Before venturing into what pre school services there are, we can first explore the types of preschool programs that exist. There are about 6 main types of preschool programs: Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emelia, High Scope, Bank Street, and Parent Co-ops. Maria Montessori developed the comprehensive Montessori approach which focuses on nature, creativity, and hands-on learning to facilitate development. The goal is to develop a child’s character, senses, life skills, and academic abilities. The Waldorf method is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. These preschools support the child’s spirit, soul, and body to hone in on that child’s interests and build on their strengths. The Reggio Emilia school concept focuses on exploration, community, and self-expression and was developed in Italy. These practices are student led and they learn through art, play, projects, and activities. A High Scope classroom focuses on structure, organization, and routine. Children learn through planned experiences in the general topics of math, science, and reading. Bank Street preschool is based on the philosophy of John Dewy and focuses on the mental, social, emotional, and physical growth and the students set the learning pace with the teacher as a guide. Finally, if a parent wants to be a part of their child’s preschool experience, a cooperative preschool is a place where parents actively participate in the classroom on a daily basis. They work closely with the teacher and the students to build a strong and supportive learning community.
Some pre school services that are provided are all day care, partial day care, field trips, swim lessons, belly time, outdoor and social exploration, academic lessons, art projects, fact memorization through song and dance, character building, special education referrals, behavior management, self expression support, fitness and nutrition programs, outlets for emotional expression, development of social skills, transportation, fine and gross motor skill development, and much more. Preschool is an integral part of a child’s development and it is a great segway into a child’s first formal education experience. It gives a child the opportunity to grow, develop social and emotional skills, get used to a routine, learn to make good choices, take care of themselves and others, work on language and cognitive skills, develop motor skills, and prepare them for kindergarten. Families need to do some research and discuss what is important for them when choosing a preschool experience that will meet all of their needs.