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Montessori education vs. traditional education

Some people might wonder how the Montessori curriculum is different from traditional schools or day care centers? Here are some points one can expect to see in a Montessori program and the traditional school approach.

Montessori Approach Traditional Method

Emphasis on cognitive and social development

Emphasis on social development

Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom

Teacher is center of classroom as “controller”

Environment and method encourage self-discipline

Teacher enforces discipline

Mainly individual instruction

Group and individual instruction

Mixed age grouping

Same age grouping

Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other

Most teaching done by teacher

Child chooses own work

Activities structured for child

Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project

Child generally allotted specific time for work

Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials

Child is guided to concepts by teacher

Child sets own learning pace

Instruction pace usually set by group

Child spots own errors from feedback on material

If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher

Child reinforces learning by repetition and feelings of success

Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards

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

Less emphasis on self-care instruction

Child can work where he chooses (yet not disturb work of others); group work is also encouraged

Child usually assigned own chair; encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions