Joyous Montessori Explains The Difference Between a Montessori School And Traditional School
You no doubt have heard the term Montessori as an option for education. But you might wonder what the term means, and how does it differ from a traditional publicly funded education model?
The basis of Montessori schools dates back to 1907, and the teachings are based on scientific observations — specifically, that children can guide their own learning when provided with some parameters. However, Joyous Montessori in Texas notes there are several key differences between the Montessori approach and the traditional school model that are worth considering.
More Flexible Curriculum
The teachings that are delivered in a public school are generally standardized across the board — meaning the same content and approach are applied to every student. The Montessori method recognizes that some children learn differently and at different speeds and provides a flexible framework that adapts to the needs of each student.
There are set materials within the Montessori model, however Joyous Montessori explains that students are afforded more choice to experience them at their own pace without intervention unless required.
Rather than sitting as a group and learning orally from an instructor, the students are given more opportunities for active, hands-on experiences with an emphasis on choice. While a particular lesson is given a set amount of time in a traditional classroom, the learning is more open-ended with less time constraints in a Montessori environment.
The focus is also less about learning course material in order to succeed in testing, which typically measures academic performance in a public-school setting. Montessori learning is more about self-discovery and building self-esteem, with a goal to develop a natural love of learning rather than achieving the highest scores possible.
Recognition of ‘Sensitive Periods’
Montessori recognizes the basis of “sensitive periods” within a child’s development timeline. Essentially, says Joyous Montessori, these are times when a child is naturally curious about developing a certain skill — which range from exploring movement to expressing themselves through writing and an expanding vocabulary.
The strategy used in Montessori schools during these crucial times of self-discovery is by providing a level of autonomy within a prepared environment. By laying out the learning tools in advance, Montessori teachers help guide the children while also allowing space for them to discover and complete tasks on an individual basis.
Developmental Milestones vs. Grade Levels
In public schools, the child’s grade level is dictated primarily by their age — for example, the same group will move chronologically through kindergarten to grade 3 regardless of individual development.
In Montessori schools such as Joyous Montessori, the emphasis is more on developmental age ranges — for example, children aged 3 to 6 may be grouped together depending on common milestones. There is no expectation to “move up” based on age alone, explains the school. Rather, children move up when they are ready to advance, having shown the skills needed.
Joyous Montessori adds that a Montessori school is catered to the student, with more autonomy to explore and learn, without some of the pressures and expectations that are faced by students in a traditional school system.