Montessori vs. Traditional Schooling

Families often ask us about how Montessori differs from conventional or traditional methods of educating children. Here are some of what differentiates the Montessori pedagogy, by age group.

First through Third Grade

  • Emphasis on free choice, initiative
  • Teacher assists and guides
  • Learning materials are self-correcting
  • Learning materials are hands-on
  • Student can go as far as capable
  • Moving from independent work to group work
  • Emphasis on independence
  • Emphasis on following directions
  • Teacher gives information
  • Learning is corrected by teacher
  • Learning materials paper and pencil
  • Student stays at pace with class
  • Moving from group play to group instruction
  • Emphasis on compliance

Fourth through Sixth Grade

  • Emphasis on free choice and initiative as a working group
  • Teacher gives comprehensive lesson and assigns long projects without grades
  • Students keep individual work journals
  • Learning materials hands-on and developed for groups
  • Emphasis on seat work and individual achievement
  • Teacher gives daily bits of instruction followed up with homework and grades
  • Teachers keep track of progress
  • Learning material in workbooks, worksheets, and individual work

Seventh Grade and Beyond

  • Emphasis on self-responsibility to manage multiple work projects to completion
  • Teacher assists with critiquing and student assessment of work
  • Emphasis on continuous improvement
  • Student can move beyond grade level individually
  • Emphasis on completion of classwork and homework assigned by teacher
  • Teacher assists with preparation for testing
  • Emphasis on grades
  • Students grouped by ability