Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Multiple Intelligences and HighScope. How many of these names are you familiar with? Rachel Lim and Michelle Ang round up the types of early childhood approaches out there.


Multiple Intelligence Theory

This model was proposed by Harvard University Professor, Howard Gardner, in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. He identified eight types of intelligences that every individual has the capacity to possess. This allowed educators to identify various strengths and weaknesses in children and also challenged the idea of measuring intelligence using IQ.

Key features:

  • Visual/Spatial

Involves visual perception of the environment. It is the ability to create and manipulate mental images, and the orientation of the body in space.

  • Verbal/Linguistic

Involves reading, writing, speaking and conversing in one’s own or foreign languages.

  • Logical/Mathematical

Involves number skills, recognising patterns and relationships, timeliness and order, and the ability to solve different kinds of problems through logic.

  • Bodily/Kinaesthetic

Involves physical coordination and dexterity, using fine and gross motor skills, and expressing oneself or learning through physical activities.

  • Musical

Involves understanding and expressing oneself through music and rhythmic movements or dance, or composing, playing or conducting music.

  • Interpersonal

Involves understanding how to communicate with and understand other people and how to work collaboratively.

  • Intrapersonal

Involves understanding one’s inner world of emotions and thoughts, and growing in the ability to control them and work with them consciously.

  • Naturalist

Involves understanding the world of nature, noticing their characteristics and categorising them.

Preschools that incorporate Multiple Intelligences:

Read our Enrichment and Preschool Guide to learn about other enrichment programmes for your toddler or preschooler.

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