When you are trying to decide on a child care center or a general educational path for your child, you may be understandably overwhelmed and confused with all of the options available. Many parents tend to default towards a center that offers a traditional educational format like you see in most public schools because it is familiar. However, another great option that you may not know as much about is a Montessori education. Before you decide which type of child care is right for your child, get to know some of the differences between Montessori and traditional education systems. Then, you can be sure you make the right choice for your child.
Hands-On vs Passive Learning
One of the main differences between the Montessori approach to education and the traditional approach is that a Montessori classroom is more hands-on and active. In a traditional classroom, teachers stand at the front of the classroom and give lessons, telling children what they need to know and explaining things to them. The children are passively absorbing information given to them.
In a Montessori classroom, on the other hand, there is none of this. Teachers set up activities for the children to do to help them learn lessons. If they are learning colors for example, they may do a matching activity or color in pictures and words with specific colors. They will learn to match the color to the word by doing rather than by sitting and listening.
This is true of more complex lessons as well including math, writing, and more as the child gets older and more advanced in their lessons. Hands-on learning has been shown to improve information retention and understanding in most if not all children.
Set Pace vs Flexible Pace
Another major difference between Montessori and traditional education systems is the pace at which learning occurs. In a traditional classroom the pace of the lessons is set by the teacher. The lessons move along whether a child has fully grasped the previous lesson or not.
This is not the case with a Montessori education. In a Montessori classroom each student is allowed to go and learn at their own pace. Children are not pushed to move on to new concepts until and unless they are ready to do so. Mastery of certain concepts can take longer for some children, and in a Montessori classroom, that is okay. When students are allowed to learn at their own pace, they are more likely to master concepts, understand what they are learning fully, and have a positive experience with child care and school.
Now that you know a few key differences between a Montessori education and a traditional education, you can better decide which child care environment is right for your child.