I'm a big believer in Montessori and have even written an article about it entitled “Montessori, Waldorf, and Co-ops: Why Parents Should Choose a Preschool With a Strong Philosophy.”
In the article, I recommend these three types of preschools because they're governed by principles that inform every thing they do. The director, teachers, and parents are all on the same page. They buy into the ideology, and hence, the place becomes a supportive community of like-minded people with a similar goal—to give children a developmentally appropriate preschool experience.
Many moms and dads who send their children to Montessori schools are so passionate about the approach that they practice it at home as well. Because it's calm and orderly, I find it to be an especially good fit for introverted youngsters. Many of these kids feel out of sync at other preschools where the day is tightly scheduled and they must switch from one activity to another every 20 minutes. Introverted youngsters enjoy exploring materials in depth for long periods of time so Montessori works for them.
Montessori, Waldorf, and co-ops are excellent choices today because, unlike public preschools as well as many privately-owned ones, they have far-reaching goals and prepping kids academically for kindergarten is not one of them. Their aim is to promote self-motivated life-long learners. They let kids learn through play and exploration, not workbooks and teacher-led lessons. The role of the educator is not front and center, performing in front of the group. Instead, she's a mindful facilitator, asking questions and prompting discovery.
These preschools with strong philosophies won't bend to accommodate what's happening at elementary schools. They won't let legislation such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core” influence their programs. They won't yield to parental anxiety to teach pre-reading skills, handwriting, and structured lessons in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Their philosophies override any nonsense that's happening in the political arena.