Humans are the product of millions of years of evaluation, behaviors, and attitudes for survival and development. This process of development is natural and simple. The child feels certain urges in a specific time period, and these urges lead him to development in different aspects of life.
The same is the case with the learning process. The children naturally have a creed and curiosity for learning and exploring the world around them. They cannot have the best learning experiences at home as the homes are designed more for adults’ needs. So, the schooling and learning centers are a better place to let them flourish and have more learning opportunities.
Difference between Montessori and Public Schools:
When it comes to deciding on early education, we all get confused somehow about what school to choose between the public schools and much talked about Montessori schools. What inspires children more to be better successful humans? What makes them more independent learners? But what school to choose between the public schools and much talked about Montessori schools? What inspires children more to be better successful humans? What makes them more independent learners?
Let us explore in this article what are the main factors to discriminate these two ways of education and what could be more beneficial for your child not only for early years cognitive, social, and language skills but also to foster their fine motor & gross motor skills, emotional intelligence, sense of order and independent learning skills. Let us compare:
There are numerous ways in which the Montessori method differs from conventional Schools. The difference lies in pedagogy, classroom settings, planning and presenting activities and material, etc. To make it clearer, let us evaluate these 5 differences between these two methods of education:
- INDEPENDENCE AND ACTIVITY
- PREPARED ENVIRONMENT
- MIXED AGE GROUP
- ROLE OF TEACHER & ADULT
- INDEPENDENCE AND ACTIVITY:
Traditional or public schools offer single lectures for the whole crowded class where there is a fixed goal for all the students with the capacity to perform almost on an equal level. No matter if the student understands that specific topic well individually, still he/she is bound for showing performance in case of learning gaps even to score in assessments.
On the other hand, in the Montessori method, the focus is the “child’s learning” not the “teacher’s teaching”. Generally, you can see a child busy more in individual or small group work rather than a whole class lesson. The child is free to choose his own work/material most of the time under the task given by the directress. To master this task, the child attends the demonstration first and then starts practicing on his own to gain “perfection” going from “easy to complex”.
- PREPARED ENVIRONMENT:
In traditional education, there is a preplanned year ahead with each week with time-bound outcomes to gain. The teachers are bound to get those results in that specific time with summative or formative assessments and test-based grades or scoring. This practice sometimes discourages the students who may not have complete command over that specific lesson.
The Montessori method says that children love to work purposefully when they are given a suitable “prepared environment” rather than being forced to do or learn something which may not be appealing or interesting according to their inner urge. For kids of all ages, there is a variety of supplies and furniture. Each child has access to the materials in this prepared environment, which are arranged on low shelves and are visible. The furniture, shelving, utensils, dishware, cleaning supplies, and the Montessori materials are all adjusted to the child’s size.
At a certain age, when children need to be exposed to an environment to support “total development”. Having received a demo lesson called “three-period lesson”, the children can perform the activities without the interference of the directress, recognize their errors and fix them to be “independent learners”.
- MIXED AGE GROUP:
Certain age number is almost a set criterion for traditional schooling where the grade levels are age-bound at the time of admission. It’s a common practice of traditional education to assume that a certain age group qualifies best under the same learning conditions and environments.
Whereas the Montessori method’s prominent feature is the “mix age group”. When younger pupils are having difficulty, older ones can lead and mentor them. Peer learning and working at their own speed can be beneficial for the younger kids to gain confidence, and empathy and fosters emotional intelligence to be better adults in the future. It’s the duty of the directress to keep a record of each child and monitor his/her individual progress.
- ROLE OF TEACHER & ADULT:
In public sector schools, we usually see the teachers delivering lectures to the class to explain and comprehend the complex parts through board lessons, interactive sessions, and activities. Whereas in the Montessori method, teachers are commonly called “directress/guide” who just works as a facilitator in the class. She arranges the relevant material on low shelves to allow the children to explore and work with it. At times, she demonstrates how to use a specific material in individual lessons mostly, and group lessons in rare; and how to wrap up and place the material back on shelves. This supports the children to grow as confident learners with advanced skills like reading, writing, problem-solving, social & emotional intelligence, self-correcting techniques, and a sense of order.
While talking about the curriculum there is also a marked difference between traditional education and Montessori education. Traditional schools usually offer a national curriculum with a system of rewards, a specific time period for tasks, and academic development. Whereas the Montessori method focuses on individual development, offering the curriculum for a self-disciplined approach where the children have an uninterrupted learning pace to become successful adults. Other than national interests, they are taught to focus on cosmic peace and education.
Moreover, institutions inspired by the Montessori method well understand that children have a natural curiosity about the activities they have seen their adults doing; such as cutting or peeling vegetables, washing dishes and surfaces, preparing meals, polishing or lacing up shoes, etc. By learning these real-life skills, the children can increase independence, develop a sense of discipline, and take pride in finishing a task.
Keeping all these skills ahead, the Montessori curriculum offers all the skills like Language & Literacy, Mathematics, Sensorial, EPL (Exercises of Practical Life), Culture (Science, History, Geography, Music & Arts), & Handwork as a complete guiding path essential for making a child a successful human to play his/her part as a responsible citizen and human as Maria Montessori said,
“The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”