Hi everyone, it’s Casey from Nanny Parent Connection, back with this week’s video!

Did you know that there are a wide variety of unique child care philosophies used across the United States including Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Highscope, etc.?

Wait, what’s a childcare philosophy?

Today, let’s discuss what a child care philosophy is and why it’s important, take a look at four different popular philosophies and go over what our team recommends.

We hope you find this video helpful! 

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Explore Child Care Philosophies

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A transcript of the video can be found below: 

Hi everyone, it’s Casey from Nanny Parent Connection, back with this week’s video!

Did you know that there are a wide variety of unique childcare philosophies used across the United States?

Wait, what’s a childcare philosophy?

Today, let’s discuss what a childcare philosophy is, take a look at four different popular philosophies and go over what our team recommends.

Let’s dive in!

What is a childcare philosophy?

It’s not just a fancy term thrown around in educational circles.

It’s the backbone of how children are nurtured, taught, and cared for during early childhood.

Simply put, a childcare philosophy is a set of beliefs and values that guide the approach to caring for and educating young children.

It’s like a roadmap that parents, educators and caregivers use to make decisions about everything from curriculum to discipline.

Now, every childcare philosophy is unique, just like every child is unique.

Some philosophies prioritize play-based learning, believing that children learn best through exploration and discovery.

Others may emphasize a more structured approach, with a focus on academic readiness.

But it’s not just about what children learn; it’s also about how they learn.

A childcare philosophy influences the atmosphere of the environment, the relationships between educators and children, and even the daily routines.

For example, in a Reggio Emilia-inspired program, children are viewed as competent and capable learners, and the environment is considered the “third teacher.”

On the other hand, a Montessori philosophy emphasizes independence and self-directed learning, with carefully curated materials designed to meet each child’s developmental needs.

Why does a childcare philosophy matter?

Well, imagine trying to navigate a journey without a map.

A clear philosophy provides direction, consistency, and a sense of purpose in childcare settings. It ensures that every decision aligns with the overarching goals and values of the program.

But perhaps most importantly, a childcare philosophy respects the individuality of each child.

It recognizes that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to early childhood education and celebrates the diverse strengths and interests of every learner.

When it comes to childcare philosophies, there’s no shortage of options.

From Montessori to Reggio Emilia to Bank Street to HighScope, each approach brings its own unique perspective to early childhood education.

Let’s explore some of the most popular philosophies and discuss their pros and cons.

Let’s start with Montessori

Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, this philosophy emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and hands-on learning.

Children are encouraged to explore at their own pace, using specially designed materials.

For example, a child may choose to work with the “Pink Tower,” a set of wooden blocks varying in size.

Through hands-on exploration, the child learns concepts of size, dimension, and spatial awareness.

This self-directed activity fosters independence, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts—all fundamental aspects of the Montessori method.

One of the key benefits of the Montessori approach is its focus on individualized learning.

Children have the freedom to choose activities that interest them, promoting intrinsic motivation and a love for learning.

However, some critics argue that the emphasis on self-directed learning may not adequately prepare children for more traditional academic settings.

Next up, we have the Reggio Emilia approach

Originating in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy, this philosophy views children as competent, capable learners with rights and responsibilities.

Children engage in project-based learning that encourages creativity and collaboration. For example, a group of children may embark on a project to create a miniature garden.

They begin by researching different types of plants and habitats, then collaborate to design and build their garden using natural materials.

Throughout the process, they document their observations and reflections through drawings, photographs, and discussions.

One of the strengths of the Reggio Emilia approach is its emphasis on the arts and project-based learning.

Children are encouraged to express themselves creatively through various mediums, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

However, implementing this philosophy can be resource-intensive, requiring ample time, materials, and support from educators.

Moving on, we have the play-based approach.

Advocates of this philosophy believe that play is the primary vehicle for learning in early childhood.

Through play, children develop social skills, language abilities, and cognitive understanding.

Children learn through hands-on exploration and imaginative play.

For example, a group of children may decide to create a pretend restaurant in their play area.

They take on roles as chefs, servers, and customers, using props and materials to create menus, cook meals, and serve each other.

Through this play scenario, they develop social skills, language abilities, and problem-solving skills as they negotiate roles, communicate with each other, and navigate the dynamics of their pretend restaurant.

One of the biggest advantages of the play-based approach is its emphasis on child-initiated learning.

Children have the freedom to explore their interests and develop at their own pace, leading to a strong sense of agency and self-confidence.

However, critics argue that without intentional scaffolding or structure from educators, play-based environments may lack academic rigor.

Finally, we have the Waldorf approach.

Founded by Rudolf Steiner, this philosophy emphasizes holistic education, integrating academics, arts, and practical skills.

For example, during circle time, children may participate in rhythmic movement activities accompanied by singing and music.

They learn to move in harmony with each other and develop a sense of rhythm and coordination.

One of the strengths of the Waldorf approach is its focus on the whole child—mind, body, and spirit.

Children engage in activities that stimulate their imagination, creativity, and physical development.

However, some critics raise concerns about the lack of academic accountability.

What does our team recommend?

Our team has used all of the above philosophies with their own children or with children they have cared for in the past.

While it might be easy to say, “I’m going to use the Montessori or play-based philosophy”, spend some time learning about each philosophy and then determine which one might work best for the kids in your life.

Remember, the key here is to find the philosophy or learning style that works best for the children, not necessarily for you.

And get creative! Some parents and providers find that combining elements of different philosophies works best for their little ones.

In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to childcare philosophies. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best fit depends on the unique needs and values of the children involved.

So, whether you’re drawn to the structured environment of Montessori or the creative freedom of Reggio Emilia, remember that the most important goal is finding an approach that honors and supports the growth and development of the child.

Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share this video.

In case you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to check out this video on “Things Nannies Don’t Say Out Loud”. It’s a fun one you don’t want to miss!

Until next time, have a wonderful week!


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