Montessori vs. Traditional

Comparison of the Montessori Method with Traditional Education

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in three-year age groups (3-6, 6-9, 9-12, and so on), forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.

  • Montessori children are unusually adaptable. They have learned to work independently and in groups. Since they’ve been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well.
  • They have been encouraged to exchange ideas and discuss their work freely with others. Their good communication skills ease the way into new settings.
  • 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.
  • Emphasis on cognitive structures and social development.
  • Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom activity; child is an active participant in learning.
  • Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline.
  • Instruction, both individual and group adapts to each students learning cycle.
  • Mixed age grouping.
  • Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate and help each other.
  • Children choose work from interests and abilities.
  • Child formulates own concepts from self-teaching material.
  • Child works as long as he/she wishes on a chosen project.
  • Child sets own learning pace to internalize information.
  • Child sports own errors through feedback from the material.
  • Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success.
  • Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration.
  • Organized programs for learning about self and environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)
  • Child can work where he/she is comfortable. Moves around and talks at will, yet does not disturb the work of others. Group work is voluntary and negotiable.
  • Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process.
  • Emphasis on rote knowledge.
  • Teacher has a dominant active role, child is a passive participant in learning.
  • Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline.
  • Instruction, both individual and group, conforms to the adult’s teaching style.
  • Most teaching is done by teacher.
  • Curriculum is structured for child with little regard to child’s interests.
  • Child is guided to concepts by teacher.
  • Child generally given specific time to complete tasks.
  • Instruction pace usually set by group norm or teacher.
  • If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher.
  • Learning is reinforced externally by rote repetition and rewards or discourages.
  • Fewer materials for sensory development and concrete manipulation.
  • Less emphasis on self care instruction and classroom maintenance.
  • Child is usually assigned own chair; encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions.
  • Voluntary parent involvement, often only fundraisers, not participants in understanding the learning process.
Montessori Madness!
Play Video
Play Video
Montessori Media

We encourage parents to educate themselves about Montessori education so that their family can get the most out of
the experience in our school community. We offer many parent education nights throughout the year to explain the
Montessori philosophy. In addition, we recommend the following videos and books as a way to get a deeper
understanding of the Montessori philosophy and the unique ways your child will love to learn at Turtle River Montessori!

Suggested Reading

The Absorbent Mind and The Secret of Childhood and Spontaneous Activity in Education by Dr. Maria Montessori

  • Montessori Madness, A Parent to Parent Guide by Trevor Eissler
  • Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angelina Stoll Lillard
  • Education for Human Development by Mario Montessori, Jr.
  • The Montessori Revolution in Education by E.M. Standing
  • The Montessori Elementary School and its Curriculum by Jean K Miller
  • The Montessori Way by Tim Seldin
  • Montessori in the Classroom and Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Young
    Adulthood by Paula Polk Lillard
  • Montessori Play And Learn: A Parent’s Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six by Lesley Britton
  • Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child by Maja Pitamic
  • Children: The Challenge by Rudolf Dreikurs
  • Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey
  • Setting Limits : How to Raise Responsible, IndependentChildren by Providing Clear Boundaries by Dr. Robert
  • Setting Limits for the Strong Willed Child by Dr. Robert MacKenzie

The following articles also provide valuable insight into the Montessori philosophy.

"*" indicates required fields

Schedule a Tour

Please tell us about yourself

MM slash DD slash YYYY
MM slash DD slash YYYY
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.