Why is a Montessori Education Different?
There is a vast difference between a traditional education and an education informed by the Montessori Method. These questions and answers should help parents understand some of those differences.
What is the primary emphasis within each type of educational setting?
In a traditional educational setting, the emphasis is on grades and making sure each child accumulates and memorizes a requisite collection of facts. Within the Montessori educational setting, the emphasis is on inspiring motivation through self development.
How are children grouped together?
Unlike traditional schools, children in a Montessori school are grouped in age groups spanning 2 to 3 years. This approach creates mentoring opportunities for older children and helps ensure that everyone in the class teaches one another, making learning a more interactive process.
What role does the teacher play?
In a Montessori classroom the teacher acts as a facilitator among the students, encouraging discussion and exploration of different topics. In a traditional classroom, the teacher is the primary focal point and frequently spends a majority of the class lecturing students, with the expectations that they will absorb the information.
How do students learn?
In traditional classrooms, teachers teach, students complete assignments, and the teacher tells them whether their answers are right and wrong. In Montessori classroom the teachers guide the children into different areas of interest. The Montessori materials are manipulative and self-correcting.
How is discipline handled?
Unlike a traditional classroom, where the teacher is the sole arbiter of what behavior is acceptable and the sole enforcer of those rules, children in a Montessori classroom focus more on peer discipline, guided by the teacher.
Is the focus on large groups or small groups?
Unlike a traditional classroom, where the teacher primarily presents material to the class, children in a Montessori classroom tend to work more independently, usually in groups of 2 or 3.
Who does the teaching?
While a Montessori teacher does most of the teaching, the curriculum is also structured so that students can teach each other, which is helped by multi-age classrooms.
How are curricula structured?
A traditional classroom is structured around meeting state educational requirements. In a Montessori classroom, while those requirements are covered, they’re done so in a way that children develop a love of learning.
Who defines how fast or slow the curriculum is taught?
In a traditional classroom, teachers teach a single subject to the whole class simultaneously, requiring them to accommodate all learning styles at once. In a Montessori classroom, each child works on the activity in the way that best meets his or her learning style, in the context of completing the whole program.
How are different materials integrated into the lesson plan?
In a Montessori classroom, multi-sensory materials and movement play a leading role in the curriculum, which represents a sharp contrast to traditional classrooms, where these materials are rarely used, if ever.
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