Montessori vs Traditional

“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child’s spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active.  We may even suffocate life itself.  That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration.  It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning bloom.  Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”  -Maria Montessori

The Story of MARIA MONTESSORI Excerpt from AMS

Maria Montessori was born in the town of Chiaravalle, Italy, on August 31, 1870.  She became one of the first female physicians in Italy upon her graduation from medical school in 1896. In her medical practice, her clinical observations led her to analyze how children learn, and she concluded that they build themselves from what they find in their environment. Shifting her focus from the body to the mind, she returned to the university in 1901, this time to study psychology and philosophy. In 1904, she was made a professor of anthropology at the University of Rome.

Her desire to help children was so strong, however, that in 1906 she gave up both her university chair and her medical practice to work with a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. It was there that she founded, on January 6, 1907, the first Casa dei Bambini, or "Children's House." What ultimately became the Montessori method of education developed there, based upon Montessori's scientific observations of these children's almost effortless ability to absorb knowledge from their surroundings, as well as their tireless interest in manipulating materials. Every piece of equipment, every exercise, every method Montessori developed was based on what she observed children to do "naturally," by themselves, unassisted by adults.

Children teach themselves. This simple but profound truth inspired Montessori's lifelong pursuit of educational reform, methodology, psychology, teaching, and teacher training--all based on her dedication to furthering the self-creating process of the child.

Maria Montessori made her first visit to the United States in 1913, the same year that Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel founded the Montessori Educational Association at their Washington, DC, home. Among her other strong American supporters were Thomas Edison and Helen Keller.

In 1915, she attracted world attention with her "glass house" schoolroom exhibit at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco. On this second U.S. visit, she also conducted a teacher training course and addressed the annual conventions of both the National Education Association and the International Kindergarten Union. The committee that brought her to San Francisco included Margaret Wilson, the daughter of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times--in 1949, 1950, and 1951.

Montessori Program Traditional Program
The method respects individual differences Emphasis is on conforming to the group
Students learn at their own pace, free to complete a project or pursue a subject as deeply as they wish, according to personal enthusiasm Subjects are taught in lecture form and students must change classes and attend lessons all at the same time
Universal values (honesty, respect, compassion, fairness, etc.) are an integral part of our classroom community. Values are not emphasized.
The learning process is student-centered and emphasizes self-motivation Emphasis is on grades, punishments or rewards as motivating factors
The classroom is used as a library or resource room for studying and completing projects: students are free to move as needed and are active participants in building their own knowledge Students work at desks, passively listening to lecture for directions and instructions. Passive learning is more tiring and the school work day has to be divided into periods with planned interruptions
Multi-age grouping is practiced so that students may benefit from peer teaching/learning.  Students are grouped chronologically to suit teachers’ pre-planned class lessons
Testing is built into the Montessori method as the third period of the “three-period lesson” and is a teaching technique that is applied routinely on an individual bases. The purpose of all testing here is to allow self-correction, repetition and achieve competence at one’s own pace Scheduled testing does not take into consideration the preparation of each individual student. It assumes that all students learn at the same rate. Tests are not designed as teaching tools, but rather as rewarding or punitive methods. The pass or fail grades simple reflect if a student has conformed or not to class standards