Traditional, Play-Based, Progressive: Which School Should I Choose For My Child?

One of the biggest decisions we have to make as parents is choosing schools for our kids. There used to be limited options when we were the young ones, but now, schools offering different modes of teaching are available for us to check out and do trial classes. 

These choices can feel overwhelming, Moms and Dads. To help you evaluate what might be best for your little ones, we’ve outlined common learning approaches in this article. Take a look. 

Traditional, Play-Based, Progressive: Which School Should I Choose For My Child?

Traditional Education

This approach is probably most familiar for you. Traditional education emphasizes academic learning and achievement. Lessons are mostly teacher-centered and based on a fixed and structured curriculum that makes use of textbooks and lectures. The teacher is usually seen as an authority figure and the main source of knowledge and direction for a larger group of students. 

Children in a traditional school are expected to follow instructions, listen to their teacher, and commit lessons to memory. They will be taking exams and standardized tests to measure if their learning meets the expected criteria. Parents will receive regular reports on their kids’ grades and teacher recommendations on how best to support their efforts. Parental participation is considered supplemental but learning is usually confined within the classroom. 

Photo courtesy of St. Scholastica’s College Manila
Photo courtesy of Colegio San Agustin Makati

Traditional education works very well with learners who thrive on routine and structure. If you want your child’s school to focus on academic achievement and formal learning, then this might be the best choice for you!

Play-Based Education

Play-based schools are gaining traction here in the Philippines. As the name implies, this approach understands that children learn through play and utilizes the natural need for play to guide your child’s education. Teachers prepare both structured and unstructured activities for their students that involve hands-on experiential and sensory play. Teachers are facilitators who set up the environment and provide safe materials for exploration but do not dictate how their students explore these.

You can expect small class sizes per teacher in play-based schools. The teachers evaluate learning through observation and anecdotal notes about their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Parents are considered partners in nurturing the child’s growth through play and sensory exploration.

Got a little one who wants to smell and touch everything? You might have a child who learns best through sensory exploration and they might thrive in a play-based environment. They will love following their natural curiosity in learning more about their world.

Progressive Education

Progressive education is usually viewed as the “alternative” if you are looking for a school that is less rigid and structured. It emphasizes child-centered learning and holistic development through active learning. Teachers facilitate learning by guiding and students through activities that involve critical thinking and problem-solving so you can expect a lower ratio of students to teachers per class. 

Your child will be assessed through portfolios, projects, and other demonstrations of learning without comparing their output with their classmates’ work. They will be expected to participate in experiential learning activities where they have to collaborate and engage in decision making. Your role as a parent will be to work with the teachers to make sure that the learning opportunities both in school and at home are aligned to nurture your child’s progress.

If your priorities are holistic development, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills for your child, you may want to consider a progressive school for them. If your little one likes creative and novel approaches in learning about different topics, they might benefit from being empowered to be independent and self-motivated in their learning.

Your kid will spend a large portion of their lives in school. As parents, you should think about what method of instruction will be most effective for him or her, which school will be most appropriate to nurture your child’s personality, and what institution will be best for your child’s future career. Remember that your little one is unique and you’re the person who knows him or her best.  As long as you make the choice with love and your kid’s well-being in mind, you will be able to find the option that is right for your family.

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