Montessori vs. Traditional


  1. The “prepared environment,” a classroom planned in advance to support independent, learner-initiated project work.
  2. Flexibly defined grade levels within a developmental range: 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 12-15, 15-18 range
  3. The children acquire knowledge by themselves by working on hands-on projects and reflecting. The children actively discover information.
  4. The curriculum expands in response to students’ needs in each developmental stage. There is as little “departmentalization” as possible.
  5. Each child consults with his teacher to negotiate a unique path through the curriculum.
  6. Emphasis on personal, one-to-one relationships between each child and the teacher.
  7. Each child participates in creating significant portions of his own work. Each child engages in individual and paired research projects beginning in first grade. This enhances the child’s motivation to work with and go beyond the hands-on project materials.
  8. The child works on projects, and uses the teacher as a consultant who helps him to reach his own goals.
  9. The child works on projects, and uses the teacher as a consultant who helps him to reach his own goals.
  10. The child reinforces his knowledge by working repeatedly on logically connected projects in order to satisfy his curiosity, and in order to build his own sense of competence.
  11. The child’s rhythm of work is accepted and encouraged. Self- esteem is assumed to arise from children’s authentic pride in their own accomplishments.
  12. Each child discovers mistakes through feedback given by the project materials rather than by the teacher. The teacher avoids pointing out mistakes in favor of self-evaluation by the child. Instead of judging and correcting, the teacher advises the use of different complementary project materials, or “teaches again,” presenting a material from a different angle.
  13. Freedom of movement. Communication based on mutual respect. Children learn to speak appropriately.
  14. A daily balance of individual project work, small-group cooperative work, small-group lessons, and large-group lessons.
  15. Social interaction within the classroom within the context of children’s normal academic work time.
  16. A well articulated, hands-on science-based curriculum, which integrates math, language arts, and the creative arts in a meaningful way. A curriculum intended to foster personal insights and moral awareness.
  17. Each child knows that he has the opportunity to carry his study far beyond the reaches of the teacher’s own knowledge.