Montessori vs Daycare: What is the Difference?

Montessori School
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Written By Poonam Singh

I am co-founder of and Principal of Cambridge Montessori Preschool Bangalore.

Understanding the distinctions and similarities is essential before making a massive decision, like choosing between Montessori and daycare. There are variations in everyone’s schedules, noise levels, hygiene, and educational style.

When your child is kindergarten age, you might question whether there is an alternative to a typical daycare. Montessori childcare and schools produce different learning outcomes even though they serve the same purpose. Which is best for your child, then?

To help you make the best choice, let’s discuss how Montessori schools and daycares differ.

What is Montessori?

The Montessori educational philosophy employs a student-led approach. Instructors established age-appropriate settings and assisted as needed, giving the kids a chance to learn. As teachers entertain them while instructing, young brains that are naturally curious grow engaged in learning new things.

There may not be a set curriculum for kids to follow. They can instead decide on topics that appeal to them. In Montessori, the instructor attends to kids in a particular age range. When a child turns two, parents can enroll them, and highly trained and experienced teachers will nurture them. 

Montessori vs Daycare

What is daycare?

Daycare is a type of childcare in which children are cared for by trained professionals during the day. This service is typically used by working parents who cannot stay home with their children during the day. Daycare can be an important resource for families, providing a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn and grow.

Daycare vs. Montessori: Similarities

The similarities between Montessori daycares and schools are initially striking. Both are designed for younger children and have smaller teacher-to-student ratios than classrooms for later age groups.

Children are left at the facility to be watched by a teacher, and both areas feature age-appropriate toys. There are a plethora of distinctions in addition to those similarities. Even though they might not be apparent initially, these disparities must be considered when selecting a curriculum for your child.

Daycare vs. Montessori: Similarities

Below are a few key differences between Montessori and daycare:

1. Time

Children are rushed through a range of activities at daycare, so they don’t have time to process the teachings being taught. Children hardly ever pick up principles at a daycare.

Montessori schools, on the other side, appreciate every second. Montessori programs allow children to focus on their preferred activities from infancy. Work is typically self-directed. The same instructor often works with children throughout their years in Montessori programs rather than changing for each grade level.

Students form relationships with their teacher and one another over time, which helps them learn and grow much deeper. Additionally, this allows the instructor to create a unique lesson plan.

In contrast to typical daycare, where kids are introduced to a new instructor every year, Montessori children will remain with the same teacher for several years because the Montessori concept also emphasizes stability over time. 

2. Freedom

The instructor is in charge of overseeing daycare programs. Students have free time to explore, but the teacher controls everything they do the rest of the time. This may limit a child’s natural urge to learn something new on their schedule and to focus on just one item at a time.

Children can participate in various activities anytime they wish in Montessori preschools, designed to provide them independence within bounds. Despite the structure, this independence makes each day exceptional and distinct. In the classroom, students use all of their senses to develop important skills in arithmetic, language, culture, and other subjects.

3. Flexibility

While a conventional daycare setting will emphasize rigidity, a Montessori setting promotes flexibility. In a childcare setting, the teachers choose the activities the kids will do together daily and assign a deadline for finishing each.

On the other hand, a Montessori instructor will emphasize each child’s unique needs and let the children work and progress at their own pace.

In a Montessori environment, kids are encouraged to wander around and learn at their own pace while participating in activities they find exciting and working together. Each youngster can explore and learn until they fully understand a subject.

4. Noise Level & Cleanliness

Children may occasionally become distracted by the noise in daycares. The unorganized activity also produces problems that must frequently be cleaned up.

Due to the emphasis placed on the complete child and their cognitive development in Montessori schools, these settings are often calmer, more orderly, and better suited to fostering a kid’s mind.

5. Intentional Education 

Children begin learning the fundamental language, math, and social science concepts at a young age when they start their official education at Montessori schools. Each action has a purpose since toys and activities are designed for that specific reason.

On the other side, daycare staff members watch their students’ unstructured playtime. In this setting, learning is still feasible, but actions are not as deliberate.

6. Growth in Social and Emotional Skills

According to studies, kids who participate in Montessori education are better able to respond to societal issues in-depth and logically.

Children who attend Montessori schools frequently engage with their peers more effectively than those who attend a regular daycare or preschool.

For instance, Montessori pupils prefer to negotiate instead of disagreeing. This demonstrates that Classrooms are more effective at fostering social skills than conventional settings.

7. Training of Teachers & Ratio 

Low pay and inadequate training are typical in daycare facilities, contributing to a high worker turnover rate. Young children should avoid this discontinuity.

Instructors that support the principle of child-led learning are produced from the training provided to Montessori teachers.

Teachers typically stay in the sector for a long time because it’s a lifestyle rather than just a job. The kids gain from consistency because they recognize a familiar face.

It still benefits the parents because the teacher knows the student’s individual learning preferences, skills, and interests.

Montessori vs Daycare

Which one to choose?

It doesn’t matter which one you choose; the most important thing is that, as a parent, you care enough about these decisions.

Your child will be happy with your decision because you are researching the distinctions between daycare and Montessori. It demonstrates how attentive you are as a loving parent.

The best course of action when deciding between Montessori and daycare is to tour the local facilities. Discuss the philosophies of the management and the instructors. View the educational games and activities that are available in the classrooms. Discuss parenting experiences with other parents.


Frequently asked questions

What separates Montessori from childcare?

Montessori’s flexible learning style addresses each child’s needs and allows them to proceed and develop quickly. At the same time, daycare has separate plans where children are put into a daily routine.

Is Montessori an improvement over daycare?

A child can benefit academically from participating in a Montessori curriculum. Don’t feel bad if you can’t, whether it’s due to expense or another factor. Parental care is more crucial to your child’s development and well-being than Montessori-related.

Is the Montessori education costly?

The average annual cost of a Montessori preschool is between $10,000 and $12,000. The expense of elementary school is comparable, but depending on where you live, it might be as high as $35,000.

I am co-founder of and Principal of Cambridge Montessori Preschool and DayCare Kaggadasapura Branch. I am also a Montessori certified teacher and have 5+ years of experience working with kids.

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