Montessori Vs Traditional: The Ultimate List of Differences

If you’re curious about what differences between Montessori and Traditional there are, then keep reading.

When it comes to education, particularly in homeschooling, there are different approaches that parents can take. Here, we’ll take Montessori and Traditional and list their differences whether at home or in school.

For easy navigation, you can use the table of contents to go directly to what you want to know. I’ve divided them into five, i.e., curriculum, teaching style, environment, assessment, and cost.

1. Curriculum

Lesson Plan & Activities

In Montessori, there are prescribed activities in each key learning area which are prepared and presented according to the readiness and the interest of the child.On the other hand, traditional homeschooling follows a set curriculum and schedule for the whole academic year that is determined by the parent or teacher.

Practical Skills Development

In Montessori, there is a heavy emphasis on practical life skills from the toddler age, such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening. These skills are seen as essential for a child’s development.Traditional education may not prioritize these skills in the curriculum. These are however often incorporated in subjects for older children.

Subjects Focus

In Montessori, subjects are often integrated into each other, with a focus on the interconnectivity of knowledge.In traditional, subjects are taught separately, with little emphasis on their relationship to each other.

Use of Technology

Montessori homeschooling may limit the use of technology, with a focus on hands-on materials and activities.Traditional education may involve more use of technology in the curriculum.


Montessori allows for more flexibility in scheduling, with the child able to work at their own pace.Traditional education may have a more structured and rigid schedule.

2. Teaching Style

Class Composition

Montessori schools often include multi-age classrooms (with 3-year clusters of ages 3-6, 6-9, 9-12) where children of different ages and abilities learn together. Traditional education usually involves teaching children of the same age for each year in separate classes.

Materials Used

Montessori education involves hands-on learning activities and materials that promotes self-correction.Traditional education may rely more on textbooks, lectures, worksheets, quizzes, and projects.

Use of Rewards and Punishments

In Montessori, there is a focus on intrinsic motivation rather than external rewards or punishments. Children are encouraged to develop self-discipline and self-motivation.Traditional education may use rewards and punishments (with class ranking, grades, detention, suspension, and more) as a means to motivate or to discourage negative behaviors.


Montessori promotes the use of natural consequences to discipline children.While traditional education may use punishment-based approaches.

Approach to Mistakes

Montessori homeschooling encourages children to learn from their mistakes and see them as opportunities for growth.Traditional education may place more emphasis on avoiding mistakes.

Role of Teacher

In Montessori, the teacher acts as a guide rather than a lecturer. They provide the tools for the child’s learning and provide support when needed.Traditional education may involve more direct teaching and instruction.

Parental Involvement

Montessori may require more time commitment from parents who are “home”-schooling due to the need for specialized training and preparation of learning materials.Traditional may be less time-consuming for parents. Although it depends on how much involvement the parent is committed to give to the child’s learning.

3. Environment

Freedom of Movement

In Montessori homeschooling, children are free to move around the classroom and choose their work. This allows for more autonomy and self-direction.Traditional homeschooling may involve more sitting and listening.


Montessori often creates a physically inviting environment that is designed to promote creativity and exploration. Learning spaces are kept simple and purposeful to prevent the child from being overstimulated or distracted from their work.Traditional school environment may have a more utilitarian approach to the physical environment. Some classrooms may appear cluttered with different colors and designs on the surroundings.

Type of Materials Used

Montessori more often uses natural materials, such as wood and cloth, in learning activities. This allows children to connect with the natural world and develop a sense of appreciation for it.Traditional homeschooling may rely more on artificial materials, such as plastic and metal.

4. Assessment

Assessment Focus

Montessori education may place more emphasis on formative assessment, which tracks a child’s progress over time.While traditional education may place more emphasis on summative assessment, which evaluates a child’s performance at a specific point in time.

Progress Check

Montessori involves individualized assessment, where each child’s progress is tracked and evaluated based on their own abilities and goals.Traditional homeschooling may use standardized tests or grades to assess intelligence or knowledge.

Approach to Grades

Montessori may not use grades as a form of assessment, instead focusing on a child’s individual progress and goals.Traditional education may use grades as a primary form of assessment.

5. Cost


Montessori can be more expensive due to the cost of specialized materials.Traditional homeschooling may rely more on affordable materials such as textbooks and workbooks.


Montessori may require specialized training for parents and teachers who guide the children in their education, which can add to the cost.Traditional education may not require as much training for parents.

Tuition Fees

Private Montessori schools usually have higher tuition fees than private traditional schools, although the difference can depend on the location and availability of schools. This is due to their unique approach to education and smaller class sizes.Private traditional schools can also be expensive, but are generally more widespread and accessible.


Montessori and traditional education are completely different approaches. When deciding between the two, it is important for parents to carefully consider their child’s individual needs and learning style.

While Montessori may require a greater time and financial commitment, the benefits of a child-led, hands-on approach to learning can be invaluable. On the other hand, traditional education may provide a more structured and flexible curriculum that better suits some children.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on what is best for the child and their unique learning needs.

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