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Play-based Preschool (Social-based preschool)


Children (2-3, 4-5) sitting on floor and raising hands
Tetra Images - Mike Kemp/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

One of the most popular type of preschools and usually the most loosely defined, play-based preschools do have structure, but the focus is on play and socialization, rather than academics. That isn't to say that the children don't learn, but lessons are generally done through play-based activities and have their roots in basic social skills, like helping children to get along, learning to share and taking turns.

While there are structured learning times, there is quite a bit of teacher-supervised free play -- how much depends on the school and what their particular philosophy is (make sure you find out).

Critics say that play-based preschools don't provide children with enough academic knowledge to do well in kindergarten, but those who support this method say that young children, while often good at memorization, don't have the cognitive resources and development yet to apply facts they can recite. For example, just because a 4-year-old child can count to 20, they cannot always figure out the answer to 3 + 1. Proponents also say that it's socialization that is most needed at this young age.

It is important to note that "play-based preschool" is a general term and not a specific "brand" of preschool (such as Montessori or Waldorf). It can include different types of methodologies.

These school can also be referred to as social-based preschools.

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