Here is a specific list of differences between Montessori and Traditional way of teaching:



  • Views the child holistically, valuing cognitive, psychological, social, and spiritual development.
  • Child is an active participant in learning, allowed to move about and respectfully explore the classroom environment; teacher is an instructional facilitator and guide.
  • A carefully prepared learning environment and method encourages development of internal self-discipline and intrinsic motivation.
  • Instruction, both individual and group, adapts to students’ learning styles and developmental levels.
  • Three-year span of age grouping, three-year cycles allow teacher, students, and parents to develop supportive, collaborative and trusting relationships.
  • Grace, courtesy, and conflict resolution are integral parts of daily Montessori peace curriculum.
  • Values concentration and depth of experience; supplies uninterrupted time for focused work cycle to develop.
  • Child’s learning pace is internally determined.
  • Child allowed to spot own errors through feedback from the materials; errors are viewed as part of the learning process.
  • Learning is reinforced internally through the child’s own repetition of an activity and internal feelings of success.
  • Care of self and environment are emphasized as integral to the learning process.
  • Child can work where he/she is comfortable and the child often has choices between working alone or with a group that is highly collaborative among older students.
  • Multi-disciplinary, interwoven curriculum.
  • Child learns to share leadership; egalitarian interaction is encouraged.
  • Progress is reported through multiple formats: conferences, narrative reports, checklists and portfolio of student’s work.
  • Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.
  • Child is provided opportunities to choose own work from interests and abilities, concepts taught within context of interest.
  • Goal is to foster a love of learning.


  • Views the child in terms of competence, skill level, and achievement with an emphasis on core curricula standards and social development.
  • Child is a more passive participant in learning, teacher has a more dominant, central role in classroom activity.
  • Teacher acts as a primary enforcer of external discipline promoting extrinsic motivation.
  • Instruction, both individual and group,adapts to core curricula benchmarks.
  • Same-age and/or skill level grouping; one-year cycles can limit development of strong teacher, student, and parent collaboration.
  • Conflict resolution is usually taught separately from daily classroom activity.
  • Values completion of assignments; time is tightly scheduled.
  • Instructional pace usually set by core-curricula standards expectations, group norm, or teacher.
  • Work is usually corrected by the teacher; errors are viewed as mistakes.
  • Learning is reinforced externally by test scores and rewards competition and grades.
  • Less emphasis on self-care, spatial awareness, and care of environment.
  • Child is usually assigned a specific work space; talking among peers is discouraged.
  • Curriculum areas usually taught as separate topics.
  • Progress is usually reported through conferences, report cards/grades, and test scores.
  • Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is an alternative teaching strategy.
  • Curricula organized and structured for child based on the curricula standards.
  • Most teaching is done by the teacher and collaboration is an alternative teaching strategy.
  • Goal is to master core curricula objectives.