We get asked this question a lot! Families want to know: What’s the difference between the Montessori Method of teaching and a more traditional form of schooling? It’s important to understand the difference between these two types of early childhood education and how it affects preschool.

Although Montessori schools can be different, there are basic fundamentals that you will likely find in common among them. To help demonstrate these differences we’ve created a comparison chart. Use this chart along with your own intuition to help you decide if a Montessori school is right for your child.


  • Holistic Education – Emotional, Social & Academic
  • Individual child sets instructional pace
  • Cognitive development is emphasized
  • Multi-sensory materials are plentiful for physical exploration
  • Children are free to move about the classroom
  • Self-discipline is encouraged
  • Rewards are intrinsic through success as child spots their own errors
  • Teacher(s) are unobtrusive in classroom; role is to guide and support child
  • Children are free to choose work and learning is uninterrupted


  • Child-teacher ratio is approximately 25:1
  • Group sets instructional pace
  • Social development is emphasized
  • Fewer materials for sensory development
  • Children are often assigned to a space
  • Teacher is the enforcer of discipline
  • Rewards are often extrinsic and errors are usually pointed out by teacher
  • Teacher is the center of the classroom
  • Child generally works for blocks of time on assigned subjects