Montessori VS. Traditional Teaching Methods

Montessori Method: Traditional Method:
Emphasis on cognitive and social development Emphasis on social development in classroom
Teacher has unobtrusive role Teacher is center of classroom as a "controller"
Environment and method encourage self-discipline Teacher is 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 is done by the teacher
Children choose their own work Children learn from a provided, structured curriculum
Children discover their own concepts from self teaching materials Children are guided to concepts by the teacher
Children can work as long as they wish on chosen project Children is generally allotted specific time for work
Children set their own learning pace Instruction pace is usually set by the group norm
Children spot errors from feedback of materials If work is corrected, errors usually are pointed out by the teacher
Learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Fewer materials for sensory development
Organized program encouraging care of self and environment Less Emphasis on self-care instruction
Children choose where to work, can move around and talk (while not disturbing the work of others); group work is voluntary Children are usually assigned their own chairs, encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process Voluntary parent involvement

About AMI

Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) was established in 1929 by Dr. Maria Montessori to maintain, propagate and further her ideas and principles for the full development of the human being. AMI, with headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is the oldest recognized authority on Montessori education worldwide. For more information, please visit their global website at, or the US branch at

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