|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Education Child development|
Childhood educators tend to have different approaches and philosophies to education. Contemporary approaches in early childhood education curriculum emphasize the importance of the teacher as a curriculum decision maker. The approach used by educators while teaching is created from a variety of resources which could include an understanding of child development, experiences with children in different learning environments and early childhood theorists. This research paper compares and contrasts the three main types of preschools curriculum approach which are Montessori, High Scope and Reggio Emilio.The main social components that are associated with the Montessori approach is that the link that exists between family and school should be considered as being very important. The environment of the Montessori program is homelike to ensure that the children learn practical life issues as well. The Montessori program tends to have several age groups, and this aims at providing the children with more opportunity of learning from each other. The older children also serve as role models to the younger children. The Montessori curriculum approach advocates that children usually have a better understanding by doing and therefore once the children are given the lesson and the material they can work independently, and this can be done on a mat which designates their space. The materials used in the Montessori curriculum approach are didactic. This refers to materials that sensory experiences and self-correcting is involved. The materials are generally designed to be pleasing .The children using this curriculum tend to learn more by smelling, tasting, touching and seeing as compared to just listening. The teachers using this program use the method of natural observation (Morrison, 2018).
In the Montessori approach, the teacher is the same throughout those years which allows the teacher to develop a close teacher-student relationship. The role of the teacher is to assist the children in navigating materials and kids work at the different levels they are working out without being judgmental. The teacher also maintains regular communications with the parent, follows the interests and needs of the child and prepares an environment that is educationally interesting and safe (File, Mueller, & Wisneski, 2012).
The Reggio Emilio approach tends to reflect on co-constructivism and constructivism. Few people have had the experience of this type of program since it has not yet been implemented in the United States unlike the High Scope and the Montessori approach. The co-construction increases the knowledge level that is being developed. This is experienced when the active learning happens in conjunction with working with others. The leading social components in this type of curriculum approach is that collaboration and cooperation play a significant role in the revisiting of social learning. In the Reggio Emilio curriculum, the meaning of an experience is mostly built on a social context. In this program, there is a teacher who has undergone special training that supports the curriculum development of the children and other faculty members during preschool. This curriculum approach enables children to create more extensions and different expertise which are facilitated by conflict and questions. It is the role of the teacher to actively and aggressively listen and enhance collaboration among all members of the community through different ways. The teacher has the role of looking for solutions and help the children solve problems. The role of the teacher in the Reggio Emilio curriculum is also to work with other teachers collaboratively, act as recorders for the children to help them trace and revisit their actions and words as well as organize environments that are rich in provocations and possibilities (Sluss, 2018).
The Reggio Emilio environment setup is similar to the Montessori curriculum approach whereby the environment is homelike, and every child is also provided with a place to put his/her belongings. The primary method that is used in this type of program is documentation. Documentation can be done by taking photos, writing observations and making videos. Documentation helps to illustrate both the product and the process. The commonly used type of materials in the Reggio Emilio curriculum is the flowcharts. The flow charts help record information in a way that is easy to understand as one can see the step-by-step process regarding how relationships are built.
The High Scope curriculum is similar to the Montessori as the children learn through just doing. In this type of program, the children are encouraged to explore their creativity. The main social components involved in the High Scope program is that the children are usually encouraged to be active learners through adult interactions that are supportive. In the High Scope program, there are specific periods every day for the large group, small groups and for the children to play independently. The method used in this type of program is plan-do-review. This method gives the children a sense of control by cleaning up. The materials used by the children are usually labeled which assist the children to return the materials to the right places and also help the children to learn organizational skills. The teacher observes typically and records what the children are doing (MacNaughton, 2003).
It is the role of the teacher to ask the children open-ended questions to encourage them to be creative and express their thoughts. The teacher also has the role of facilitating learning through encouragement, engaging into positive adult-child interaction strategies and planning activities based on the interests of the children.
What I consider as beneficial and worth incorporating in my teaching practice is setting a curriculum regarding what children should learn. This is important to the teacher as well as the children since it helps the teacher to be in a position of maintaining the right classroom environment. A curriculum reduces conflict in the classroom since everything is usually pre-planned. An appropriate curriculum creates a learning environment which is less frustrating and hence the teacher is also able to find joy in whatever activity that he/she do which in turn to the children being happy and the parents get satisfied as well. A curriculum is essential in the teaching process since it builds on the current needs, interests, and strengths of the child by encouraging them to be responsible for their learning and enabling them to make children choices (Clark & Waller, 2007).
I would feel confident implementing the Montessori curriculum approaches considering I have the AMI and AMS credentials. I would feel confident implementing these curriculum approaches since I believe that as a teacher I am in a position of following the interests and needs of the child, ensure that I create an environment that is educationally interesting and safe for the child. Use of the Montessori curriculum approach creates respect for the child as it provides the children with an opportunity to learn, do and think for themselves. The children are able to develop the relevant skills and abilities that are required to become confident learners through the freedom of choice.
I would avoid the Reggio Emilio curriculum approaches. The reason I would avoid this curriculum approach is that emergent curriculum is not planned. This can easily result in frustrating the teachers and demotivate the children to learn due to the confusion that may be encountered. This curriculum is based on the interests and experiences of the children, and this may hinder the child from exploring new ideas, and also the teacher may not be in a position to know the strengths and weaknesses of the child.
In conclusion, the three curriculum approaches offer teaching opportunities which are fantastic to the children. The approaches have differences which are fully invested in the development of children. The early childhood teachers should be conscious about their everyday practice, be informed about the different curriculum content and have adequate knowledge of the different ways that children learn. Teachers should understand the different methods and materials used in the Montessori, Reggio Emilio and High Scope curriculum approach.
Clark, M. M., & Waller, T. (2007). Early childhood education and care: Policy and practice. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
File, N., Mueller, J., & Wisneski, D. (2012). Curriculum in Early Childhood Education: Re-examined, Rediscovered, Renewed. Routledge.
MacNaughton, G. (2003). Shaping early childhood: Learners, curriculum and contexts. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Morrison, G. S. (2018). Early childhood education today.
Sluss, D. J. (2019). Supporting play in early childhood: Environment, curriculum, assessment.
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