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Teaching Approach

What are Montessori and Traditional teaching methods?

Whether it be 'Montessori' or 'Traditional', both teaching methods provide a quality international education based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of the UK National Curriculum, which is designed to allow children from diverse backgrounds to learn through fun, structured, hands-on activities and to enjoy the experience of exploring and thinking for themselves. 

The National Curriculum sets out a clear and full entitlement to learning for all pupils up to the age of sixteen. It determines the content of what will be taught and sets attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported.

Each area of learning and development has a set of related Early Learning Goals. Most children will achieve all the goals. By the end of the Foundation Stage, just prior to entering primary school, some will have progressed beyond them.

7 of our pre-schools use 'Traditional' teaching methods while the remaining pre-schools offer 'Montessori' teaching methods.  


How do they differ?

In the Traditional classroom you will find children of similar ages being actively taught by a teacher who is directing activities. This is group-based learning with an emphasis on whole-class, structured, active teaching. Although children sometimes work alone, most of the time they work in groups.

In the Montessori classroom, you'll find children aged between two-and-a-half and six years. Although children sometimes work in groups, most of the time they work alone or in pairs. The emphasis is self-directed learning, supplemented by teachers directing each child towards learning opportunities when needed. Having children of different ages in the same classroom provides the younger ones with role models for imitation, and gives older children an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping younger ones. We see this often happening in our schools. 

Please click on the following to learn more about our teaching approaches:

Comparisons between Traditional and Montessori

7 Learning Areas (Traditional Pre-Schools)

 Learning Areas (Montessori Pre-Schools)

At Woodland

Traditional (brochure)

Pre-School (2 years 6 months – 6 years)

Preparation for Primary (5 years plus)

Montessori (brochure)

Pre-School (2 years 6 months – 6 years) & Preparation for Primary (5 years plus)

While Montessori also differs from Traditional in its philosophy and approach: Montessori encourages each child to develop at their own pace within a safe, caring and structured environment. After being introduced to learning materials by the teacher, children are free to choose their own work. All equipment is placed at the child's eye-level and all furniture in the classroom is child-sized.


How are they similar?

There are many more similarities between the Traditional and Montessori teaching methods than differences. In both, the teacher's role is to ensure that each child feels stimulated, safe, valued and challenged to their fullest. Teachers continually observe and assess the development and progress of each child.

At Woodland, both approaches cover the key learning areas:

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

The Montessori Approach

Italy's first female physician, Maria Montessori was a visionary educator and humanitarian who devoted her life to studying and observing children.

According to the Montessori philosophy, children are motivated from within by an innate curiosity and love of learning. The goal of early education is to cultivate the child's own desire to learn. This is achieved within a specially prepared environment, the Montessori classroom. Each classroom is carefully planned by our fully qualified Montessori teachers who constantly observe the children's interactions within the prepared environment, changing it to fulfill their needs.

Modern research supports Dr. Montessori's belief that children pass through various periods of intense fascination for developing a particular activity or skill. Classrooms encourage the child at each of these stages by providing the right learning materials and exercises.

Within a structured framework, children develop at their own pace under the guidance of the Montessori teacher. They acquire skills naturally, gain an early enthusiasm for learning, and develop their self esteem, independence and self-discipline.

Everything in the Montessori environment is scaled to be the right size for a child. They can access attractive equipment that can be easily moved and rearranged. Within boundaries children are free to choose materials they feel confident and comfortable with, encouraging their sense of independence. They can work alone or with others - it's their choice. There are no pressures, punishments, forced homework or rote learning.

The curriculum covers a number of key learning areas: social development, language and literacy, mathematical development, knowledge and understanding, physical development, and creative development. Moreover, children are able to develop their kinesthetic abilities through specially designed Montessori materials.

The Montessori philosophy encourages each child to develop at their own pace within a safe, caring and structured environment. After being introduced to learning materials by the teacher, children are free to choose their own work. All equipment is placed at the child's eye-level and all furniture in the classroom is child-sized.

Once they feel secure and comfortable, children will apply all their energy into exploring materials and experiences designed to help them develop intellectually, physically and psychologically. Each child has an individual map or "blue-print" that governs the rate at which they can learn. All Montessori materials and methods are carefully created to allow each child to progress at their own speed and spend the right amount of time at each stage of development.

This last area is becoming ever more important with the growth of children's television, videos, and computer games. Stimulating a child's imagination with these very real subjects adds greatly to their comprehension and self esteem. This will stimulate a very constructive curiosity about their world that will last a lifetime.

To sum up, whether you choose a Traditional or a Montessori pre-school, your child will receive the solid educational foundation essential for a successful transition into primary school. Contact any one of our schools for a more in-depth evaluation on the best course for your children.

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