A child’s first learning experiences can go a long way to shaping their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. Early childhood care and education can play a significant role in influencing this development, which is why parents justifiably approach their choice of preschool cautiously.
There are numerous daycare, preschool, Waldorf program and Montessori school options to choose from, all of which can set a child on different paths to learning how to learn. Early childhood educators need to be aware of these various learning approaches to communicate relevant differences to parents and broaden their employment opportunities. Montessori schools, in particular, are popular among parents for their child’s early education because of their distinctive alternative education.
Here are three key differences between Montessori and traditional preschool.
Montessori Schools are Based on Independent Learning
Italy’s first female physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, opened her first school in 1907 and within a decade her method was found in locations throughout the world. Her school program was established on the principle that children learn by working independently in a child-centric environment. This approach encourages children to learn at their own pace, choosing the activities that most interest them and being able to pursue these for long, uninterrupted blocks of time.
In the Montessori system, children work uninterrupted on tasks that interest and promote their learning each day. The child’s work and efforts are respected as is. Educators in these environments extensively observe and take records, planning individual projects that enable the child to improve according to their stage of development. Not all children will necessarily perform their best in these environments and instructors may need to take extra time with some.
Montessori Students of Different Ages Work Together
An interesting element of the Montessori system is that classrooms include children of mixed ages. The theory is that younger children learn from the older ones and the latter get to develop their leadership skills. In early childhood, kids would be grouped in three to six year spans, such as 0-3 and 3-6 year olds. There is frequent interaction and opportunity to practice social skills.
In their (ECA) early childcare assistant training, teachers learn to teach one child at a time while overseeing a large group busy at different tasks. Montessori teachers are trained to recognize a child’s ability according to age, ability and specific interests, so as to guide their individual progress.
ECA Training Accommodates Unique Approaches to Learning
Montessori schools believe that the environment should be arranged according to subject area, with free movement throughout the room and frequent combinations of diverse subject matter. To help the child focus, ECAs silently demonstrate how to use available materials so children can choose to practice with them later. These materials tend to encourage practical application rather than pretend play games typically found in traditional preschool.
ECA training prepares students in guidance, observation, curriculum planning and specific development for young children at each stage. Grads are equipped with the skills and knowledge to pursue employment at preschools, daycares, Montessori schools or other childcare centres, each with their unique advantages and excellent options for young children.
Would you like to launch your rewarding career as an Early Childcare Assistant?
Explore Computek College’s ECA program for more information.