How do Montessori schools and traditional schools compare?
People often ask, what makes Montessori different? How does it compare to traditional education, or public schools?
Montessori schools are different because Dr. Montessori disagreed with the idea that all children learn in the exact same way at the exact same time of their life.
Education is not about saying, "It is the 4th day, of the 3rd month, of second grade, so open your math book to page 49." Instead, we observe each child and ask, "What does this child understand? What is the next concept this child needs to learn? In which way does this child learn? Are they observers? Talkers? Someone who needs to physically experience things? Do colors make things more clear? How about singing a song about the concept, will that help this particular child learn? What things interest this child so that I can use his/her natural interests and abilities to teach this concept that they need to know?"
Montessori Schools vs. Traditional Schools
|Focus first on respect, caring and love of learning||Focus first on academic success|
|Mixed age grouping||Same age grouping|
|Teacher has an unobtrusive role in classroom||Teacher is center of classroom as "controller"|
|Mainly individual instruction||Mainly group instruction|
|Child chooses own work||Curriculum is structured for the child|
|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/her own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions|
|Child discovers own concepts from self teaching materials||Child is guided to concepts by the 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 feedback of 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 repetition and rewards|
|Environment and method encourage self-discipline||Teacher is primary enforcer of discipline|
|Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other||Most teaching is done by teacher|
|Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration||Fewer materials for sensory development|
|Organized program for learning care of self and environment||Less emphasis on self-care instruction|
|Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process||Voluntary parent involvement|