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Montesori vs. Traditional

Non-graded (two or three year age span) Children are grouped chronologically
Student "work" at tables. Group lessons are on the floor with freedom of movement Class is seated at a desk for most of the day
Children pursue their own self-paced curriculum. In various group sizes and different areas of the room The class, as a group, studies one subject at a time
Critical cognitive skills developed by the age of 6 Postponement of cognitive development until 1st grade
Children learn from peers, self-correcting materials. The teachers role is a guide. Teachers "correct" pupil's "errors"
Child work independently Children are dependent on the teacher
No time restrictions Time period allotted
Each child learns at his or her own pace Some are held back, and some are pushed ahead.
Self –motivation Rewards and punishment (grades)
Children are self-directed and make their own choices Teacher-directed with very little choice

A study was done comparing the methods of a traditional school with the methods of the Montessori education. This study showed that the children who attended the Montessori school had better social and academic skills.

The study appears in the Sept. 29th, 2006 issue of the journal SCIENCE.

Children were evaluated at the end of the primary level of Montessori education; (3-6 year-olds). They came from families of very similar income levels.

The children who attended the Montessori school, and the children who did not, were tested for their cognitive and academic skills, and for their social and behavioral skills.

Significant advantages were found for the Montessori students in these tests. Particularly remarkable were the positive social effects of Montessori education. Typically the home environment overwhelms all other influences in that area.

Among 5 year olds, Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children. They also tested better on "executive function", the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.

Montessori children also displayed better abilities on the social and behavioral tests, demonstrating a greater sense of justice and fairness. And on the playground they were much more likely to engage in emotionally positive play with other children, and less likely to engage in rough play.