Take a peak inside a Montessori classroom versus a Traditional classroom.

There is a distinct difference between Montessori Education and Traditional Education. Below are side by side comparisons of characteristics of both types of education, and the description of what you’ll find in each type of classroom.

Montessori Education

Traditional Education

View the child holistically, valuing cognitive, psychological, social, and spiritual development Views the child in terms of competence, skill level, and achievement with and emphasis on core curricula standards and social development
Child is an active participant in learning – allowed to move about 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, central role in classroom activity
A carefully prepared learning environment and method encourages development of internal self-discipline and intrinsic motivation Teacher acts as a primary enforcer of external discipline promoting extrinsic motivation
Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to students’ learning styles and development levels Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to core curricula benchmarks
Three-year span of age grouping Same-age and/or skill level grouping
Grace, courtesy, and conflict resolution are integral part of daily Montessori peace curriculum Conflict resolution is usually taught separately from daily classroom activity
Values concentration and depth of experience; supplies uninterrupted time for focused work cycle to develop Values completion of assignments; time is tightly scheduled
Child’s learning pace is internally determined Instructional pace usually set by core-curricula standard expectations, group norm, or teacher
Child allowed to spot own errors through feedback from the materials; errors are viewed as part of learning process Work is usually corrected by the teacher; errors are viewed as mistakes
Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by test scores and rewards, competition and grades
Care of self and environment are emphasized as integral to the learning experience Less emphasis on self-care, spatial awareness, and care of environment
Child can work where he/she is comfortable and the child often has choices between working alone or with a group Child is usually assigned a specific work space; talking among peers discouraged
Multi-disciplinary, interwoven curriculum Curriculum areas usually taught as separate topics
Progress is reported through multiple formats: conferences, narrative reports, checklists and portfolio of student’s work Progress is usually reported through conferences, report cards/grades, and test scores
Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is an alternative teaching strategy
Child is provided opportunities to choose own work from interest and abilities, concepts taught within context of interest Curricula organized and structured for child based on core curricula standards
Goal is to foster a love of learning Goal is to master curricula objectives


VIDEO: Trevor Eissler “Montessori Madness!” – 321 FastDraw

This video that will help you understand the difference between a Montessori and a traditional classroom.