The Montessori Curriculum

The Montessori classroom is designed to promote self-discipline, independence
and responsibility. Academically, children develop a foundation in language and math skills, physical and cultural geography, zoology, botany, physical science, history and art. They also learn practical life skills such as cooking, carpentry, sewing and cleaning. One of the most important aspects of our classroom is to instill a sense of respect, independence and improve self- esteem which leads to confidence.

Below is a table that generally summarizes the difference.

Traditional Approach to Education Children grouped chronologically Montessori Approach to Education Non-graded (two or three year age span)
Class seated at desks much of time. Postponement of cognitive development until first grade. Basic readers (traditional “see and say”) or “whole language” (non-traditional “see and say”). Students “work” at tables, group lessons on floor with freedom of movement. Critical cognitive skills developed before age six. Phonetic-based, multi-sensorial; more flexible writing and reading opportunities.
Teacher “corrects” pupils’ “errors”. Children are different. Some can learn– others cannot. No implicit trust and respect for every child. Teacher centered. Teacher is transmitter of knowledge. Homogeneous grouping Implicit trust and respect for every child. Child centered. Children learn through their own discovery and experience. Multiage grouping for community atmosphere
Answers are provided by teacher. Children correct themselves through control of error.
Time periods allotted. Rewards and punishment (grades). No time restrictions. Self-motivation.

The Reggio Emilia Approach

The Reggio Emilia school of thought is a way of approaching education and child advocacy. It is a method of examining what children know, are interested in, and what challenges them in its most basic form. Teachers keep track of these observations so they can consider how best to support kids in developing their social and academic potentials. Long-term initiatives link fundamental academic disciplines inside and outside of the classroom. It’s important for teachers to watch and listen to the kids when using an emergent curriculum to teach and learn.
Teachers question the kids and pay attention to their theories, hypotheses, and
suggestions. Teachers compare, talk about, and evaluate their observations after watching kids in action. Based on their observations, teachers design long-term projects, studies, and activities for the classroom. The Cycle of Inquiry is a collaborative process between teachers and students that involves the sharing of theories. Teachers discuss their decisions with kids based on their interpretations, intents, and goals (social, emotional, and academic). Learning is viewed as a spiraling process rather than a linear one.