Our Kids Canada's Private School Guide

19th Annual

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52 Our Kids C anada's Private School Guide – 19th Annual Edition Q uality early-childhood ed- ucation and care plays a valuable role in a child's academic and social development. This is the time of life when chil- dren develop patterns of behaviour, including those in their interactions with others, that often provide a foundation for the rest of their lives. Parents not only look to preschool programs for care, but also to pre- pare children for success in the el- ementary grades and beyond. TYPES OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS There are many different types of preschool programs and approaches in Canada. These include academic, play-based, Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, community-based, and faith-based programs. • Play-based: These programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school through minimally structured activities. • Academic: These programs are the most structured of the different types. They place a strong emphasis on early learning and school readi- ness. • Montessori: These programs have a child-centred approach: kids have lots of freedom to choose their own tasks and activities (with teacher guidance). They also focus a lot on concrete learning. • Waldorf: These programs offer plenty of practical, hands-on ac- tivities. They also stress arts and crafts, creativity, and imaginative and play-based learning. • Reggio Emilia: These programs have a co-constructed curriculum: chil- dren and teachers choose tasks and activities together. They also have lots of open-ended projects that require critical and creative thinking. WHAT TO ASK WHEN VISITING A PRESCHOOL • Is it licensed or accredited by an appropriate federal or provincial ins tu on in Canada? • Does it have a safe environment with proper supervision? • What is the staff-to-child ra o? • What me does preschool begin and end? Are before and a er care offered? • Is there an open line of communica on with directors and staff? Who do you go to with your ques ons or concerns? • How much does it cost? What does tui on include? What isn't included in annual fees? • What are the core values that the school seeks to promote? • What type of learning environment does the school offer? • What is the primary instruc onal approach? • Is food provided? What type? PRESCHOOL YEARS The Giles School – Photograph by Tim Fraser for Our Kids

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