The following is a comparison of the Montessori Method versus the Traditional Method of teaching children:

The Montessori Method Traditional Method
Respect for individual differences. Emphasis on conforming to the group.
Self-motivation and child centered learning process. Emphasis on grades, punishment or rewards as motivating factors.
Multi-age grouping whereby students learn “horizontally from observation of other people’s work, directly or indirectly”. Students grouped chronologically to suit teachers’ pre-planned class lessons.
Students learn at their own pace, free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish and according to personal enthusiasm. Subjects are taught in lecture form and students must change classes and attend lessons all at the same time.
Students learn by practicing their subject matters while in school with the supervision and assistance of the teacher as needed. Students must practice on their own and be graded on “busy work” or “home work” that is often done without close monitoring.
The classroom is used as a library or resource room for projects and studies. The children are free to move and tire less. Students work at a desk and passively sit to listen to lectures for long periods. The work period must be interrupted frequently.
Knowledge is acquired through the use of concrete materials, scientifically designed to enhance conceptual thinking and lead to abstraction. Knowledge often consists of memorization of irrelevant information from abstract concepts unrelated to the child’s daily experience.
Testing is built into the method as the third period of the “three-period-lesson” and is applied routinely when the individual is ready. Testing aims at self-correction, repetition and competence. Scheduled testing does not take into consideration the preparation of each individual. Students are intimidated and taught that passing is more important than knowing.

Montessori programs, based on self-directed noncompetitive activities, help children develop strong self-images of themselves and the confidence to face challenges and change with optimism.