Montessori School vs. Traditional Preschool

The goal of both Montessori and traditional kindergarten 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 both differences are important because they help shape what a child learns, his work habits and his future attitudes towards himself and the world around him.

This inspirational video highlights the differences between Montessori schools and traditional preschools.

Montessori School Traditional Preschool
Emphasis on cognitive development Emphasis on social development
Teacher-pupil ratio is about 1-10 Teacher-pupil ratio is about 1-25
Teacher has unobtrusive role in the classroom Teacher is the center of the classroom and acts as a “controller”
Environment and methods encourage self discipline Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline
Mainly individual instruction Mainly group instruction
Mixed age grouping Same age grouping
Grouping encourages child to teach and help others Most teaching is only done by the teacher
The child chooses their own work Curriculum is structured for the child
The child discovers their own concepts from self-teaching materials The child is guided into concepts by the teacher
The child works as long as he or she wishes The child is generally allotted a specific amount of time for work
The child sets their own learning pace The instructional pace is usually set by the group norm
The child spots errors from self-correcting materials If work is incorrect, errors are usually pointed out by the teacher
The child reinforces learning by repetition Learning is reinforced externally by repetition, rewards, and punishment
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Few materials for sensory development
Organized program for learning care of self and the environment No organized program for self care instruction
Child can work where he chooses, move around, and talk at will (without disturbing anyone) Child is usually assigned their own chair, required to participate and sit still and listen