A COMPARISON OF MONTESSORI AND TRADITIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Montessori children are unusually adaptable.  They have learned to work independently and in groups.  Since they've been encouraged to make decisions from an early age, these children are problem-solvers who can make appropriate choices and manage their time well.  They have also been encouraged to exchange ideas, discuss their work freely with others, such students' good communication skills ease the way in new settings.  Research has shown that the best predictor of future success is a positive sense of self-esteem.  Montessori programs, based on self-directed, noncompetitive activities, help children develop strong self-images and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.

MONTESSORI TRADITIONAL
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 encourages self-discipline Teacher acts as primary enforcer of 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 Curriculum structured for child
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials Child is guided to concepts by teacher
Child works as long as wishes on chosen project Child generally allotted specific time
Child sets own learning pace Instruction pace usually set by group norm
Child spots own errors from feedback of material If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teachers
Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by repetition
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Fewer materials for sensory development
Organized program to learn care of self and environment Less emphasis on self-care instruction
Child can work where he/she chooses, move around, and talk (yet not disturb work of others); group work voluntary Child usually assigned chair; encouraged to participate, sit still, and listen at group time
Organized program for parents to understand Montessori and participate in learning process Voluntary parent involvement

Taken from: AMERICAN MONTESSORI SOCIETY, 281 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010, 212.358.1250.