Choosing an Alternative to Conventional Preschool

A look inside Montessori & Our Program inspired by Waldorf Education

For many parents choosing the school their child attends is a conversation that happens even before conception. It factors into where they choose to live, how much money they need to make and how many children they have.

Education for the whole child

Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner both had a strong sense of societal reform built into the content they were teaching. They believe in developing the whole child, teaching children to think for themselves and, above all, showing them how to avoid violence. These are beautiful ideals which will help build a better world for the future.

Preserving Childhood

Rudolph Steiner and Maria Montessori both believed in the importance of childhood and in protecting children from the stress facing adults.

Child Development Focused

Each use curricula which are developmentally appropriate and have based their education on the needs of children and not on governmental curriculum.Tues-AM

Learn by Doing

Both approaches believe in hands on as well as an intellectual approach to learning. Both approaches also work in multi-year cycles when it comes to child development. Montessori uses six year cycles. Rudolf Steiner believed in seven year cycles.

Montessori is a very good fit for today’s head focused society

While each philosophy holds the child in high regard there are some significant differences to each approach in regard to play, toys, social development and intellectual development.

Differences

Montessori appeals to parents who are very intellectual and have a strong desire for their child to be “kindergarten ready” when they enter the public school system the transition between Montessori and public school can be done relatively easily as the two methods do not differ widely academically.

Rudolf Steiner however was farther outside “the box” than Ms. Montessori.

Steiner takes a much longer view of child development

He strongly believed in the unseen world, that we are spiritual beings. His efforts to speak to and enrich our souls are woven throughout the curriculum offered by Waldorf educators. For parents who are uncomfortable with believing in the ethereal this is often too far of a stretch. Much of the benefit of this kind of education cannot easily be seen until a child reaches adolescence or adulthood. Steiner takes a much longer view of childhood and growth of the human being than we in our immediate gratification based society have come to appreciate.

Montessori provides tangible practical and touchable results which appeal to concerned parents and is a very good fit for today’s society. It takes a special and dedicated parent to hold the ideals of Rudolf Steiner on their parenting path as the unseen world of emotion and spirit is not always immediately apparent.

Obviously a 700 word article cannot do either of these methods true justice but I hope this has been helpful for you in deciding which road you would like to walk down with your family. I encourage you to look more deeply into the work of both of these passionate teachers to learn more about your child’s growth & development.

This article originally appeared on KamloopsParents.com in September 2014

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