Choosing the right kind of childcare program for your little one is an important part of their development. Every child is different. Selecting a care option that nurtures your child’s personality and individual needs is recommended for the best outcome.
When exploring options for your child, you may come across nursery and Montessori. Understanding the similarities and differences of these two types of childcare services is important when making the right choice.
What is a nursery school?
Nursery is a type of preschool for children ages 3 through 5. Each state and territory in Australia offer nursery at different ages. Some start as early as 3, while others recommend placement for 4- and 5-year-olds only. Children receive education at a nursery in a less formal manner compared with traditional preschool. Learning is play-based, which helps children develop social skills, language and numeracy skills, and motivates them to learn.
What is a Montessori school?
Montessori is a type of preschool based on the Montessori Method. It was created in the early 1900s by Maria Montessori, one of the first female doctors in Italy. She was keen on human development and based her method on observations of children from different cultures, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. The basic idea is that play equals “child’s work.” The difference between Montessori and other child-based play is that the Montessori Method is child-led and self-paced.
Similarities and differences between Montessori and nursery
Both Montessori and nursery schools are similar in that they emphasise play. Both are carefully constructed environments that foster play and discovery. Where they differ is in how that play is directed.
With the Montessori Method, children are encouraged to lead their own learning across five curriculum areas: culture, language, math, practical life, and sensory. Children are presented with options in each area and permitted to move at their own pace in a loosely structured setting. Instructors supervise children as they explore and offer some teaching activities throughout the day. Maria Montessori believed children should be in charge of their own learning through discovery, which is why Montessori programs are less methodical than nurseries.
Nursery is more structured in its activities and delivery of services. Teachers allow for some creative free play, but most lessons are planned to target social-emotional or academic learning. Children must follow a routine for play, classroom lessons, meals and snacks, and nap time (if your nursery offers it).
Choosing the best option
Choosing the best option for your child depends wholly on their personality and learning style. Some children can find play-based nurseries too stimulating. If your child has sensory issues, going with a Montessori program may be better suited to their nature. Likewise, if your child flourishes in a structured setting, the Montessori Method may upset them. Choosing a traditional play-based nursery with a set routine is more suitable.
Whether you choose Montessori or nursery, you can rest assured your child will be prepared for their first year of primary school. Both develop a love for learning and help foster a child’s emotional and social development skills.
Interested in learning where Creative Childcare Centres fit into your plans? Contact us today to book a tour.