What is the Difference Between Montessori and Waldorf?

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• Montessori is a teaching concept initiated by Maria Montessori in 1907. Waldorf is a teaching concept initiated by Rudolf Steiner in 1919.

• The Montessori style believes in letting a child choose what he wants to learn. So the child shows interest in something and is guided by the teacher to let him understand the concept behind the object. On the other hand, the Waldorf School emphasizes teacher-based learning, where the teacher chooses what the child should learn or understand.

• While Montessori schools do not pay much attention to the spiritual and philosophical needs of children, Waldorf Schools have a philosophy that in order to understand nature and natural phenomena, students must have an understanding of humanity.

• Waldorf schools allow the child’s own creativity to guide him, even as he plays, and encourages children to develop their own toys with whatever they have at hand. Montessori schools, on the other hand, believe that toys play a large role in shaping children’s behavior and allow children to play with toys specially designed for Montessori teaching.

• Both Montessori and Waldorf schools are of the opinion that modern computer and internet techniques should be used to help children learn about their environment, but they want a limit in watching TV programmes. They also don’t want children to use cell phones and MP3 players.

• It can be seen that younger children play much more in Waldorf-style schools than in Montessori-style schools.

• In Waldorf, more emphasis is placed on nurturing a child’s own creativity, while in Montessori most of what children learn comes from the efforts of their teachers.

• Books start very early in Montessori schools, while textbooks are completely absent in the early stages in the Waldorf School.

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