The Montessori classroom uses concrete materials that are self-correcting and allow the children to learn at their own pace. These materials help the child to see, touch, feel and freely explore their environments without the teacher’s intervention. The Montessori teacher provides individual instruction within set guidelines. The children learn self respect, respect for others and respect for their environment. Montessori methods and materials promote an inner discipline and self-motivation.

The main focus of a Montessori teacher is to guide the child by providing a well-prepared environment. This environment fosters the creativity and the curiosity of the child and also bolsters the child’s self-esteem. The child is able to learn independently and with the help of his peers and teacher. Children receiving Montessori instruction excel academically and socially with the confidence they need to reach their fullest potential.

What are some of the faults of traditional education as viewed by Montessori? To name a few: restriction of child’s activity, suppression of his spontaneity, use of external rewards and punishments, frequent interruptions, verbal “pouring-in” approach and inadequate teacher training. Says Montessori: “The educational methods now in use proceed on lines exactly the reverse of ours.”

The goal of both Montessori and traditional schools are the same: to provide learning experiences for the child. The biggest differences lie in the kinds of learning experiences each school provides and the methods they use to accomplish this goal. Montessori educators believe both differences are important because they help shape what children learn, their work patterns and their future attitudes toward themselves and the world around them.



emphasis on cognitive developmentemphasis on social development
teacher has unobtrusive role in classroomteacher is center of classroom as “controller”
environment and method encourage self-disciplineteacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline
mainly individual instruction; mixed age groupingmainly group instruction; same age grouping
grouping encourages children to teach and help each othermost teaching done by teacher
child chooses own workcurriculum structured for child
child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materialschild is guided to concepts by teachers
child works as long as he wishes on chosen projectchild generally allotted specific time for work
child sets own learning paceinstruction pace usually set by group norm
child spots own errors from feedback of materialif work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher
child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of successlearning is reinforced externally by repetition, rewards, and punishment
multi-sensory materials for physical explorationfew materials for sensory development
organized program for learning care of self and environment (polish shoes, sink)no organized program for self-care instruction-left primarily to parents
child works where chooses, moves around and talks at will (not disturbing others)child usually assigned own chair; required to participate, sit still and listen during group lessons