What are the differences between Montessori and Traditional Teaching?

Posted on by Helena Eddings

“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.” –Maria Montessori

What is the Montessori Method?

The Montessori method of education is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. It was founded on the view that all children are eager for knowledge and fully capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully-prepared learning environment. This unique approach emphasizes and values the human spirit and seeks to develop all aspects of your child from his physical and social skills to his emotional and cognitive well-being.


What are the differences between Montessori and Traditional Teaching?

A recent study comparing the outcomes of children at a public Montessori School with children who attended traditional schools found that a Montessori education produced children with better social and academic skills. In addition, Montessori children:

  • Displayed a greater sense of justice and fairness.
  • Were more likely to engage in emotionally positive play with peers.
  • Were less likely to engage in rough play.

So what is it that makes the Montessori method so unique and successful? Here are four fundamental differences between traditional teaching and the Montessori method, which has sparked the interest and respect of educators worldwide:

  1. Active vs. Passive Learning: While traditional classrooms are teacher-led, with children instructed to listen passively, Montessori children are active participants in their learning. Understanding comes through a child’s ability to discover things for themselves while in the traditional method, learning is based on predetermined and limited subjects.watershed
  2. Individual Learning vs. Set Curriculum: Traditional teaching requires the delivery of the same lesson, at the same pace, in the same order for all students, regardless of their differences. The Montessori method allows children to learn at their own individual pace and follow their unique interests, resulting in enjoyable learning which is sustainable over a lifetime.ruby-resized
  3. Internal vs. External Validation: The Montessori method of teaching encourages children to develop their self-esteem based on an internal sense of pride in their own accomplishments while in traditional classrooms, self-esteem has been shown to come from external judgment and validation, making it more vulnerable to outside circumstances.
  4. Environment: The Montessori method of teaching puts an enormous emphasis on a thoughtfully-designed environment, prepared in advance based on students individual needs. While Montessori children are able to teach themselves using specially prepared materials, traditional classrooms are based on teacher-centered activities or lessons.


At West Side Montessori, this teaching philosophy allows us to encourage our students to explore their world, to understand and respect all life forms and to develop into kinder, more generous and stronger individuals.

Adapted From: Grey Matter Montessori

This entry was posted in Head of School, News and Announcements. Bookmark the permalink.

West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.