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7 Major Differences Between Montessori and Traditional Preschools

Are you wondering whether to send your child to a traditional preschool or a Montessori one? Here are 7 big differences between the two systems and how to decide which one is right for your little one.



Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. In such a classroom, children make creative choices in their learning while the highly trained teacher offers age appropriate activities to guide the process.

It is rapidly gaining popularity as an alternative method to learning because it offers children many benefits, including:

  • Students become part of a close and caring community
  • Each child is valued as an individual
  • Children enjoy freedom within limits
  • Montessori supports social-emotional skills
  • Students have the freedom to pursue answers to their own questions, resulting in joyous learning that is sustainable over a lifetime

Known for individually paced learning and fostering independence, the Montessori method encourages empathy, a passion for social justice, and promotes joy in lifelong learning.


We Provide a Nurturing and Respectful Learning Environment For All Children

At Grey Matter Montessori Preschool, we aim to foster an environment of growth and well-rounded development, where all students feel valued and engaged. We offer unique programming including dance, yoga, and gymnastics at no extra cost, adding value to the already enriched Montessori and IPC curriculum.

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7 Major Differences Between Traditional and Montessori Preschools

Choosing your child’s first school can feel like an overwhelming task - but it doesn’t have to be one! When you understand the variations in educational philosophy and practical application, you can make the most informed decision about what’s best for your child.

If you are wondering what a Montessori education looks like compared to a traditional preschool, here are 7 big differences you should be aware of:

  1. Active vs Passive: Montessori preschools aim to provide lessons that are hands-on and active, allowing students to discover information and answers for themselves. On the other hand, traditional school lessons are often orated to students who listen passively, memorize, and take tests.

  1. Student Centred vs Teacher-Centred: The Montessori classrooms are prepared in advance based on observations of students’ individual needs and include student-centred activities. Traditional classrooms are based on teacher-centred activities and lessons.

  1. Teachers: In a Montessori preschool, a teacher acts as a guide or consultant to each student, assisting each child on their learning path. In traditional schools, teachers must deliver the same lesson, at the same pace, in the same order to all children, regardless of their differences.

  1. Flexible vs Strict Grade Levels: In Montessori pre-schools, grade levels are flexible and determined by a child’s developmental range (eg. 0-3 years, 3-6 years and so on.) However, in traditional schools, grade levels are strictly defined by chronological age within a twelve month period.

  1. Pacing: In a traditional classroom, all children are expected to work at the same pace, while in a Montessori preschool, a child’s unique work pace is honoured and encouraged.

  1. Love of Learning vs Tests: While traditional curricula focuses on standardized test performance and grades, the Montessori program is designed to appeal to a child’s innate desire for knowledge, and so promotes a love for lifelong learning.

  1. Internal vs External Validation: The Montessori program recognizes that a child’s self esteem comes from an internal sense of pride in his/her own accomplishments. However, in traditional classrooms, children learn that self-esteem comes from external judgement and validation.


Let Your Child Reach Their True Potential at Grey Matter Montessori

At Grey Matter Montessori Preschool, not only do we offer personalized, joyful, and hands-on education, but we also strive to nurture confidence, creativity, and emotional development in each of our students.

If you want to learn more about our Montessori preschool in Calgary, contact us at 587-707-4739 or book a tour of our school.


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Another shout out to an amazing school here in #Calgary! Our youngest son goes to this school and he loves it! In just 5 short months his knowledge has grown, his confidence is starting to bloom and he just loves learning! The personal touch the wonderful teachers provide is certainly priceless!  What I love is that when you walk in there, there is always calming music playing softly, and everyone is smiling and friendly 

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