There has always been a confusion between Kindergarten and Montessori style of learning. Even though both are different styles of learning, parents have been in a dilemma while choosing between the two for decades. And why shouldn’t you be worried? After all it’s a question about the future of your child, right? This is exactly why; we decided to give you a detailed explanation on the two styles or rather methods of learning and education so that your worries can be gone for good!
- The basic difference: To get things cleared in one go, you should note that Kindergarten is a method of education used by majority schools. On the other hand, Montessori is a method of instruction that is used to educate. So, Kindergarten is the education, while Montessori is the approach or method to educate. Kindergarten is a part of education and is found in most schools whereas Montessori is the way of education that may or may not be present or be used in the school.
- Structure of education: Kindergarten is a more structured education system where the role of a teacher is pre-defined and they follow the same technique for all students. On the contrary, Montessori style uses a fluid/unstructured approach where each student is allowed to express him/herself and the teacher adapts to the students style in order to impart knowledge.
- Age of student: Kindergarten style of learning is designed for children between the ages of three to five, which forms the base of their primary education. Montessori style is basically for children up to the age of six years after which it becomes optional. Studies have proved Montessori approach to be beneficial even for the teenagers.
- Teacher Role: In a Kindergarten style education system, the teacher forms the crux and is responsible for deciding the methods of teaching and imparting knowledge. They decide what, how and when the students learn about a topic or skills, all in one go. On the other hand, Montessori teachers have a very limited role in deciding what the children learn because they do not decide how or what the children learn. They simply introduce a topic to a student and let that child explore the various possible outcomes for that particular topic or problem. Here, children form the crux and learn through their own experiences and teachers merely guide them.
- Parent Role: In Kindergarten style of learning, the role of teacher and parents is the same. The parents have to adopt similar methods of educating their children even at home. The learning criterion remains the same in both the places and parents have to adopt same techniques. In Montessori style of learning, parents have minimal role similar to teachers. They have to let the children explore and express their creativity and learn through experimentation even at home.
- Learning Pace: In a Kindergarten setup, the child is expected to learn at a similar pace as the other students or they are considered to fall behind or lag skills. In Montessori style setup, the children are allowed to learn at their own pace and take their own time to learn each skill. Hence, the pressure to perform remains lesser in Montessori setup of learning.
- Classroom Environment: Traditional Kindergarten style classes are designed keeping the teacher in mind and as the focus. Whereas the Montessori classrooms are designed after child behavior observations and keeping the child as the main focus. This allows individual and focused learning.
- Active or Passive: Kindergarten style makes learning passive and more orated to the children because of a predefined and structured syllabus. This requires children to memorize and take assignments or tests. Montessori style adopts an active approach where lessons are more “hands-on” with real experiences and students discover for themselves.
- Self-Esteem: Montessori style of learning advocates the value of self-esteem and understands that it comes from a feeling of self-pride because of a child’s achievements. Kindergarten style understands that self-esteem comes from external assessment and judgment.
- Love for learning: Kindergarten style of learning believes in standardized test performance and grading system whereas Montessori style of learning is designed to appeal to the child’s inner quest for knowledge, the will to learn which makes children love learning.
There are various differences between the two styles of learning and both have their own pros and cons. As parents, we have to decide which one is correct for the child. You need to carefully observe your child and his/her requirements to decide one of these. This is because each child is different and while one is perfect for Kindergarten, other would be outstanding for Montessori, simply because children learn differently and respond differently. However, this does not mean you get paranoid and start fretting over the issue of education!