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Montessori Compared to Traditional Education

  • We see each child as an individual who is expected to work to his/her full potential.

  • Our teachers act as a resource, guiding children to actively learn by research, discovery and exploration.

  • Each child competes against him/herself.  Cooperation and helping others are encouraged.

  • The day consists of a long, uninterrupted work period to foster concentration.  The children move independently, at their own pace, moving to the next work as they are ready.

  • We have 3-year groupings within each classroom.  This fosters peer teaching and multi-level learning.

  • Children move about the room, accepting responsibility for where and how they work.

  • Children discover their errors through working with the materials.  They learn that mistakes are okay and help us learn.

  • Children are with the same teacher and group of children for 3 years.

  • Children develop an inner sense of self-control.

  • The main form of evaluation is observation.  Through observation, the teacher learns to recognize each child’s strengths and weaknesses and adjusts that child’s learning program accordingly.

  • Time is given to conflict resolution.  We strongly believe that, on some days, this is the most important lesson the children will receive.

  • Children are expected as a group to achieve state-mandated goals.

  • The teacher’s role is dominant and active; children are passive participants.

  • Competition is encouraged.  Telling another child how to do something can be considered cheating.

  • The class works on a series of subjects, all moving at the same time to the next activity.  Children who are done early have to wait.  Children who need more time have to catch up later.

  • Children are grouped in one age-level per class.

  • Children remain seated at their desks.

  • Errors are corrected by the teacher.  Mistakes mean a lower grade.

  • Children are re-shuffled between classes and teachers each year.

  • Discipline relies on external means of control, such as rewards and punishments.

  • The main form of evaluation is testing.  Changes in curriculum are made at a class or school level in preschool, and a district or state level in elementary schools.

  • Lesson plan requirements and the increasing emphasis on standards and test prep leave little room in the day for unanticipated delays.

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