Preschool Pedagogies

What is a preschool pedagogy?

In an important sense, pedagogy is an overarching concept; it refers broadly to the deliberate process of cultivating development within a given culture and society. From this point of view, pedagogy has three basic components: (1) curriculum, or the content of what is being taught; (2) methodology, or the way in which teaching is done; and (3) techniques for socializing children in the repertoire of cognitive and affective skills required for successful functioning in society that education is designed to promote.

Curriculum, or the content of teaching, may be designed to encourage learning processes (memory, attention, observation) and cognitive skills (reasoning, comparing and contrasting, classification), as well as the acquisition of specific information, such as the names of the letters of the alphabet. The teaching strategies or methods used in implementing the curriculum are the arranged interactions of people and materials planned and used by teachers. They include the teacher role, teaching styles, and instructional techniques. The third aspect of pedagogy, which might be thought of as cognitive socialization, refers to the role that teachers in early childhood settings play, through their expectations, their teaching strategies, their curricular emphases, in promoting the repertoire of cognitive and affective characteristics and skills that the young child needs to move down the path from natal culture to school culture to the culture of the larger society.

These are a list of some of the more common pedagogies. Though not at all comprehensive, Miss Carrie has strived to include the majority of them within this page. Most share common ideologies, and aim to improve learning for the preschool child. When selecting a preschool, it is best to select one based on your child’s individual needs.

The Montessori approach promotes children’s active, independent observation and exploration of concrete materials to develop concepts/skills. Through this activity children develop a clear image of what they were trying to accomplish, thus developing self-discipline, self-reliance, and intrinsic motivation.

High/Scope is one of the most widely adopted preschool curriculum models to have emerged during the early days of Project Head Start. The curriculum offers children active engagement in planning their learning, as well as opportunity to enhance language and develop concepts through experiencing and representing different aspects of classification, seriation, number, spatial relations, and time.

Core Knowledge Foundation advocates a curriculum designed to immerse preschoolers in a clearly sequential set of experiences that will ensure their “cultural literacy.”

The Waldorf Method is based on an anthroposophical view and understanding of the human being, that is, as a being of body, soul and spirit. The education mirrors the basic stages of a child’s development from childhood to adulthood, which in general reflects the development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present.

Creative Curriculum – A popular teaching approach among a variety of private preschools and Head Start programs, it was developed in the late 1980s by an academic (who later formed the company Teaching Strategies) and is based on current information on how children develop and learn. Emphasis is placed on four developmental areas; social/emotional, cognitive, physical and language.  Teachers are encouraged to arrange the classroom and select materials to create a child-centered learning environment. Teachers observe children’s interactions with their learning environment to assess skills, interests and abilities and come up with activities or learning experiences  that encourage social, emotional and new skill development.

The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy established by Loris Malaguzzi, a teacher in Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. Malaguzzi collaborated with parents in the area to form a new approach to teaching children. A self-guided curriculum was created that pressed the importance of a community centered on creating exploration and discovery for children in a supportive, respectful and stimulating environment. This allowed children to more productively utilize their early years to cultivate a strong sense of individuality.

Within the context of the Project-Based Approach, projects are defined as open ended studies of everyday topics which are worthy of being included in an educational program. Projects emerge from the questions children raise and develop according to their particular interests. Rather than offering immediate answers to the questions children ask, teachers provide experiences through which children can discover the answers themselves through inquiry at field sites and interviewing experts.

Playway method of learning is a child centric method where the method of teaching is informal and natural to suit the child’s interests. These kinds of schools believe that learning is best through play activities. Many schools have been following playway methodology to make teaching more lively and interesting. Playway methods are being incorporated in the school curriculum for teaching languages, mathematics and social studies through a series of activities like games, songs, free play, gardening, construction activities etc. The learning is not just limited to cognitive development, but also for the overall development of the child.

The Bank Street Method focuses on child-centered education. Bank Street-trained teachers aim to foster children’s development by offering diverse opportunities for physical, emotional, cognitive, and social growth. Bank Street programs (available around the world) are based on the belief that children are active learners, explorers, experimenters, and artists. Children focus on five key social studies subjects: cultural anthropology, history, political science, economics, and geography. Arts and science education is woven in with social studies-centered lessons and activities that help children find meaning in the world around them.

Multiple Intelligence: A theory proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983, that differentiates intelligence and learning into various specific (primarily sensory) modalities, rather than seeing it as a single general ability. Simply put – different children have different learning styles. The theory proposes that eight abilities govern the learning process in any individual, especially children – spatial, linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic.

World of Wonder’s theme-based curriculum draws from the many positive aspects of all of these models (experiential, child-centered, using a variety of venues for exploring skills including the arts and dramatic play, the importance of social and emotional development, the teacher as a partner in learning) and then uses the idea of a theme to bring together and give a real-world context to the many skills that children will be introduced to and practice during their preschool years.

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