At a Montessori school, students are encouraged to seek internal rewards instead of external ones. Rather than earning a stamp or a gold star for doing well, students find joy and passion in how they feel when they learn and master a new concept. The teachers at Montessori schools go through special Montessori training to learn how to apply these unique principles of learning with their students.
While traditional classrooms are based around lessons and activities set up by the teacher and school administrators, Montessori classes are set up in advance to meet the individual needs of each student. Because of this, Montessori students are often able to use specially prepared materials that give each student the ability to teach themselves, especially about their surroundings and the people they meet.
Passive vs. Active Learning
In traditional school settings, the teacher lectures or teaches while the children listen and learn passively. Montessori classrooms focus on active learning. When students actively participate in their learning, they gain an understanding of concepts as they discover how things work on their own. This also gives them the opportunity to branch out and move at their own pace, rather than the pace set by the teacher.
Public schools often have set curriculum, goals and standards that must be met, while Montessori schools are based on the individual learning ability of each student. Children can pursue their own interests and work at their own pace rather than the pace set by other students and the teacher. This allows them to gain a love of learning that lasts throughout their educational experience.