This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more details.


Did you know that there are more than 10,000 alternative schools in the US? These types of schools use non-traditional teaching methods to help kids learn.One of these types of non-traditional schools is a Montessori school. In a Montessori elementary school, there are no teachers but instead adults who offer assistance to kids. If you’re interested in learning more about Montessori schools and how they differ from traditional schools, this guide is for you. Let’s take a look at 9 ways a Montessori school is different from a traditional school.

What Is a Montessori School?

To fully understand the differences between a Montessori vs a traditional school, you need to know what a Montessori school is. A Montessori school is not just a school that applies the method with the same name. It’s also part of a current philosophy of education that is based on respecting the student’s natural learning methods.In this educational system, the student learns responsibility by cooperating with an adult supervisor to learn tasks. Montessori schools focus on self-motivation and letting the students manage their time on each learning task they take on. These schools create an environment adapted to each student’s learning style. In the classroom, the student is free to decide on what subjects and activities they want to spend their time on.

1. They Focus on Psychological Development

The first way that this type of school differs from a traditional school is the fact that these schools focus on psychological development. Montessori schools try to help little ones achieve their maximum mental performance. Now, unlike traditional schools, Montessori schools don’t use one clear-cut method to do so. instead, they allow kids to learn at their own rhythm and pace. In contrast, traditional schools follow a predetermined teaching methodology. This methodology isn’t adapted to each student like it is at a Montessori school.

2. How Learning Is Directed

In traditional teaching, learning is directed by the teacher. There may also be a tutor who helps the students learn. These leaders help direct the students regardless of the interests and development of the child. In a Montessori school, on the other hand, learning is directed by the child. The child chooses what to study and learn according to his or her interests and evolution.

3. How Teachers Motivate Students

Although many things are changing, in traditional schools, the use of rewards and punishments has been very present. Today, this approach is being phased out of classrooms in favor of positive discipline. However, that’s very different from Montessori schools. In Montessori schools, self-motivation is key. When a child improves at a task, their interest is stimulated. In this way, Montessori schools give children satisfaction from their personal work, rather than by using rewards and punishments to motivate them.

4. Peer Collaboration

In a Montessori school, children are encouraged to collaborate with their peers. Even so, in this type of setting, children aren’t forced to do group work. It’s always optional. With this method, children learn to work as part of a team. They become encouraged and inspired to work with others, rather than being forced to do it.  In traditional schools, however, group work is compulsory. What’s more, the teacher usually forms the teams. Then, the children have to learn to collaborate while they do the work.

5. Montessori Allows Flexible Schedules

In a traditional school, there are rigid schedules that students have to follow. What’s more, each subject is limited by time. When this time limit is exceeded, the activity is changed and students go to their next class. On the other hand, in a Montessori school, the child decides how he wants to spend his time. He or she chooses how much time to dedicate to a particular piece of material. 

6. Montessori Encourages Self-Knowledge

In a Montessori school, children must learn about their well-being. The activities that Montessori schools come up with relate self-knowledge with discipline and positive education. The traditional school system, on the other hand, puts less focus on self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is a topic usually left to the child’s family to teach them.

7. Montessori Uses Different Tools

Traditional schools use textbooks, notes, and notebooks. In contrast, Montessori schools use didactic material and readings that children choose by choice. That means that kids play a much more active role in choosing what they’ll study in a Montessori setting.

8. Montessori Encourages Fellowship

In a traditional school in the classroom, children are grouped by age. Then, they have to follow a marked curriculum according to their age group. In Montessori schools, there is a mixture of ages in the classroom. That allows the littler children to observe the older children. The idea is that this encourages the child’s curiosity and makes it easier for activities and materials to be transferred between children. The result is that the child is constantly stimulated.

9. How Behavior Is Encouraged

In a traditional school, children act a certain way in order to get a prize or receive praise from their teachers. Or, they may behave a certain way to avoid punishment. On the other hand, Montessori schools encourage children to make decisions based on the consequences of their actions. They do not use rewards and punishments but instead let children see how their actions play out in the real world.

Is a Montessori School a Good Choice?

For more than a century, Montessori schools have successfully applied the principles of this methodology. They have given children infinite love of learning and a desire to explore the world around them. That combination has led them to be recognized by key leaders around the globe. The main objective of a Montessori school is to develop the child’s potential and abilities. This helps prepare the student for the many different life experiences he or she will encounter. A school is a place that prepares students for adult life. However, in many cases, schools don’t prepare their students to make decisions on their own. Montessori schools, however, do. They teach children how to make decisions and be happy with those choices. This educational model helps to bring out the maximum potential in the students. On a practical level, this educational system proposes a great diversification of work and gives children the most possible freedom. That lets the child learn by himself and make discoveries on his own. He gets an individualized approach that teaches him to love learning.

The Search for Your School Is Over

Sending your child to a Montessori school can be a great way to help them learn. It’s the ideal system for encouraging your child to dive into learning and enjoy it at the same time.

If you loved this article and want more like it, we’ve got you covered. Check out our other blogs and subscribe so you don’t miss anything!