Differences Between Montessori and Traditional Education

Montessori Education

Respect for individual differences

Self-motivation and child-oriented learning process

Multi-age grouping whereby students learn “horizontally” from observation of other people’s work, directly or indirectly

Students learn at their own pace, free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish and according to personal enthusiasm.

Students learn by practicing their subject matters while in school with the supervision and assistance of the teacher as needed.

Students make use of the classroom as a library or resource room for their projects, thus they are not restricted for long hours and tire less.

Knowledge is acquired through the use of concrete materials scientifically designed to enhance conceptual thinking and lead to abstraction linked to reality.

Testing is built into the method as the third period of a “three period lesson” for any subject studied.  Testing aims at self-correction and repetition for the purpose of reaching competence.

Traditional Education

Pressure to conform

Emphasis on grades, punishment, or rewards as motivating factors

Students grouped chronologically to suit teachers’ pre-planned class lessons

Students change classes or attend lessons all at the same time – subjects are taught in lecture form and practice is done at home.

Students must practice on their own and be graded on large amount of “busy work” or homework that may be done diligently or without close monitoring.

Students work at desks or passively sit at desks to listen to lectures for long periods.  They tire easily and require frequent breaks in the schedule.  The class period is thus broken down in small units, none of which is enough for serious study and depth of concentration.

Knowledge is often prompted by sheer memorization of unintelligible concepts, disconnected from the child’s experience.  Students are asked to learn from abstract ideas through books even when irrelevant and beyond the child’s understanding.

Testing is designed to judge and intimidate the student.  Passing a test becomes the goal while becoming competent becomes secondary.  Tests can affect one’s self-esteem in a negative way.

Montessori: The world's most influential school?

By David Robson and Alessia Franco of the BBC

Montessori-The world's most influential school by BBC

“Tech geniuses, nation builders and famous artists have praised the benefits of a Montessori education – but does it hold up to scientific scrutiny? David Robson and Alessia Franco investigate.”

Explore Our Montessori Programs

Toddler Program

18 months to 3 years old

Toddler Program

Emphasis is placed on gross and fine motor skills, sensorial, language and social development. The environment is arranged specially for, and corresponds to, the growing developmental needs of the child.

Primary School Program

3 to 6 years old

Primary School Program

Our program is based on the three-year cycle, with the third year serving as the culmination of the preparatory work during the first two years. This results in exciting leaps in reading, writing and math concepts.

Elementary Program

6 to 12 years old

Elementary Program

At this age, the appetite of children to understand the universe and their place in it directs the elementary work toward all aspects of culture.

Middle School Progam

12 to 14 years old

Middle School Program

Students in our Middle School program engage in a rigorous course of study and research built upon the research focus of the Elementary program.

After School Programs

Ages vary by program

After School Programs

Westside Montessori School currently offers several after-school programs. These extracurricular activities are taught by Montessori-trained faculty and screened independent providers.

Montessori Summer Program

18 months to 12 years old

Montessori Summer Program

Our summer sessions are taught by our Montessori trained faculty and include several STEAM projects.