The differences between Montessori and Mainstream Education

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Montessori EducationMainstream Education
Based on helping the natural development of the human beingBased on the transfer of a national curriculum
Children learn at their own pace and follow their own individual interestChildren learn from a set curriculum according to a timeframe that is the same for everyone
Children teach themselves using materials specifically prepared for that purposeChildren are taught by the teacher
Child is an active participant in learningChild is a passive participant in learning
Understanding comes through the child’s own experiences via the materials and the promotion of children’s ability to find things out for themselvesLearning is based on subjects and is limited to what is given.
Learning is based on the fact that physical exploration and cognition are linkedChildren sit at desks and learn from a whiteboard and worksheets
Child can work where he/she is comfortable, moves around and talks at will while not disturbing othersChild is usually assigned own chair and encouraged to sit still and listen during group sessions
The teacher works in collaboration with the childrenThe class is teacher led
The child’s individual development brings its own reward and therefore motivationMotivation is achieved by a system of reward and punishment
Environment and method encourage internal self-disciplineTeacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline
Child works as long as he/she wishes on chosen projectChild generally given specific time limit for work
Uninterrupted work cyclesBlock time, period lessons
Mixed age groupsSame age groups
Working and learning matched to the social development of the childWorking and learning without emphasis on the social development of the child
Shared emphasis on intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual developmentMain emphasis on intellectual development
Shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, practical and life skillsMain focus on academics