6 Types of Preschool Programs

The time has come for you to choose a preschool for your child. If you are trying to decide whether to send your child to preschool or not, the answer is simple: yes.

According to Psychology Today, “A group of researchers recently published the results of a 25-year study looking at the effects of preschool and up to six years of follow-up service for a group of more than 1000 children in inner-city Chicago. Compared with children who did not receive preschool education and follow-up services, the children who did go on to attain more education and higher incomes, were more likely to have health care and less likely to have criminal records.”

As you begin your preschool search, you may be unaware that preschools vary not only according to cost and schedules but also by their unique philosophies. There are several types of preschool programs – each offering a unique promise to ensure your child’s growth. Today, we are going to focus on discussing the six most popular types of preschool programs.

Montessori (The Child-Centered Approach)

One of the most well-known preschool programs is the Montessori program, which started in Rome by Maria Montessori. Montessori education is child-centered with the teachers merely acting as learning guides. Each child learns at his/her own pace through play and manipulatives. This philosophy also means children of various ages may be in the same classroom.

Waldorf (Structured Creative Learning)

Waldorf preschool programs are a blend of creative learning and structure. Children learn in mixed-age classrooms through play-based learning with regular routines (such as music class, art class, and so on). There is a substantial emphasis on creativity and the outdoors in Waldorf schools rather than traditional academics. In fact, there is no homework, tests, or grading of any kind in Waldorf schools.

Reggio Emilia (Project-Based Learning)

Started in the town of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, this preschool program focuses on making good citizens. Children learn through exploring ideas and through project-based activities. For instance, these programs may incorporate gardening so students can work together to learn about how plants grow and how food nourishes the body. Additionally, Reggio Emilia aims to document learning throughout the year with photos, videos, and observations for review.

HighScope (Academic Learning)

HighScope preschool programs are popular in community-based programs like local community centers or the YMCA. It focuses on academic learning by providing children opportunities to learn academic skills such as counting and telling time.

Bank Street (Active Learning Through Social Sciences)

The Bank Street model began at Bank Street College of Education in New York City in 1916. This non-traditional program helps children learn from the world around them by introducing them to social sciences. The program encourages active learning and imagination guided by teachers (who are viewed in this program as facilitators).


Emergent preschool programs vary depending on the teachers and the students. It is because teachers plan activities around their current students’ skills, needs, and interests. No two classrooms will look the same. There is a mixture of play-based and project-based learning in this approach.

As the parent, you know your child’s needs. Choose the preschool that will best support your child’s learning style and your family’s values.

Choose your Reaction!