Over 100 years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian Physician, created a new vision of education for children, which is often thought of as the “education for life.” Montessori is a worldwide education system founded at the beginning of the century that is based upon a lifetime of research by Dr. Maria Montessori.
Dr. Montessori’s philosophy is based on the natural development of children and their intrinsic desire to explore, discover, and learn from the world around them.
To enter a Montessori school is to enter into a world specially prepared for the comfort and stimulation of the child. The classrooms are carefully designed environments where children of mixed ages work together or independently with multi-sensory materials that invite them to touch, to think, to experience. Children move freely around the classroom, are able to choose activities that interest them and are able to continue working with it until a sense of accomplishment is achieved. Before the child chooses another activity, materials are put back in place. With the freedom to choose, children develop self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-mastery.
Because the Montessori classroom is child-centered, the Montessori teacher is seen as more of a facilitator than an instructor. The teacher serves as the link between the student and the learning environment, observing each child’s progress, and introducing the next step to enable the child to master a skill.
Montessori philosophy differs from traditional school in three primary ways.
Multi-aged classrooms: Children are grouped in multi-age groups spanning two to three years. Multi-age classrooms serve to: encourage cooperation, minimize competition, provide opportunities for indirect learning for younger students as they observe older peers, foster self-confidence in students who serve as role models, and provide long-term child/adult relationships. Educational materials are concrete to aid the child to learn order, to discriminate physical dimensions, provide opportunities to teach responsibility, coordination, and interdependence, and to indirectly prepare for complex abstract concepts.Each child initially responds to an inner urge to develop both knowledge and build identity through spontaneous activity which charts the course for individualized lessons.
Here is a specific list of differences between Montessori and Traditional way of teaching: