Montessori vs Traditional

Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a positive sense of self-esteem.  Montessori programs, based on self-directed, non-competitive activities, help children develop strong self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.

The core difference between Montessori and “traditional” educational methods is its focus on the child. Maria Montessori spent decades observing children at different stages of development – from birth to adulthood. The Montessori pedagogy came as a culmination of these observations. Montessori defined her theories in her “Four Planes of Development.”  Planes of development – Four distinct periods of growth, development, and learning that build on each other as children and youth progress through them: ages 0 – 6 (the period of the “absorbent mind”); 6 – 12 (the period of reasoning and abstraction); 12 – 18 (when youth construct the “social self,” developing moral values and becoming emotionally independent); and 18 – 24 years (when young adults construct an understanding of the self and seek to know their place in the world).

Some Comparisons Of Montessori Education With Traditional Education

Emphasis on cognitive and social development Emphasis on rote knowledge and social development.
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning. Teacher has domain, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning.
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline. Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline.
Instruction, both individual student’s learning style. Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult’s teaching style.
Mixed age grouping. Same age grouping.
Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other. Most teaching is done by teacher and collaboration is discouraged.
Child chooses own work from interests and abilities. Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child’s interests.
Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials. Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials. Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
Child works as long as she/he wishes on chosen project. Child generally given specific time limit for work.
Child sets own learning pace to internalize information. Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher.
Child spots own errors through feedback from the material. If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher.
Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success. Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements.
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration. Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation.
Organized program for learning care of self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.) Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance.
Child can work where she/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others); group work is voluntary and negotiable. Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions.
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process. Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process.

Content Courtesy: American Montessori Society (AMS) All Rights Reserved.