A Child-Centered Kindergarten

A Child-Centered Approach

There are many definitions and descriptions of child-centered kindergarten, and for this reason it’s largely misunderstood. Differing from traditional kindergarten, a child-centered approach encourages children to take learning into their own hands, as opposed to being directed or prompted by a teacher. Children take responsibility for making choices about what they will learn and explore. Teachers listen for cues and watch interests develop to create an appropriate curriculum for each individual. This method is also sometimes referred to as play-based.

The child-centered method is not a new kindergarten philosophy. The idea actually dates back to the 19th century where kindergarten was believed to be “a garden for children”, a place where each child could grow at their own pace by exploring their unique interests. This idea has developed over the years into what’s become a very popular alternative for many parents who feel their child isn’t quite socially, emotionally and/or cognitively prepared for traditional kindergarten.


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A Child-Centered Environment for My Child?

This is a common concern for most parents of 4 or 5 year-olds. For some children, the child-centered approach is thought to be an easier transition over traditional methods. The environment is more open and free in comparison to traditional, academic settings that are structured with a firm daily routine. In a child-centered kindergarten classroom, students are allowed to learn at their own speed with the teacher’s role as a partner in their learning journey.

The Compass School’s kindergarten program offers a unique blend of Reggio-inspired and project-based learning, in conjunction with exposure to the needed state standards of learning for this age group. The Reggio Emilia approach offers a “negotiated” curriculum. This is a child-centered learning philosophy where children work closely with their teacher to forge a path of knowledge.

All of our programs are based on the belief that children are active participants in their learning. Through collaboration, shared experiences, and in-depth exploration of unique topics, children develop a rich understanding of the projects which they undertake. By learning through projects, children develop the ability to become “masters” of knowledge related to specific topics—a skill that will serve them well as they enter first grade and beyond.

Curious to learn more about The Compass School’s child-centered kindergarten program? Contact us today to request an information packet and schedule a tour of our state-of-the-art facilities. We look forward to showing you our dynamic kindergarten programs in action!