Thursday, 23 July 2015

Five Early Childhood Education Programs You Should Know

Early childhood education programs have become prevalent in the United States. Thanks to the changing educational system, parents are lucky to have a range of options at their disposal such as Montessori, Head Start, Waldorf programs and Reggio Emilia. As someone interested in becoming an ECE specialist, you must be familiar with these methods before starting your career in early childhood education

1. Public preschool

The recent decades have seen public preschools gaining a lot of popularity throughout the United States. These schools are state-funded, and are mainly designed for families with low-income. They provide education to any child living in the specific school district.

2. Head Start

Many Head Start programs are funded by the federal government and are meant for low-income families who have kids less than five years. Also known as, Early Head Start programs they focus on pregnant women and kids up to three years. In addition, children with psychological and medical conditions and undergoing medical treatment are eligible for this program.

3. Montessori Schools

Montessori school programs target those kids who are in the age group of three to six years. Some include toddler-oriented programs while a few others are for infants. Kids enrolled in these programs are exposed to hands-on learning experience with the help of a series of aids and materials. Educational experts of these facilities are known as "directresses"; they guide children through certain activities instead of merely teaching them in a conventional fashion. However, the children set their own pace, and the teacher is cooperative in helping them play to learn.

4. Reggio Emilia approach

As the name suggests, this program uses an Italian methodology just like the Montessori school programs. In this approach, parents, children, and teachers make a collaborative effort in the school. If a child shows interest in a specific activity, they are given many opportunities to learn a curriculum that nourishes that particular interest. Teachers also encourage parents to participate in the child's curriculum. They are provided with additional educational materials to help feed the child’s interests.

5. Waldorf Early Childhood Program

In the Waldorf early childhood program, the teachers participate in domestic, artistic, and practical activities. They motivate the kids in their classes to emulate them. The experts also encourage young minds to make use of their imagination during storytelling and dramatic role-play sessions. The toys used in Waldorf programs are made using natural materials. Children are also encouraged to bring natural items so that they can explore and play with them. The Waldorf approach targets kids on three developmental stages – o to 7, 7 to 14, and 14 to 18 years.

Parents today have a strong inclination towards getting their young kids enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs. This has increased the demand and need for skilled early childhood education teachers. To cater to this growing need, several traditional and online colleges now offer courses that train and guide aspirants to become skilled personnel in early childhood education. If you are interested in a career in ECE, it’s best to start your research online today.