Montessori vs. Traditional Day Care/Pre-School

The Montessori Method is an inclusive educational model where classrooms are comprised of ‘prepared environments’ that contain manipulative and educational materials to keep children engaged in academic endeavors.  Children discover the joys of learning while a teacher guides them in an environment structured to support both independent and student-initiated work.

In a traditional classroom setting, a teacher instructs a group of students rather than leading and encouraging them through the learning process.  In a Montessori setting, the teacher guides each student as he/she masters the concepts or skills necessary to reach and to exceed grade-level standards.

As shown in the table below, the Montessori setting fosters and promotes a venue where a child can develop intellectual and emotional intelligence at his/her optimal pace.

Montessori Setting Traditional Classroom
Emphasis on cognitive development Emphasis on social development
Mainly individual instruction and guidance Mainly group instruction
Mixed-age groupings Same-age groupings
Pace of learning is set by the child Instructional pace is set by the group norm
Environment and method promote self-discipline Teacher is the primary source of discipline
Child is an active participant in learning, allowed to move around and respectfully explore the classroom environment Child is a more passive participant in learning
Teacher is an instructional facilitator and guide Teacher has a more dominant and central role in classroom activity
Child allowed to spot own errors through feedback from materials; errors are viewed as part of learning process Work is usually corrected by the teacher; errors are viewed as mistakes
Goal is to foster a love of learning Goal is to master core curricula objectives