Comparing the Montessori Classroom
to the Traditional Preschool/Daycare

Trying to decide if you want to go with a Traditional Child Care Center in the Minneapolis, MN area, or if the Montessori Model would be a better fit for your children? Below we have made it easy to compare the two side by side. Learn about the learning styles, as well as what is included with both. If you have any additional questions about Montessori Child Care or would like to take a tour of our facilities, please contact us today!



Children are in the same classroom from 2 ½ through 6 years, fostering a long-term, trusting relationship with the teacher. The teacher knows the child’s learning style, level of development, and provides stability in long term planning.The child moves to a new classroom each year and the focus is on structure through group learning and fixed timetables.
Mixed age classroom. Older children learn to nurture by helping younger children. Older children reinforce their own learning by mentoring younger children. Younger children look up to older children as role-models. Children are encouraged to teach, collaborate, and help each other.Same-age grouping. No opportunity to learn from older children or to nurture younger children.
Math, Language, Science and Geography, are built into the curriculum at no extra charge. World languages and world music are also included in the tuition.Math, language, science, and geography, if offered, focus on specific activities or are adjuncts to the program for which the parent pays extra. Music and language are optional programs that cost extra.
Montessori adults are “Guides” – learning is self-directed by the child. Most instruction is one-on-one through a presentation to the individual child using a teachable moment when the child is ready.The teacher controls the classroom and directs the activities. The child is a passive participant in learning.
Grace & Courtesy lessons help children learn and practice social situations and support a peaceful classroom environment.There are no Grace & Courtesy lessons.
Rich environment is an extension of home, with soft lighting and minimal decoration for a calm learning environment with natural wooden shelves and furniture.May have bright colors and busy patterns in the toys, environment or furniture, which distracts from learning.
Extended work period allows for complete “cycle of activity”. Children are able to focus on one particular task for as long as they need, until they feel that they have mastered it.Adult-set schedules move children as a group to a new activity every 20-30 minutes.
Hands-on experiences with research-based materials scientifically designed by Dr. Maria Montessori have a specific pedagogical purpose and allow for the child to discover errors through exploration.The teacher points out errors to the child or corrects errors.
Child formulates own concepts through trial and error with self-teaching materials. Child becomes a self-directed learner.The teacher plans the curriculum usually on a weekly basis and chooses activities for the children as a group.
Learning is self-motivated. The child chooses own work based on interests and abilities.The teacher explains/teaches concepts to the group.
Care of environment activities (sweeping, mopping, dusting, watering plants, washing dishes, etc.) build a sense of community.The teacher cares for the environment.
Freedom within limits encourages internal self-discipline.The teacher acts as primary enforcer of external discipline.
Real-life objects are used in the curriculum, such as shoe polishing, mirror cleaning, pouring from pitchers etc.Learning materials consist mainly of toys.
Defined work space allows child to focus and concentrate.No defined work spaces lead to interruptions in concentration.
Child sets own learning pace to internalize information.Classroom pace is set by the teacher to accommodate the whole group of children.
International curriculum consciously promotes a global perspective and mutual respect.Other cultures, if studied, are typically not integrated into the daily curriculum.
Montessori certified teachers hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree with an additional Montessori teaching credential – a year-long specialized program.Teachers may have only a handful of college classes and may not have specialized studies in how children learn.
Miniapple’s owner/administrator holds a Montessori teaching credential and taught in a Montessori classroom for more than 15 years and directed a program for over 10 years before running her own schools.May be run by an administrator with no educational background or no classroom experience.
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