Early Childhood Education Compare & Contrast Paper

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Early Childhood Education
Compare & Contrast paper

As early childhood educators we all have our own philosophies and approaches to education. There are several types of early childhood programs. Each program has its own philosophies, methods, and program goals. Every early childhood educator is unique making each early childhood program experience special. Consistently, early childhood programs offer educational foundations that prepare young students for their educational futures. In this paper I will focus on comparing and contrasting two programs that stood out to me, Ridgeline Montessori and the Whitaker Head Start. When examining early childhood programs there are many similarities and differences across the board. After observing both programs, I noticed that both schools have benefited from tailoring the services and programs provided to their communities. It helps early childhood programs become more effective at reaching their students. These two programs focus on providing services to two different communities of families, however, they both have the same goals in preparing students for formal schooling. The environment of each of these two programs differs in many ways. Due to the different methods, curriculum, level of family involvement, resources, funding, and teacher’s available programs can differ in structure. Some programs are built on models based upon psychological theories and principals, while others are more focused on students’ interests and individual needs.

Ridgeline Montessori school is a free public charter school that is offered to any students in the community, through a lottery system. Students who don’t initially get in are placed on a wait list in the order in which they applied. Even though Ridgeline is a public charter school, many low-income families may not be aware of the opportunity or have the resources to send their children there. Head Start on the other hand is a national federally funded program, in which enrollment is based on family income. Head Start also has a wait list and there are many families who have to wait to get into the program. The difference in program eligibility creates a difference in the types of families and children that enter these programs. Most students enrolled at Ridgeline come from middle class families, where they do not have to worry about their basic needs being met. This allows these students families to be more involved helping channel their energy and attention towards learning. Head Start children, on the other hand, usually come from low-income families, in which meeting their basic needs can be an everyday challenge. The differences in these two home environments play an intricate role in the set up and implementation of each program.

The Head Start program focuses not only on educating young children, but also making sure that they’re socially, emotionally, and physically healthy. Head Start programs provide families with services that ensure students are receiving adequate nutrition, proper care, and that there basic needs are being met. Ridgeline Montessori offered free and reduced lunches at one time, however, due to the lack of need for this service, the program was cut. Students’ at Ridgeline seem to have less of a need for services and therefore, more focus is put forth on education and learning.

Ridgeline Montessori uses the Montessori method, which was developed by Maria Montessori. The Montessori method views children as being unique individuals in which each child has their own interests and learning potential. The classroom and materials are prepared in advance, with manipulatives set up all around the classroom. At first glance the classroom looked similar to the classrooms I previously observed, however, with further examination I noticed many differences. One of the most noticeable differences I detected upon walking into the Montessori classroom was the noise level. The...
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