Early education is a surprisingly debated topic. Parents want to ensure their children receive every possible advantage as they grow. Knowing how early to begin education and what style will work best for each child can be a stressful and challenging decision. Some parents believe that starting a formal-style education of a classroom and desks and structured curriculum will allow their children a head start. Others feel that play-based learning with directed activities will help children learn more naturally. It is important that parents explore the possible options before making an informed decision.
The baseline idea of this style of school is to bring formal learning and play together to enhance a child’s ability to learn at an early age. Through the use of Montessori sensitive periods, where specific play is focused on developing a set of skills, and gentle direction, these schools are highly regarded as an excellent start to education for preschool children. Some start their children as young as two while others wait until the traditional four- to five-year mark to begin.
A structure-based school is what many people think of when they consider placing a child in school. The advantages of this approach are an increased level of focus in some children and a more measurable level of learning than in play-based education. This style of education will not work well for children who are unable to focus or who may still be developing dexterity.
Some parents prefer to educate their children at home from an early age. Many continue this on through higher grades and some stick with preschool years. This can allow for a personalized balance between learning with play and formal education. Daily reading and letter or number exercises allow children to advance traditionally while the informal setting of the home fosters a sense of comfort and play.
However parents decide to teach their preschoolers, each option should be thoughtfully weighed before a choice is made. Each child has unique needs and an individual personality that may work better with each style.