Traditional Classroom vs. The Montessori Environment

Montessori: Creating a Paradigm Shift in Education

Traditional ClassroomMontessori Environment
Textbooks, pencil and paper, worksheets and dittosPrepared kinesthic materials with incorporated control of error, specially developed reference materials
Working and learning without emphasis on social developmentWorking and learning matched to the social development of the child
Narrow, unit-driven curriculumUnified, internationally developed curriculum
Individual subjectsIntegrated subjects and learning based on developmental psychology
Block time, period lessonsUninterrupted work cycles
Single-graded classroomsMulti-age classrooms
Students passive, quiet, in desksStudents active, talking, with periods of spontaneous quiet, freedom to move
Students fit mold of schoolSchool meets needs of students
Students leave for special helpSpecial help comes to students
Product-focused report cardsProcess-focused assessment, skills checklists, mastery benchmarks

Content courtesy of the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association.
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