Parenting Education and Learning

What is better Kindergarten or Montessori for your toddler?

Swapna Nair
1 to 3 years

Created by Swapna Nair
Updated on Dec 06, 2020

What is better Kindergarten or Montessori for your toddler
Reviewed by Expert panel

,i>'Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned at school.' Albert Einstein

Look back at our journey and the great man's quote rings the truth. When I meet my students they remember not my lessons, facts and dates (History) but my little lessons in life skills. Each time they recollect something I had shared and I am ceaselessly amazed.

Every year millions of parents in India fret, fume and indulge in the most horrifying practices (think Hindi Medium film) to get their 3 year olds 'admitted' into the 'right' schools!

Let me take you through two systems we have in our country- Kindergarten and Montessori.


This style of education was developed by Friedrich Froebel. He opened, in Germany, for children in 1837 a play and activity centre. He believed children were like plants in a garden, hence the name kindergarten-children in a garden. To him play is the supreme activity that is essential for a child to develop in all spheres.

"Play is the purest most spiritual activity of man at this stage and at the same time, typical of human life as a whole of the inner hidden natural life in man all things. It gives, therefore joy, contentment, inner and outer rest, peace with the world. It holds the source of all that is good. – Froebel"

Froebel believed that each child is born with a life force and education helps this latent force to achieve its fullest potential.

  1. The achievement is through self -activity. Play is an integral self-activity. So Froebel developed materials that he called gifts (wooden cubes strings, beads etc), theories and activities and thus laid the foundation of kindergarten
  2. He trained teachers too in this play way method. He opposed rote instruction. His play way method is based on Activity based Learning
  3. Schools have taken to the Kindergarten approach as it is easier to follow
  4. The child receives teacher guidance and graded learning
  5. The child interacts with peers of his age in his classroom
  6. The teacher follows a lesson plan. It remains a question if all schools have trained their teachers well enough to understand the concept of play way method

Montessori Method

This was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in Italy in 1901. She developed a child centred approach based on her observations and experience. It is interesting to note that this eminent personality lived in India since 1939 for a few years. She lived in Chennai and trained a few committed people in her method. Her method focusses on sensory development, mathematical, linguistic development and life skill development.

  1. In this method the essence is the multi-age group classroom. This fosters a sense of caring and helps the child to become an integral part of any community he /she would live or work in the future. The older children often mentor the younger ones and forge close bonds
  2. The classroom is unlike a traditional classroom. There will not be usual rows of desks and chairs. They would have flexible seating, with children often sitting in groups or on the floor. It is normally an open space (for group activities) with open shelves having articles designed for the holistic development. There is freedom within a sense of order. The walls of Montessori classroom are generally covered with art or craft work done by the students
  3. Montessori materials are designed to entice the child. They are arranged in the open shelves from left to right. Children use these to understand the concepts. The materials are replaced by the teacher based on their level. For example a binomial cube – an elementary child may learn the shape and colours; an older child would use to learn algebra
  4. Children learn to take care of the materials too. The materials have built in control of error. Hence it allows the child to know or discern if he/she has am de a mistake
  5. These materials forge the path of discovery for the student. When the child uses the materials, no ready- made answers are given. Rather these are tools or aids to make their own discoveries
  6. Interestingly the classrooms are a picture of respectful harmony. The Montessori Method helps in fostering respect towards one another and to the environment
  7. In the early years children learn through sensory-motor activities, working with materials and enhance this learning by touching, seeing, hearing, tasting, etc
  8. In the elementary years the child learns to organise his cognition using the Montessori materials and inter disciplinary curriculum. He/she learns to apply the knowledge in real life. Such a method equips students to develop critical thinking skills, to think out of the box, work in multi-age groups, collaborate and cooperate
  9. The teacher plays an important role but is not the centre of the classroom. The teacher is more like a guide or facilitator. The teacher allows for freedom of expression. A child is allowed to make mistakes because they believe that only by doing so they learn to become careful

Both methods are beneficial provided the school and teachers work collaboratively to make use of the curriculum/method creatively, keeping the child in focus.

Did you like the blog on what is better KG or Montessori system? Share your views and feedback with us in the comments section.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Dec 22, 2017

Beautifully said. it is a great enlightenment to the parents, who are in the dilemma, where to join their kids. It is really a good piece of knowledge. Impeccable work. Thank you.

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| Dec 22, 2017

very helpful article for the parents... Thanks for sharing.

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| Dec 23, 2017

Thanx fr this good information, nice article

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| Dec 23, 2017


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| Jun 28, 2018

Hi good blog and brief writing about the Montessori system is so informative,similarly I have blog which helps you to keep your children get ready for first day of Kindergarten

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| Dec 14, 2020

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