Play-Based vs. Academic-Based Preschool: Which Is Better for Your Child?

benefits of academic preschoolChoosing a preschool for your child is an important decision. There are many factors to consider, which can make choosing a preschool extremely difficult. Parents need to consider things like cost, location, schedule, safety, and discipline. While there are various factors that need to be considered, the school’s philosophy and classroom methods are two of the most important.

While three-fourths of children participate in a preschool program in the United States, not all preschools approach learning the same way. There are two main types of preschools: academic-based and play-based. Let’s examine both.

Academic-Based Preschool

Academic preschool programs are considered “teacher-directed,” meaning teachers lead the children in a structured way by planning activities and then guiding the children through them. This method of preschool is designed to prepare children for kindergarten. The benefits of an academic preschool include skill development: letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. The goal is to help students get ready for kindergarten.

The majority of academic preschool activities consist of following a structured schedule by participating in activities and enhancing basic skills.

Play-Based Preschool

In a play-based preschool program, children can choose activities based on their interests. Most play-based classrooms are broken up into sections, like kitchens, science areas, and reading areas. The children are encouraged to maneuver between activities throughout the day, participating in whatever activities they are interested in at the moment.

Although it may seem like just playtime, children are enhancing social skills as well as some basic math and reading skills. The preschool teacher acts more like a facilitator than a lecturer, monitoring students’ progress through participation rather than by more formal methods.

Which is Right for Your Child?

If you find yourself worrying that a play-based classroom might be too chaotic, or not give your child the individual attention they need, then an academic preschool could be the better choice. You can find comfort in knowing that your child is in a structured setting that will allow them to develop skills at an early age. The structured learning benefits of an academic preschool will prepare your child for not only kindergarten, but a successful start to school overall. However, if you find yourself desiring the benefits of both academic- and play-based programs, there are institutions that provide both types of activities for a comprehensive experience. These schools may be harder to find, but with a little research, you should be able to find the perfect fit for your child.

Finding the right preschool means choosing a preschool that is beneficial to your child and allows them to grow in an environment that’s right for them. Please contact us today if you have questions or would like to find out more.