Montessori vs. Traditional

The goal of both Montessori and traditional schools is the same: to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kind of learning experiences each school provides and methods they use to accomplish this goal.

Montessori educators believe these differences are important because they help shape how a child learns, his work habits, and his future attitudes towards himself and the world around him.

Environment and method encourage self-disciplineTeacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline

Montessori Method Traditional Method
Teacher has unobtrusive role in the classroom Teacher plays the role of “controller” in the classroom
Mainly individual instruction Group and individual instruction
Mixed age grouping Little age spread within class
Grouping encourages children to teach and to help each other Most teaching is done by the teacher
Child chooses his own work Curriculum is structured for the child
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials Child is guided to concepts by teacher
Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project Child is generally allotted specific time for work
Child sets own learning pace Instruction pace is usually set by group norm
Child spots own errors from comments of their material If work is corrected, errors are usually pointed out by the teacher
Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by rewards
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Fewer materials are used for sensory development
Organized program for learning care of self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc) Less emphasis on self-care instruction
Child can work where he chooses, move around and talk at will, yet not disturb the work of others. Group work is voluntary Child is usually assigned his own chair. He is encouraged to participate and listen during group lessons, but must essentially sit still