Montessori Preschool vs. Traditional Preschool

Montessori Preschool vs. Traditional Preschool

Many people use “preschool” as a general term to encompass all educational facilities that enroll children aged 2 through 4. What many of them do not know is that there are different kinds of preschools. Montessori is an option many parents know little about. When it comes to Montessori vs traditional preschool, they mainly differ in the teaching philosophy they subscribe to. This difference can have many implications for the way the classroom operates.

With options available, it can be difficult to decide which kind of preschool you would like your child to attend. A multitude of variables can influence which options are even available to you. If you have several that meet your criteria, you have to narrow them down to one. One such option might be Montessori preschool, which differs from traditional preschool in a few ways. Here, we will be discussing the differences between them, and hopefully, you will get a better idea of which one you prefer.

Montessori Preschool vs Traditional Preschool:

The Role of Teachers

Basically, Montessori preschool has a focus on independence. Traditional preschool is usually skill-centered. In the former, kids learn how to take care of themselves and their own needs. Examples include cleaning up their own messes and making their own meals. Teachers are present to serve as guides during times of confusion, as well as mediators during times of turmoil.

In a regular preschool setting, education is a lot more like what you are probably familiar with, with teachers closely monitoring and directing the activities of the children. There is a degree of independence, as there would be in any classroom situation, but there is not a particular focus on it.

While the Montessori method leaves ample room for mistakes, it also cultivates personal responsibility that traditional programs may not. Some feel that children in Montessori end up being well-equipped to take care of themselves independently. These proponents also see regular preschool often result in children still relying on parents or guardians for everything.

Subject Matter

 Traditional programs generally establish curricula that all students are expected to follow in unison. In this way, it is a lot like public school – every child learns the same skillset and can be tested on the same material, regardless of who they are as an individual.

Montessori programs, on the other hand, do not have to use a curriculum at all. It’s likely that they will to some degree because certain basic skills are necessary to be able to communicate, read, or write. Outside of this, though, preschoolers follow their own paths and learn about what they want to learn about. Multisensory learning is often a big part of the Montessori curriculum.

They might practice activities like:

  • Peeling fruit
  • Watering flowers
  • Playing with instruments
  • Making puzzles

Awarding that kind of freedom to children so young might seem crazy, but it has actually proven to be quite effective. School leaders structure an environment in a way that encourages learning. And when they find something they are deeply focused on, children pursue that subject for as long as they desire. This results in kids growing as individuals, forming distinct personalities, and becoming passionate during the most formative years of their lives.

The Cost

This part is more for you, the parent, and the effect that Montessori preschool might have on you. Compared to traditional preschool, Montessori is usually expensive. This may be due to the unique and specialized learning style the schools adopt, as opposed to the standards-based approach taken by traditional schools.

Whatever the reason, the reality is that you may not want to pay the amount of money Montessori requires. If you are looking for cost-effective ways to send your child to preschool, traditional programs may be your best option. A less expensive educational environment is better than no environment at all. Your child will still have an advantage over the ones who did not have any early learning opportunities, and these advantages will still translate to kindergarten when the time comes.


When spending time with your child or having a babysitter look after them, you might be able to apply the Montessori method yourself.  If you want to do this, let your child explore their passions independently. Do not try to control what they learn, within reason of course. You may find that the benefits of Montessori programs still apply to them, only to a lesser extent due to their being less social interaction with peers.

It is possible that neither of these options is particularly appealing to you. Maybe you do not want to pay the price for Montessori, but you are concerned about your child losing their individuality in a traditional environment. In this case, you should consider alternative ways to give them the best of both worlds. If you want to help your child get ahead and tackle kindergarten readiness, consider signing up for ArgoPrep’s K-8 online math program.

Whether you choose Montessori or traditional, preschool is a great way to stimulate learning in the developmental years. The first five years of a child’s life are crucial, as they are learning more now than they will be able to in the future. No matter what, make sure your choice is right for both you and your child.