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When I was searching for schools for my children I learned about the different methods being taught in schools. I discovered a play-based and Montessori learning philosophy.

Parents are taking an active role in their children’s educations these days, and there are many differing ideas or philosophies on the best approach.

A quality child care provider, like Surry Hills (a progressive child care centre in Sydney), should be able to discuss these viewpoints among others to give your child a head start in their education.

Two very popular learning philosophies are play-based learning and the Montessori Method. They are by no means the only ones but can give you an insightful look at two ways of thinking about learning.

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Play Based Learning

This is a simple idea, that children do their best learning during play. By letting kids play with minimal interference, they acquire new skills and knowledge better than they do when presented with worksheets and lessons.

It may not look like it at first, but play sessions can teach a number of social skills, language and math concepts, basic understandings of physics and more.

The best way to use this approach is to allow a lot of unstructured play time but also offer specific fun activities to boost creativity and to introduce new ideas to your child’s environment. A good mix of sensory, dramatic, creative, group and outside play activities can easily fill up a full day of “learning” while the kids are having nothing but fun.

It can be difficult to really understand this idea, so some parents simply add in additional play time to their days to allow for play-based learning, rather than ditching other kinds of educational altogether. You don’t have to go with an all-or-nothing approach.

Montessori Method

The Montessori approach is all about taking an individualized look at the child and taking all the necessary steps to lead them to be their best. That usually means letting a child take the lead in what is to be explored, and following their personal interests rather than a strict pre-planned curriculum.

While play is almost always part of the Montessori method, it’s not the core of it like it is in play-based learning. Lessons are more structured, though still focusing on what interests the child. Groups and classes tend to include multiple ages to foster better communication and acceptance with other children who are not exactly the same. Teachers get involved and learn along with kids, rather than lead the class.

This particular philosophy is the core behind the Montessori schools that offer personalized education plans for children from before pre-school and onward. There are more than 4,000 Montessori schools in the USA but they are found across the world. Though this method is well-known as part of these schools, you can utilize their techniques at home too.

Both of these methods are very popular among homeschoolers and they are becoming more and more well-known in quality daycare centers and even schools. If you think your child could benefit form one of these approaches (or others), you shouldn’t hesitate to discuss it with their caregivers or teachers to see if some new direction can be added to their day.

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