As an education method that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play, the Montessori method empowers children to make creative choices in their learning. At the same time, the environment and teacher provide guidance through this process. Montessori classrooms are specially crafted to meet the needs of children at different stages of development, and Montessori material is designed to promote a child’s independence and freedom.
In this vein, science in Montessori is known for introducing children to advance topics early in life, and the Montessori materials and lessons are meant to foster a child’s sense of wonder around topics like the universe, physical science, and life science.
Traditional academic curriculums use a standardized set of guidelines that are applied based on the child’s age. Traditional classrooms have set units that are to be completed at a clearly defined time and on schedule. All students are tested on the same day, no matter how much understanding they have, and once the assessment is finished, another unit begins.
Alternatively, Montessori science allows children to master concepts on an individual time schedule, only presenting new material once a child is developmentally ready. Teachers work with children to assess their skill mastery. Montessori focuses on concepts, while traditional education relies on memory.
Another difference between the two educational methods is the materials used in the classroom. Traditional education presents science as heavily textbook and workbook-based. These books present details blandly and fail to pique children’s interests. Teachers explain everything incrementally, and a child’s memory is tested to determine how much they can recall. Montessori material is designed to teach children independence and give them the freedom to engage in their development according to their own development timeline.
Overall, the differences presented between Montessori and traditional science education stem from the flexibility of the Montessori method, allowing the education approach to be tailored to meet the needs of each individual student.