Montessori Comparison



Emphasis on: cognitive and social development


Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom


Environment and method encourage self-discipline


Mainly individual instruction


Mixed age grouping


Grouping encourages children to teach and help each other


Child chooses own work


Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials


Child works as long as he wishes on chosen project


Child sets own learning pace


Child spots own errors from feedback of material


Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and 

internal feelings of success


Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration


Organized program for learning care of self and 

environment (polishing shoes, cleaning the sink, etc.)


Child can work where he chooses, move around and talk 

at will (yet not disturb work of others); group work is 



Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori 

philosophy and participate in the learning process

Emphasis on: social development


Teacher is center of classroom as “controller”


Teacher acts as primary enforcer of discipline


Group and individual instruction


Same age grouping


Most teaching done by teacher


Curriculum structured for child


Child is guided to concepts by teacher


Child generally allotted specific time for work


Instruction pace usually set by group norm


If work is corrected, errors usually pointed out by teacher


Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards



Fewer materials for sensory development


Less emphasis on self-care instruction



Child usually assigned own chair: encouraged to 

participate, sit still and listen during group sessions



Voluntary parent involvement