10 Ways Montessori Education is Different from Traditional Education

What is Montessori Education?

What is Montessori Education (1)-min
A Parent sending her child to school

The Montessori Education is a method of education developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. It is based on self-directed activities, collaborative play, and hands-on learning. Montessori is a child-centered approach that values all aspects of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive. This method of education has been tested for over a century and is successful in various cultures throughout the world.

For a program to receive a Montessori accreditation, the curriculum must work activities, multi-age groupings that promote learning with peers, and uninterrupted work time. A Montessori classroom is prepared to encourage freedom, independence, and a sense of order. The children make their own choices, and they make use of what’s available to develop themselves. The teachers guide and support students.

Montessori classrooms are environments designed to meet the needs of specific age groups. Dr. Montessori has discovered that students better understand subjects when they learn from experience rather than textbooks.  Materials in Montessori classrooms aim to support child development. These materials create a match between the child’s interests and the activities that are available in the classroom. It’s important to know that children learn at their own pace. Children are naturally curious and they can respond to this curiosity at any moment. The Montessori method helps students build a solid foundation that teaches them how to learn for themselves throughout life.

In Montessori classrooms, there are age-appropriate activities to guide the children, and this is where these children will make creative choices as they learn. Teachers will let the children play and work in groups, as well as individually, so that they can explore and discover the wonders of the world. This method was designed so that students can tap into their full potential.

During a child’s early years, they learn through their senses. They work with materials that help develop their motor and cognitive skills. Montessori students begin to apply their knowledge to real-life experiences at the elementary level. The children utilize organized thinking while working with facts and figures. This prepares the child for adolescence. At this level, students learn about universal and abstract concepts such as freedom, justice, and equality.

A Montessori education offers a lot of opportunities for children to develop their potential. But how does the Montessori education differ from traditional education? Here are 10 main differences:

Montessori Education vs. Traditional Education

The Environment in Classrooms

As stated above, Montessori classrooms are designed based on a child’s individual needs. This includes student-centered activities and lessons. Traditional classrooms on the other hand classrooms aren’t based on students but are teacher-centered.

Teachers’  Roles

Teachers in a Montessori school have unobtrusive responsibilities within classrooms. They act as guides and support systems to students. They let students pursue their own interests after introducing to them the various activities available. Teachers simply observe student progress and act as consultants. In traditional schools, teachers are the focus in the classroom. They deliver the predetermined lessons at the same pace for all students.

Age Groupings

In a Montessori school, grade levels are determined based on the children’s developmental range. These arrangements are flexible. Groupings can be mixed-age. For example, preschools usually allow children from the ages of 3-5 to participate so learning can take place at different experience levels. Grade levels aren’t flexible in a traditional school. They are strictly determined by age.

Lessons learned at classrooms

Montessori Education
A child playing in school

In Montessori classrooms, children are allowed to select what they want to learn and at their own pace. After a teacher introduces and demonstrates the activities available, children are encouraged to pursue the activity they are most interested in. They are left to work and figure things out on their own. In the mixed-age classroom, children can learn from each other. While in traditional classrooms, one subject or activity is learned for a set duration.  The teacher is in charge of the lessons.

Time and Pacing

In a Montessori classroom,  there are no time restraints when children are learning. They can take as long as they need to complete a lesson or activity. Students are allowed to work uninterrupted. While in traditional classrooms, the lessons and activities are time-limited and t\class schedules are strictly followed.

Children’s Errors

The Montessori teachers let children identify and correct mistakes on their own. They guide them and let them repeat the activities, which helps children become aware of where they’ve got it wrong. In traditional schools, teachers usually point out the children’s errors.


The Montessori system accounts for how a child’s confidence comes from their own growth and accomplishments. While in the traditional education system, self-esteem is assumed to have come from the judgment and validation of others and not from what you have done.

Being active rather than passive

The lessons in a Montessori education lets the children be active and hands-on. Children explore and discover things for themselves. The lessons in traditional schools are often discussed and spoon-fed. The children sit down and listen passively throughout the class, memorize information, and then take tests.


The Montessori curriculum adjusts based on students’ needs. While the curriculum in a traditional school is fixed and predetermined without regards to the children’s needs.

The Love for Learning

The Montessori system is made to appeal to the children’s want and hunger for learning. It’s innate in all children to love learning, they just have to be in an appealing environment. The traditional education system focuses on test scores, performances, and grades. Children are forced to learn the lessons in order to receive passing grades.

The Montessori Education System is a wonderful thing for children. If you want to learn more about it, come and visit the Montessori School of Downtown.

AUTHOR: Montessori School of Downtown

It all began over 30 years ago with two newlyweds who were passionate about education. Together, Ms. Rita, a renowned professional educator, and Mr. Hersh, a natural teacher and entrepreneur, created a child care education program that focused on the concept of self-inspired learning.View all posts by Montessori School of Downtown |

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