Difference between Montessori vs Preschool vs Daycare

Selecting the right education institution for their child is every parent’s area of concern. In the contemporary world Education is not a luxury but a necessity, and to cater to the booming demand of educational institutions one can find various institutions preaching different educational philosophies. It often becomes a perplexing task for most parents to select the right institution for their child when one does not know where to begin. The education of a developing child should be well-structured, well-rounded, and must be based on immense research and must cater to every need of the child’s development process. Education is more than just a rigid curriculum, eight-hour work cycle, and examinations, it is a bridge towards making a child confident, independent, self-sufficient, and a contributing member at home, the classroom, the educational institution, and society. 

The Montessori Method of education is a unique pedagogical approach introduced by Dr. Maria Montessori that takes every aspect of the child’s development into thorough consideration. The Montessori method of education not only facilitates the holistic development of the child but also provides the child based on with an institution that is well-structured and balanced in terms of curriculum as well as the environment. With Maria Montessori’s Rigorous research and examination of human behavior, she was able to create a method that provides academic, physical, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits to a wide range of learners. One salient feature of the Montessori Method of Education is the concept of “Cosmic Education”. Cosmic education is a cornerstone of Montessori Philosophy that helps the child understand the concept of the Universe and the interconnectedness of all the things present in the universe. Unlike the Traditional Pre-School Education that usually imparts education to all the children as a unit, The Montessori Method of Education focuses on the individual need of the child. 

To help bewildered parents help choose the right educational institution suitable for their child’s needs here are some key differences between Montessori Institutions, Preschools, and Daycares.

What are the key differences between the Three Educational Institutions? 

Even though all three of the educational institutions have one aim, which is to facilitate education to young minds there are certain differences amongst these institutions one should keep in mind. Here is a list of the key differences between the Montessori Method of Education and Traditional Method of Education one should keep in mind:

Montessori EducationPre-School EducationDaycare Education
Montessori Education Provides an Adaptable curriculumPre-School institutions promote education on the basis of Rigid and Pre-determined CurriculumThe curriculum of a Daycare institution is adaptable and promotes play-based education
The child is an Active Participant during the learning processThe child is a Passive Participant during the learning processThe children are contributing participants and learn through play-based education.
Child-centered EducationTeacher-Centred Education Child-centered Education
Children are motivated to learn based on their own pace and their own experience.  The children are taught by the teacher who follows a pre-determined scheduleThe Children learn through collaborative play and their problem-solving skills
Mix Age groupsSame age groupsSame age groups
Uninterrupted work cyclesPre-determined Schedules, lessons, and periodsSpecific timing for periods.
Montessori Education promotes internal self-disciplineThe teachers are the external enforcer of disciplineThe Adults enforce disciples and encourage children to follow instructions
Prepared Environment: takes requirements of children into accountWell Structured Environment: does not take requirements of children into accountWell Structured Environment: does not take requirements of children into account
Promotes the development of cognitive, physical, sensorial, emotional, and social aspectsThe main emphasis is on cognitive and intellectual developmentFosters self-dependency, confidence, well-rounded personality

What is a Montessori Institution?

Montessori schools are multi-age-level schools that develop pupils’ natural interests in the classroom, unlike other conventional teaching institutions. The Montessori method of teaching is a child-centered educational approach that focuses on independent learning. This method of education was designed to facilitate the development of independence and confidence in children along with cognitive development. The children in Montessori schools are provided with objects which help in cognitive and visual stimulation. This educational approach is based on hands-on learning and self-directed collaborative play that helps children learn and grow at their own pace. 

What is a Traditional Pre-school?

Pre-Schools are educational institutions that facilitate education for children 3.5 years of age.  pre-school is an educational establishment that offers early childhood education to children before they start their compulsory education. Playschools can also be considered as an informal nurseries for children between the ages of two and four. Pre-schools lay the necessary foundation for developing children to help them adjust to the elementary school environment. A Traditional Pre-School often follows the typical structure of the traditional educational system. A preschool has a pre-determined pace of education, fewer holidays, regular work hours, and teacher-centered education. Pre-schools can be half a day-long or sometimes even a full day-long. 

What is a Daycare Institution?

Daycares often provide a safe environment for the children when the parents are unable to take care of their child due to being occupied with work or other activities. Daycares provide care for children as well as help in setting routines, schedules, have facilities like grooming, feeding, and hygiene. Daycares do not follow the traditional education pattern meaning it has flexible hours, school breaks, and holidays. Children who are too young to be enrolled in a Pre-school are often enrolled in a Daycare institution. Daycares promote children to engage in activities, socialize with other children in the classroom, and learn essential life skills.  

Montessori Philosophies vs Pre-school Philosophies vs Daycare Philosophies: 

The Educational Philosophy of an institution plays a huge role in the development of the child. Educational Philosophies are the foundation and framework of the activities, curriculum, and environment of the institution. As an essential prerequisite, parents must understand the basic philosophy of the institution.

There are some key differences between the Philosophy of Traditional Preschools, Daycare Institutions, and that of a Montessori institution. 

Traditional Pre-school:

  • Teacher-Centered Education:
    The Preschools often promote teacher-guided education, where the children are instructed to sit in a well-structured classroom.
  • Teacher as a source of information:
    In a Traditional Preschool, the teacher is the source of the Information and knowledge and should help the child get acquainted with a variety of topics, concepts, and activities.
  • The pace of the educational process:
    The pace of the educational process is pre-determined by either the administration or the teachers. 

Montessori Institution: 

  • Philosophy of hands-on learning:
    The Montessori Philosophy promotes hands-on learning that helps the child venture out and explore the surrounding environment. 
  • Teacher as a guide:
    The Teacher is not the source of information and knowledge in a Montessori Institution, instead acts more as a guide towards the source of information.
  • Principle of Sensorial Stimulation:
    The Curriculum of the Montessori Education relies heavily on sensorial stimulation, which is facilitated with the help of specifically designed Montessori Materials.
  • Philosophy of Auto-Education:
    The Montessori Method of Education also promotes auto-didactic education and does not limit the child’s educational process by constraining it with a rigid curriculum and pre-determined pace. 
  • Child-Centred Education:
    Children are able to learn, experience, and grow at their own pace. The Montessori Method of education takes the individuality of each child in the classroom into account. The teacher must treat every child in the classroom as a separate individual. 

Daycare Institution: 

  • Serves as a Nursery for children:
    Daycares are an aid for parents who have a busy work schedule. Daycare serves as a nursery where children are provided with a safe environment to grow and learn. Daycare takes account of all the child’s safety, growth, and hygiene. 
  • Paly-Based Learning:
    Daycare Institutions often promote values of self-dependence, trust, creativity, autonomy, and build confidence through play-based learning.
  • Physical development:
    Daycare promotes play-based learning which encourages physical activities. It is absolutely essential to develop Fine motor skills like holding a pencil and Gross motor skills that involve whole-body movement which allows balance and coordination. The activities included in the curriculum do exactly that.
  • Teacher as a Supervisor:
    The teachers in a Daycare are professionally trained to teach toddlers to follow simple directions and orders. The Teachers supervise the children and keep an eye on their actions, participation, as well as interactions with peers and the environment. Daycare helps children follow simple instructions that come as a big help for parents who sometimes face difficulties while making the child do simple tasks at home.