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Montessori Versus Traditional Education


Every parent, whether homeschooling or not, wants his child to develop a lifelong love of learning and wants their child to be fully engaged in his learning.

That goal seems lofty when kids are bombarded with video games, cartoons, and commercialized toys in today’s ridiculously fast-paced zero delayed gratification world. Traditional teaching techniques can stifle innovation, discourage leadership, and quell creativity.*

Related: The Secret to Engaging Kids

In short, kids are at risk of being overstimulated with media and bored with school. There is a debate out there: Montessori versus Traditional. We’re going to explore that debate in this post.

If you haven’t already read about Montessori Pros & Cons, take a moment to do so now and then come back to this post.

Montessori Versus Traditional

Don’t get me wrong, we use technology in our home for many reasons including learning with apps.

Related: Why Teaching Code to Kids Matters

Parents, homeschoolers, and educators are searching for ways to foster excitement for education while helping each child fulfill his potential. There is a lot of opportunity with technology even from a self-regulation standpoint.

Montessori versus traditional education is a hot, trendy topic. As you know, I fell fast in love with Montessori for my family many years ago. So much so that, determined to homeschool my kids, I attended a Montessori training program to do right by Montessori in our homeschool (which then led to the creation of My Montessori Homeschool).

Does the Montessori Method Work?

Several studies in recent years prove that the Montessori Method helps toddlers learn more effectively than conventional approaches. By the way, I adore this video created by a parent explaining why he chose the Montessori approach and why it is better than traditional school.

Children exposed to this method outperform their peers on standardized tests. They’re more likely to go to college. Most importantly, this style improves children’s enjoyment of learning and instills self-confidence, focus, and independence.

Related Read: Why We Chose Montessori for Our Family

The Montessori method sets itself apart from traditional teaching methods because it harnesses a child’s natural inclinations. It’s based on the belief that children intuitively gravitate towards materials and activities that will help them learn at their own pace.

Adults who use Montessori in their homes and classrooms believe that children have an innate desire to learn and that children find an immense amount of joy in “work”. The truth to this statement can be seen through observing the child.

montessori versus traditional

I have written extensively about the Montessori method from a philosophical point of view. As you are aware, the approach integrates seamlessly with a child’s natural development, not against it.

Rather than subdue a toddler’s natural desire to roam, Montessori encourages movement. Combining learning with movement is a topic Dr. Montessori mentioned often in her writing. Instead of forcing passive listening, Montessori instills communication skills.

Instead of rote memorization, the approach incorporates all the senses to facilitate a deeper understanding. Montessori harnesses the essence of each child, then gently guides her with enriching activities.

Benefits of Montessori vs Traditional Education

Montessori education and traditional education are two distinct approaches to schooling, each with its own set of principles and methods. The benefits of Montessori education compared to traditional education include:

  1. Individualized learning: Montessori education focuses on individualized learning, recognizing that each child learns at their own pace. Students are encouraged to explore topics that interest them, and the curriculum is adapted to meet their unique needs, strengths, and learning styles. In contrast, traditional education often follows a standardized curriculum that may not cater to the individual needs of each student.
  2. Hands-on learning: Montessori classrooms emphasize hands-on learning through the use of specialized educational materials. These materials are designed to foster exploration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Traditional education may use more lecture-based approaches, which might not engage all students as effectively.
  3. Child-centered approach: Montessori education places the child at the center of the learning process. Teachers act as guides, observing and supporting each student’s development, rather than just imparting knowledge. This approach fosters a sense of independence, responsibility, and self-discipline in students.
  4. Mixed-age classrooms: In Montessori settings, children of different ages often learn together in the same classroom. This arrangement allows younger students to learn from older peers, while older students reinforce their learning by teaching younger ones. Such an environment encourages collaboration, empathy, and social skills.
  5. Emphasis on self-motivation: Montessori education aims to develop a child’s intrinsic motivation to learn. Students are encouraged to follow their interests and passions, which fosters a love for learning that can extend beyond the classroom. Traditional education might sometimes rely more on external motivation, such as grades or rewards.
  6. Respect for natural development: Montessori education respects the natural development of children, recognizing that they go through sensitive periods when they are especially receptive to specific types of learning. The curriculum is designed to align with these sensitive periods to optimize learning potential. In contrast, traditional education might not always consider these developmental stages as extensively.
  7. Holistic development: Montessori education seeks to promote the holistic development of a child, including intellectual, social, emotional, and physical aspects. The curriculum often integrates practical life skills and encourages a well-rounded education. While traditional education also aims for comprehensive learning, the Montessori approach places additional emphasis on life skills and character development.
  8. Prepared environment: Montessori classrooms are carefully prepared to provide a stimulating and organized environment that encourages exploration and discovery. Materials are displayed attractively and made accessible to students, promoting independence and decision-making. Traditional classrooms may have a more structured setup that may not cater as specifically to individual learning needs.

It’s essential to note that both Montessori and traditional education have their merits and can be successful for different students and circumstances. Choosing the right educational approach depends on individual preferences, the learning style of the child, and the educational goals of the family.

The Montessori method encourages independence and respect for a child’s natural social, physical, and psychological development. It provides freedom within limits and a well-planned environment for children to exercise liberty.  

Parents and educators can help set those limits by removing anything from the environment that might be distracting the child’s learning.

By providing plenty of engaging educational materials and works based on careful observation and planning of the environment, parents encourage their children to explore and discover at their own pace.

Find a way to bridge the gap between the classroom and home.


Ok, Montessori. Now What?

You can get started with this method with free early childhood educational materials listed below. When you use these age-appropriate materials that are backed by research, you’ll see the difference this technique can make in your child’s life. These materials are designed to be both fun and effective.

Related Read: What is So Special about Montessori Education?

The Montessori method uses a child’s natural curiosity to make learning effortless and fun. When you introduce your child to this method, you’ll set the foundation for a lifetime love of learning.

Montessori is a lifestyle. By using the Montessori approach with your child, you’ll also reawaken your own curiosity and ignite your creativity. The principles of the Montessori Method can help you turn learning into family fun.


*Please know that I am not trying to do a disservice to teachers within a traditional public school system. Being raised by a public school teacher, I know the positive impact teachers have on children, I realize the hard work that goes into teaching. I understand there are public school systems that work for kids.

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