A comparison of the Montessori and Traditional Approach 

Montessori Education   Traditional Education
Based on helping the natural development of the human being Based on the transfer of a national curriculum
Children learn at their own pace and follow their own individual interest Children learn from a set curriculum according to a time frame that is the same for everyone
Children teach themselves using materials specially prepared for the purpose Children are taught by the teacher
Child is an active participant in learning Child is a passive participant in learning
Understanding comes through the child’s own experiences via the materials and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselves Learning is based on subjects and is limited to what is given
Learning is based on the fact that physical exploration and cognition are linked Children sit at desks and learn from a whiteboard and worksheets
Child can work where he/she is comfortable, move around and talk at will while not disturbing others Child is usually assigned own chair and encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
The teacher works in collaboration with the children The class is teacher led
The child’s individual development brings its own reward and therefore motivation Motivation is achieved by a system of reward and punishment
Environment and method encourage internal self-discipline Teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline
Child works as long as he/she wishes on chosen project Child generally given specific time limit for work
Uninterrupted work cycles Block time, period lessons
Mixed age groups Same age groups
Working and learning matched to the social development of the child Working and learning without emphasis on the social development of the child
Shared emphasis on intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development Working and learning without emphasis on the social development of the child
Shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, practical and life skills Main focus on academics
Child entered Teacher centered