The main difference between Montessori and Kindergarten
The Guide to Preschool
Choosing the right preschool in Singapore can be overwhelming especially if you are a first-time parent. Preschool sets the foundation for early childhood skills.
While all Preschools teach the same curriculum, they can do so differently. The two common teaching approaches in Singapore are Montessori and Kindergarten:
Gaining popularity in recent years amongst parents in Singapore, Montessori method of education supports individuality of every child as students have control over the path and pace of their learning. For students in a Montessori classroom, this means the choice of “work” that is matched to his/her individual interests, strengths, and abilities, thus ensuring optimal learning in an emotionally supportive environment.
Aside from reading, writing, and watching, the Montessori approach places emphasis on the education of the senses, hones their observational skills and ability to draw inferences get sharpened. It is offered to children between the ages of three to five years, most Montessori schools like NPSI Singapore has child-centric approach and conducive learning environment. Montessori programme tends to have a large space that is divided into multiple activity zones to encourage and engage children in exploration. This is unlike the traditional approach where students are restricted to doing activities in their seats.
In addition to encouraging children to learn at their own pace, there are other benefits to enrolling your child in a Montessori school.
Child’s self-construction is fostered through self-directed activities and opportunities provided in this prepared environment. Our youngest students learn inquiry-based methodologies through play-based approach. Beginning at an early age the Montessori child emerges to be a curious learner. Children are being placed in a tactile environment and are taught life skills such as dressing themselves, allowing them to develop greater self-sufficiency and personal independence. This ultimately leads to a sense of purpose and motivation for the child.
- A desire to question the world
Educators in Montessori classes intervene with the children’s learning process. Instead of directing each step of the child’s learning process, their role is to encourage children to find answers on their own. This results in them gaining more confidence in themselves and their learning, while increasing their desire to learn more about the world around them.
- Creative thinkers
The multi-age classroom setting is one of the most well-known features of the Montessori classroom. Children in Montessori environments learn alongside their peers in three-year bands. There is more peer-to-peer learning and opportunities for self-guided and informal learning. Students are encouraged to think out-of-the-box, reflect on the process and find solutions on their own. It’s about triggering them to become creative thinkers. Through this process, they pick up and appreciate differences in culture; teaching them respect for others and enabling them to build better relationships.
Kindergarten represents the foundational years for your child's learning. Therefore, it's important that you get the very best education for your child at this time. Usually offered to children between the ages of 3 - 5 years, kindergartens in NPSI Singapore have two entry points:- Lower kindergarten (K1) and Upper kindergarten (K2). Kindergarten programme in NPSI offers a broad-based approach towards primary school academics by placing more emphasis on core subjects such as English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics, and Science.
As children tend to be more curious at this age, kindergartens encourage active and experiential learning to develop appropriate skills and knowledge. NPSI Singapore also makes use of learning methods such as Jolly Phonics and Oxford Reading schemes to provide a solid reading and writing foundation for their students.
Preschool is where your child’s learning journey begins. It is an important bridge to Primary School where students are prepared to adapt and learn confidently.
Aside from its comprehensive curriculum, kindergarten in NPSI Singapore also uses all-round learning methods to create a holistic, and creative environment for its students to learn in, by striking a balance between teacher-directed tasks and child-initiated learning.
Furthermore, the teaching staff are not just experienced in early childhood education, they are also sent for courses to stay up-to-date with the latest pedagogy and educational practices. Additionally, NPSI Singapore has a low teacher-to-student ratio to ensure that every student receives the optimal level of attention and learning opportunity to grow.
At the end of the day
Choosing the school with the right learning values is paramount when it comes to your child’s learning and emotional development. For parents who are interested in encouraging their children to be leaders and engage in play-based, self-directed learning, a Montessori curriculum is ideal. However, a kindergarten curriculum is better suited if you would like them to have a more academically-focused learning environment. Both programmes help to better prepare them for Primary school.
Having been in the education industry for six decades, NPS International School is one of the top international schools that have a favourable learning environment to nurture their students and prepare them for the upcoming journey in Primary School.