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A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Education
From “The Essential Montessori” by Elizabeth G. Hainstock

  • three-year age span
  • motivated by self-development
  • ungraded
  • self-correcting materials
  • children learn by handling objects and teaching themselves
  • individual learning
  • teacher is observer and directress

  • child completes “cycles of activity”
  • few interruptions
  • freedom to move and work within classroom
  • emphasis on more cognitive learning

  • quiet by choice and out of regard for others
  • materials used for specific purpose with sequence of steps
  • work for joy of working and sense of discovery
  • environment provides discipline
  • encouraged to help one another
  • child chooses materials
  • child sets own pace
  • child free to discover on own
  • emphasis on concrete, reality-orientated
  • specific places for materials, sense of order
  • child provides own stimulus for learning
  • child-centered learning environment
  • self-education through self-correcting materials
  • recognition of sensitive periods
  • multisensory materials to develop specific skills
  • all one age
  • teacher-motivated
  • graded
  • teacher corrects errors
  • teacher lectures

  • group learning
  • teacher is focal point and dominant influence
  • activity cycles determined by set time
  • frequent interruptions
  • assigned seats and specific class periods
  • postponement of 3 R’s, emphasis on social development
  • quiet enforced

  • materials used in many ways without previous instruction
  • work because they are told to

  • teacher provides discipline
  • seek help from the teacher
  • teacher sets curriculum
  • teacher sets pace
  • teacher guides child
  • emphasis on abstract, much role-playing and fantasy
  • random placement, not necessary to return to specific place
  • teacher provides stimulus
  • teacher-centered
  • use of reward and punishment in motivation
  • all children treated alike
  • play materials for nonspecific skills


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