Montessori vs. Daycare

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Montessori vs. Daycare: Which Is Better for Your Child?

Montessori DaycareChoosing the right educational facility for your child can be a difficult task. In order to provide your young one with their first exposure to a supervised learning experience, you can either get them enrolled in a Montessori or opt for daycare.

The curriculum in most Montessori preschools is child-directed, which implies that children are allowed to learn at their own pace and can choose the activities to take part in. On the other hand, daycares usually feature adult-set schedules, where children learn in a group setting, and the interaction among them is generally informal.

In order to help you choose the right option, here is a head-to-head comparison between Montessori and daycares:

Learning Curve

Different learning experiences are prioritized in Montessori preschools and daycares. A Montessori course is usually more structured, where children are taught concepts such as self-directed work and circle time.

The activities are more education-oriented, such as the pink tower, a signature of most Montessori classrooms, which sets the base to understand mathematics later in life. Educational toys develop the children’s ability to focus and encourage self-control.

On the contrary, children enrolled in a daycare typically do not start learning skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics till around 5 years of age, when kindergarten begins.

In a Montessori preschool classroom, stability is preferred over time, where a child is tutored by a single teacher for more than a year. This allows more time for the child to develop a rapport with the teacher and for the teacher to carry out long-term teaching plans. On the other hand, in a daycare, a child may be taught by a different teacher every year.

Child-Led Vs Adult-Led Approach

Daycare LearningMontessori preschools adopt a child-led approach to learning, where a toddler is encouraged to explore rather than sticking to certain activities as a compulsion. On the contrary, daycares usually follow an adult-set routine where children are required to spend only a certain amount of time with every activity.

A daycare usually has a pre-decided routine, and children may be directed to divide their time between the group circle, creative activity, outside play, and snack time in a systematic manner.

In contrast, a Montessori program encourages independence by concentrating on self-discovery. Instructions are usually provided on an individual basis, and each teacher handles one toddler at a time. A child is then allowed to follow the teachings at their own pace.


Both Montessori preschools and daycares have supportive and well-designed environments. Montessori preschool classrooms focus more on curriculums, such as math, language, sensorial, practical life, and culture. On the other hand, daycare schedules consist of various activities and themes to foster learning.

A Montessori preschool classroom curriculum is typically highly structured, and children are made to choose between carefully designed activities. However, they are generally free to take their time with them. On the other hand, at a daycare, children tend to have more free play time and a more flexible curriculum.

Teacher Credentials

Young Girl LearningMontessori teachers are certified educators who are specially trained to tutor children of specific age groups. They usually have both a college degree as well as a Montessori certificate.

On the contrary, a daycare facility’s staff generally tend to have minimal training. You can become a daycare worker even if you are a high school graduate with an interest in training toddlers. However, some requirements do exist to ensure that a worker is eligible for training children adequately.

Montessori teachers earn as much as teachers of higher grades due to the professional training that they have acquired. They also enjoy paid leaves and other employee benefits. Teacher turnover in Montessori preschools is relatively lower, and they tend to stay with an institute for years.

On the other hand, daycares have a relatively high turnover rate as the employees are generally only paid a minimum wage or a marginally higher amount.


Children learn to socialize differently in a Montessori preschool and a daycare. Toddlers learn traits such as grace and courtesy in a Montessori preschool. They are trained in a way that they learn to respect themselves as well as their classmates and the environment they are in.

Children are taught clear rules to maintain a peaceful classroom environment. For instance, they are trained to always take toys from the shelves and not snatch them from another child. Teachers also make them learn cooperative behavior, for example, demonstrating how to respectfully offer snacks to a friend at lunchtime.

Socialization may not be as systematic in a daycare facility. While children are always monitored and never entirely left alone in a daycare, teachers do not usually follow a strict training program.

Final Thoughts

Daycares operate on a stricter routine as compared to Montessori preschools. Toddlers tend to follow a schedule where they engage in activities according to the time slots dedicated to them. However, there is less regulation and more open-ended play.

On the other hand, Montessori preschools follow a child-led approach, and the children are allowed to switch between activities at their own pace. They offer a holistic learning experience to form a solid base for further education.

Both Montessori preschools and daycares offer systematic learning but adopt different approaches for a child’s mental and social development. After a careful analysis of the different learning approaches, you can finally make an informed decision about where to enroll your toddler.

Ashley Yeo 

Montessori vs Daycare Which is Better for Your Child

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