Montessori Traditional
Emphasis is on cognitive and social development Emphasis is on social development
Teacher has unobtrusive role in classroom Teacher is center of classroom as “controller”
Environment and method encourage self-discipline Teacher is primary enforcer of discipline
Mainly individual instruction Group and individual instruction
Mixed age grouping Same age grouping
Grouping encourages the children to teach and help each other Most teaching is done by the teacher
Child chooses own work Curriculum is structured for the child
Child discovers own concepts from self-teaching materials Child is guided to concepts by the teacher
Child works as long as he/she wishes on chosen project
Child is generally allotted specific time for work
Child sets own learning pace Instruction pace is set by group norm
Child spots own errors from feedback of material If work is corrected, errors are usually pointed out by the teacher
Child reinforces own learning by repetition of work and internal feelings of success Learning is reinforced externally by repetition and rewards
Multi-sensory materials for physical exploration Fewer materials for sensory development
Organized program for learning care of self and environment Less emphasis of self-care instruction
Child can work where he/she chooses, move around and talk at will (yet not disturb the work of others); group work is voluntary Child usually assigned own chair, encouraged to participate, sit still and listen during group sessions
Organized program for parents to understand the Montessori philosophy and participate in the learning process Voluntary parent involvement

A traditional approach will show pictures of cubes, spheres, and cones, on paper to demonstrate solids in geometry. A young child’s mind will find it difficult to discriminate the difference between a circle and a sphere. It will look the same on paper.

A Montessori approach will have a beautiful set of blue solid shapes.  The teacher will give a lesson on the solids, asking each child to feel the shape of a cube, sphere, and a cone.  The solids are painted in a shiny, rich royal blue and the children are delighted to feel the cold, smooth surfaces.

He/she might describe or have a box, ball, or ice cream cone to further reinforce this concept.

The binomial cube is a beautiful tri-colored (blue, red, and black), three-dimensional puzzle. To a non-Montessorian, it might look just like a complex puzzle. In fact, many parents have attempted but failed to put it together. This lesson is presented between ages 3 ½ and 4 years. The child has to take the puzzle pieces apart in an orderly manner. They are then taught to put it together matching the shape sizes and colors.

As the child repeats the binomial cube, he or she is unknowingly learning the algebraic concept of (a + b)². The binomial cube will be re-introduced later in the elementary class to demonstrate the exponential powers of polynomials.

 
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3rd Year/Kindergarten Meeting March 5, 2015
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