Charlotte Montessori Blog

Montessori Education Compared to Traditional Education

A Montessori educators view of education is quite different from those of a traditional education. In a Montessori school, the child is allowed to develop by his own will. The teacher movements are limited in persuading a child to do this or that. According to Maria, This “allows the child to develop according to his own inner directives.”

Have you ever wondered how Montessori compares to a traditional education. Or tried to explain the difference? 

Well, here is a list of comparisons by AMS, the American Montessori Society of which I am member (Charlotte Montessori School is associated with AMS ).

Montessori (M)  Traditional  (T)

M- Emphasis on: cognitive structures and social development

T – Emphasis on: rote knowledge

M=Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning

T-Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning

M-Environment and method encourage inner self- discipline

T-Teacher acts a primary enforcer of external discipline

M-Instruction, both individual and groups, adapts to each student’s learning style

T-Instruction, both individual and groups, conforms to the adult’s teaching style

M-Mixed age group

T-Same age grouping

M-Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other

T-Most teaching is done by teacher and collaborative is discouraged

M-Child chooses own work from interests and abilities

T- Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child’s interests

M-Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials

T-Child is guided to concepts by teacher

M-Child works a longs as s/he wishes on chosen project

T- Child is generally given specific time limits for work

M-Child sets on learning pace to internalize information

T-Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher

M-Child spots on errors through feedback from the material

T-If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher

M-Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success

T-Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements

M-Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration

T-Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation

M-Organized program for learning care of self and environment(polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)

T-Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance

M-Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others);group work is voluntary and negotiable

T-Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen to group sessions

M-Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

T-Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process.

T-Teacher has dominant, active role in classroom activity; child is a passive participant in learning

M-Environment and method encourage inner self- discipline

T-Teacher acts a primary enforcer of external discipline

M-Instruction, both individual and groups, adapts to each student’s learning style

T-Instruction, both individual and groups, conforms to the adult’s teaching style

M-Mixed age group

T-Same age grouping

M-Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other

T-Most teaching is done by teacher and collaborative is discouraged

M-Child chooses own work from interests and abilities

T- Curriculum structured for child with little regard for child’s interests

M-Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching materials

T-Child is guided to concepts by teacher

M-Child works a longs as s/he wishes on chosen project

T- Child is generally given specific time limits for work

M-Child sets on learning pace to internalize information

T-Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher

M-Child spots on errors through feedback from the material

T-If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher

M-Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success

T-Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards/discouragements

M-Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration

T-Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation

M-Organized program for learning care of self and environment(polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)

T-Less emphasis on self-care instruction and classroom maintenance

M-Child can work where s/he is comfortable, moves around and talks at will (yet disturbs not the work of others);group work is voluntary and negotiable

T-Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen to group sessions

M-Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process

T-Voluntary parent involvement, often only as fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process.

Sophia Robinson TIII Teacher