Montessori vs traditional education: What do parents need to know? What’s the difference between Montessori and traditional elementary schools? 

As parents begin to look for the right school for their child, they have many questions. Oftentimes, they begin to wonder what the difference is between a Montessori classroom and a traditional elementary classroom. Moreover, they want to understand what sets the program apart and why those differences matter. Finally, they want to know which is a better fit for their child. 

As you look for educational opportunities for your child, selecting a private school often depends on where you live. Some communities have an abundance of options while others have only a few. When you understand the key differences of Montessori vs traditional education, you have a better way to narrow your focus. 

Understanding Your Options

As parents make crucial decisions for their child’s future, they face many tough decisions. When you want to compare Montessori vs traditional education, it’s important to understand your options. 

Oftentimes, people hear the term “Montessori” and believe that these private schools are unaffordable, only serving the wealthy. However, more and more schools bring the Montessori Method into their curriculum to help a broad range of students in many communities. 

Class Sizes

In traditional environments, they focus on efficient education over effective education. Often, budget constraints force students into classrooms with high student-to-teacher ratios. This results in a teacher-centered education as they try to share knowledge and answers. 

In a Montessori school, the nature of the methodology centers on the students. With smaller groups and education driven by the individual, students have an opportunity to discover and experiment. Typically, this means fewer time restrictions and self-paced instruction through open-ended activities. 

This allows students to find answers for themselves. Often, these explorations result in a deeper engagement with the subject as students ask questions. Moreover, these methods nourish curiosity and foster a love of learning. 

Time for Instruction

With a traditional school, the day is broken into different lessons that align with the ringing of bells. Unfortunately, this leaves teachers at the mercy of the clock as they try to cram instruction into the lesson. Moreover, they often have to focus on preparation for standardized tests. 

Additionally, they place a greater emphasis on grades with pre-established objectives for performance.

At Montessori schools, the emphasis is on student inquiry. This lets students pursue their own questions on their own or as a group. There’s more freedom in the learning environment. 

They also enjoy longer blocks of time without interruptions that limit their learning.  

Delivery of Lessons

In Montessori vs traditional education, it’s important to understand the delivery. Oftentimes, traditional education relies heavily on a one-size-fits-all model of education. This is due to the mandates in place for education and graduation requirements. 

There are set units, required lessons, and organized progress through a uniform curriculum. All these factors determine how a student falls into their educational path. With little modification, there’s not much room for students to learn according to their interests or learning styles.

With a Montessori environment, self-direction allows students to make their own choices. As such, it meets students where they are in terms of how they engage with a lesson and what they take from it. 

Instead of compartmentalizing knowledge, students integrate subjects as they arise in projects and investigations. 

Montessori vs Traditional Education: Choosing Between the Two

When you understand the key differences of Montessori vs traditional education, you take a good first step in making a choice that’s best for your child. Once you have a good feel for your options, take the time to visit schools and learn more about them. 

As you narrow down your options, tours help you get a sense of the values schools hold. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to engage with staff and learn more about the curriculum. You can see how your child will spend their day and gauge whether that’s a good fit for them. 

At our classical school, Houston students have an opportunity to benefit from a range of educational methods. In our Lower Montessori School, we help to foster a love for learning that shapes their education for years to come. 

To learn more about Saint Nicholas School, contact our administration today!