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Which Preschool is Right for Your Child?

Which Preschool is Right for Your Child?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - January 27th, 2016

When it comes to preschool admissions – Montessori, Progressive (a.k.a. Child-Centered), or Traditional (a.k.a. Cognitive), which program is right for your child?  Today I’m beginning another series on choosing schools for your child. This time I’m asking which preschool is right for your child.

Over the next five days, I hope to shed a light for you on how to best begin your child’s formal education.

Which Preschool is Right for Your Child

Types of Schools From Which to Choose

When I sent my daughter to nursery school, I wanted the most nurturing environment I could find.  I chose a wonderful, progressive downtown school.  A few years later, when we were interviewing uptown for a selective girl’s school, the admissions director there told me that during my daughter’s interview, she would be tested, and expected to draw circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles.  I looked at her in shock and said “but my daughter doesn’t know how to draw those.”  She looked at my daughter’s file and said “Oh yes, your daughter went to one of those downtown play schools.” 

I was very offended that she saw the school I loved so much that way.  But she did.  Meanwhile, I ran into a neighbor who had sent her daughter to nursery school uptown at Christ Church.  She was also applying to the same girl’s school for her daughter.  So I said to her “Guess what.  The kids are going to have to be able to draw circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles to get in.”  My neighbor said, “Oh, Erica can do that.  They spent a whole month on a shapes unit at her nursery school.”

So, when you choose a nursery school for your child, whichever type of school you choose, remember that at the end, there is a test if you want private school or a gifted and talented program.  And all kids take the same test, no matter where they went to nursery school.  Some schools prepare the kids and some don’t.  Frankly, I probably would have chosen the same school I chose then no matter what, because we loved it.  But I wish I had understood from the beginning that there would be an important test at the end, and if my nursery school didn’t prepare my child, I would have to. 

I’m going to cover three of the most common types or philosophies of preschools you’ll see – Montessori, Progressive, Traditional, and finally a Combination of the three approaches. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at a preschool in a church or temple, a co-op school, a public preschool (although these are becoming less available) or a private school – they are likely to have adopted one of these approaches to education.

Come back tomorrow, as we begin with Montessori schools!


Preschool Series:

Montessori Schools

Progressive Schools

Traditional Schools

Combination Schools

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