Every school should have one. If the school says they are eclectic, BEWARE. Why? Merriam-Webster defines the word eclectic as composed of elements drawn from various sources. In my language, that just means that the school isn’t sure what their philosophy is and is only catering to all philosophies for marketing purposes.
A school without a philosophy is like a ship without a rudder. It doesn’t know where it’s going.
So when you enter the school you’re checking out for your child, ask the director or the teacher what their school philosophy is. If you come out of the school still uncertain, then go back in and ask it AGAIN. I, personally, love it when parents ask a lot of questions. It means that they are very interested to learn how the school will educate their children. It also gives the school the opportunity to explain its philosophy and its curriculum.
Since progressive schools are the IN thing nowadays, most schools claim they are progressive even if their practices say something different. For example, a preschool that has a big class size cannot claim to be progressive or a preschool that is divided into subjects instead of routines cannot claim to be progressive. Just like a preschool cannot claim to be a Montessori if they do not have the Montessori learning materials.
What questions can you ask the director?
Is the curriculum child-centered (progressive, Montessori) or teacher-centered (traditional)?
Does the teacher interact much with the students (progressive) or lectures and stays in the one place in the room (traditional)
Does the school have a strong home-school connection (progressive) or do parents only meet teachers during parent-teacher meetings (traditional)
I know, I know.. my progressive leanings are obvious..hence the title of the blog!