What is more important when searching for childcare for my child? The curriculum, teacher or environment? I am confused. Help!
As you go about on your research for a suitable childcare for your child, it is important to identify your own philosophy and values that you’d like to impart in your child. This will help you to narrow down to the preschools which philosophy, beliefs and values are aligned with yours.
Philosophy, beliefs and values set the framework to determine the curriculum approach, the goals and plans for children to acquire skills and knowledge through activities, experiences and opportunities.
Once you have identified the school’s curriculum, you might want to find out how the curriculum is delivered. Will it be through child-directed activities, learning in small groups, hands-on exploration, and so on? This will give you an idea of how well the curriculum stimulates and challenges your child physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and linguistically – all while meeting the individual learning styles and needs of the children.
While a well-designed curriculum with thoughtful and responsible teachers are important, these are nothing without the presence of a responsive and respectful learning environment for children to learn, play and explore through quality and engaging interactions. Good teachers would understand this and take into consideration when planning the environment by organising time, space, materials and choices based on the needs and skills of the children. At the end of the day, it should be a place where children can freely explore and interact with their teachers, peers and materials.
In short, a good preschool programme that caters to a child’s temperament, needs and interests through a dynamic curriculum and quality teachers in a responsive and respectful environment are key factors to take into consideration during the preschool selection stages.
Deputy Director (Early Childhood), Curriculum and Training.