Montessori Traditional
Start school early (2-3) Start school late (5-6)
Multi-age classroom Single-age classroom
Freedom to move around room Seated at desks
Family atmosphere Little socialization
Individual lessons and small group lessons Large group lessons
Learn by using all five senses Learn by listening, watching, reading
Long, free work periods Planned activities
Enhanced curriculum Grade-level curriculum
Student progress and mastery of concepts Peer comparisons as test
Observation-based progress report Graded report cards
Progress at individual rate Annual promotion
Natural & logical consequences Rewards & punishments
Peace in education Punishment
Emphasis on learning Emphasis on grades
Emphasis on individuality Emphasis on conformity
Freedom within limits Controlling environment
Child-centered schedule & environment Teacher-centered schedule and environment


Child Centered Environment Teacher-Centered Environment
Children complete work Children interrupted by teacher
or end of period
Children learn by doing Teacher lectures
Self-correcting materials Teacher as source of answers
Children choose their materials Teacher chooses curriculum
Children set own pace Teacher sets pace for the entire class
Children work out of joy and curiosity Teacher tells children to work
Self-motivation Teacher motivates children
Children stimulated by curiosity
and love of learning
Teacher stimulates children to learn
Children free to work independently Teacher guides children
Children help each other Teacher helps children
Emphasis on self-control
and self-discipline
Teacher as disciplinarian