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Montessori Schools vs. Traditional Schools

—a few key differences 

Children’s minds are absorbent.  They are constantly learning from every experience, every minute.  The primary goal of Montessori education is to provide your child with the environment and the experiences that will maximize his/her ability to think, to form good work habits, and to develop a sense of self esteem.  Here are a few of the distinctions that enable Montessori children to form healthy attitudes about themselves and the world around them.




  • Emphasis primarily on social development
  • Emphasis on cognitive and social development
  • Teacher is the center of the classroom
  • Teacher has unobtrusive role in the classroom
  • Teacher acts as a primary enforcer of discipline
  • Environment and method encourage self-discipline
  • Mainly group instruction
  • Mainly individual and small group instruction
  • Same age grouping
  • Mixed age group
  • Most teaching is done by the teacher
  • Mixed age grouping encourages children to help and teach one another
  • Curriculum and times are structured for the child
  • Child develops independence through opportunity to exercise choice in school work
  • Child is guided to concepts by the teacher
  • Child discovers concepts from self-teaching materials
  • Child is generally allotted specific time for the completion of the activity
  • Child works as long as he wishes on chosen exercise
  • Instruction pace set by group norm
  • Instruction set according to individual child’s learning pace
  • If work is corrected, errors are pointed out by the teacher
  • Child spots own errors from feedback of material
  • Learning is reinforced externally by rewards
  • Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success
  • Fewer materials for sensory development
  • Multi-sensory materials for physical development
  • Less emphasis on self-care instruction
  • Organized program for care of self and environment
  • Child usually assigned a chair, asked to participate and sit still
  • Child can work where he chooses, move around and talk at will, while being respectful of others