but starts with the letter C, like your friend Carrie over there - her name starts with C!).
Oh, he's LEARNING!!!!!!
Now, of course they'll learn in Montessori, but it's a different philosophy. Visit the schools and see if their philosophy is a good fit for your family and son, but if your childcare center offers the above, he's learning, it won't only happen at a Montessori, believe me. (by the way, one of the styles of materials that Maria Montessori created were "self-correcting" ones. And we in the ECE field use these materials all the time because they've become part of all ECE programs, not just Montessori. For ex the wooden puzzle that has 3 wooden rods sticking up and pieces that fit over these rods - one rod is square, one round, one a triangle, so therefore only some of the pieces fit down over the square vs round vs triangle one. Well, that's self-correcting: a child by himself can tell which ones works over which rod and therefore learns about/notices the different inside hole and doesn't need an adult to "show him" or "teach him" about this. Your schools all have these, many of you have them at home.) There are other materials that are very "montessori" that ECE programs don't use, but we do use some of the same ones.