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Montessori or Traditional Education?

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 the 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 toward himself and the world around him.



Emphasis on cognitive and social development

Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom

Environment and method encourage self-discipline

Mainly individual instruction (some group instruction)

Mixed age grouping

Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other

Child chooses own work

Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials

Child works as long as he chooses on his project

Child sets own learning pace

Child spots own errors from feedback of material

Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feeling of success

Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration

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

Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy, and parent/teacher conferences


Emphasis on social development

Teacher is center of classroom as “controller”

Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline

Mainly group instruction (some individual)

Same age grouping

Most teaching done by teacher

Curriculum structured for the child

Child is guided to concepts by the teacher

Child generally allotted specific time for work

Instruction pace usually set by group or norm

If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher

Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards

Fewer materials for sensory development

Less emphasis on self care instruction

Voluntary parent involvement

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