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Different Preschool Learning Styles in Malaysia - Which One Is Right for Your Child?

As society gets more and more competitive, and parents become more and more informed and involved, the education landscape—even for early childhood—is not what it used to be. It’s only natural that parents want the best for their children, and modern parents now have the luxury of choice in terms of how they want their children to be raised beyond the walls of their home.


When it comes to preschool learning styles, different methods can benefit different children in different ways.

A child’s early years can tremendously affect how they will grow up to be in adolescence and adulthood, so picking the right preschool for your little one is essential in giving them a good start in life and in education. Here are some of the more common preschool learning styles or teaching methods available in Malaysia:


Montessori


The Montessori philosophy in a nutshell:

The most common of the bunch, the Montessori approach focuses on hands-on self-learning and allows children to explore concepts through tangible learning rather than abstract learning. Instead of leading classes as in traditional classroom settings, teachers serve as facilitators, and it’s the children who take the lead in their own exploration or learning.


Due to the nature of independent play among children between child and teacher, the Montessori environment encourages children to explore and learn on their own, cultivating a child’s sense of independence. Because of this, perhaps this environment may not be the best for parents who would like to be involved in their child’s learning. While the often quiet, uninterrupted playing or learning time is great for allowing children to explore at their own pace and promotes self-discipline and concentration, this may not be suitable for more energetic or rambunctious children.


Ideal for:

Children who are independent and focused, and parents who prefer a child-centred environment that encourages the child’s self-development without the need for an authoritative figure.


Reggio Emilia


The Reggio Emilia philosophy in a nutshell:

Emphasising on sensorial, hands-on and self-directed discovery learning, the Reggio Emilia approach is student-centred and project-based. Children are also creators of their own experiences and open-ended projects are common. This approach focuses a lot on children exploring and discovering concepts through their own research, exploration and questioning, while teachers take a back seat.


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There is no set method or curriculum for the Reggio Emilia approach, but its most well-known aspect is the “hundred languages” of children. It is believed that children have several ways that they can communicate to others, express themselves and show their understanding of the world around them. Through different forms like art, language, music and movement, children are able to explore a hundred different ways of thinking, exploring, experiencing, and learning.


Ideal for:

Children who are self-starters and more independent learners, since lesson plans are very much shaped by them.


Waldorf


The Waldorf philosophy in a nutshell:

Also known as the Steiner approach, the Waldorf philosophy revolves around creative, co-operative play in a warm, nurturing, and homelike environment. Teachers are more involved during play time, and activities typically engage in all five senses like painting, singing, baking, and pretend play, among others. Its homey nature also helps children foster an appreciation for nature and their environment.


Due to its humanitarian approach to education, Waldorf schools teach children social responsibility, respect, and compassion. In addition, the Waldorf approach also emphasises the role of imagination in learning, so free play, imaginative learning, and involvement in the arts are strongly encouraged.


See also: Do Textbooks Still Have a Place in Modern Classrooms?


Ideal for:

Children with an active imagination who have an inclination towards the creative arts, are social creatures, and like group-oriented activities.


Forest School


The Forest School philosophy in a nutshell:

Described as a classroom without ceilings or walls, the Forest School approach is centred around nature and outdoor play. By using the natural environment, children get to learn personal and social skills such as teamwork and problem-solving, as well as more abstract concepts like communication and mathematics. This approach literally immerses the child in the natural world, and every activity is a learning experience.


Ideal for:

Children who are more active and adventurous, and parents who want children to learn and explore concepts through outdoor activities and nature.


Of course, every preschool teaching method offers an array of benefits for different reasons and for different children. Ultimately, it all depends on how your child learns and where your child fits best.

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