Play & Prepare: Comparing Different Preschool Philosophies

children playing in a classroom with an adult

Preschool is the perfect time for young children to develop positive learning habits and self-confidence. There are many different kinds of preschool philosophies and pedagogies that support the functions of preschools.

At Grand Canyon University, a degree in early childhood education can prepare you to teach in different preschool settings. In addition, you will gain the confidence to give the next generation the tools for a successful learning experience. Continue reading to learn about various preschool philosophies:


Many parents wish for their child to learn at their own pace and gain independence in their education. The Montessori preschool philosophy promotes leadership skills in young children before they enter elementary school. Montessori uses play-based learning methods and learning toys, called manipulatives, which are used by students independently. Essentially, teachers act like guides and watch their students gain confidence when they accomplish tasks on their own.


Every child is unique, and a Waldorf-based education encourages children to embrace and celebrate their individualism. Typically, Waldorf preschools are designed to be similar to home settings. Waldorf students engage in using toys or manipulatives made from natural materials and avoid using technology in class. A Waldorf-based preschool philosophy is different from other philosophies because it guides children to think for themselves rather than promoting a certain way of thinking in the classroom.

Reggio Emilia

Teamwork and projects bring students together in the Reggio Emilia preschool philosophy. In these schools, students are taught to work together and explore to find different answers and solutions as a team. Essentially, the interests of the students shape the learning experience, while they gain basic skills such as reading and math. Many Reggio Emilia classrooms have a theme that was developed by the students themselves, such as gardening or animals. Because students work together as a base of their education, they can gain the skills to become great citizens and benefit communities in the long run.

Preschool is a great place for young children to learn skills to carry with them throughout their life. There are so many different philosophies to choose from, yet they all promote learning and self-development in the classroom. By becoming aware of these different philosophies, you can prepare for a successful career as a preschool teacher!

The College of Education at Grand Canyon University provides students with the opportunity to become highly qualified educators. To learn more about GCU’s education degrees, visit our website today or request more information using the button at the top of the page!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.