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Arches vs Montessori - A Comparison

Even here in Utah County Montessori is a common name in education, how does it compare to Arches Academy?

History / What is the Montessori method

The ideas involved in the Montessori method were researched by Dr. Maria Montessori starting in 1897 and the first classroom was opened in Italy in 1907. Montessori developed her ideas through observation of child development and experimenting with the classroom environment, the materials with which the children interact, and the lessons available to them. She largely focused on children 0 - 12. Most Montessori private schools target the younger ages and the children later transition to a more typical school.

The main idea behind the Montessori method is that it is a child-directed education. A child is allowed to choose what they want to do from a list of activities and the teacher interacts with them on that activity at their own pace. Typically children are in mixed age environments to encourage peer learning and they have uninterrupted blocks of time. It is a whole child approach looking at the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive well being.

There are studies about the effectiveness of the Montessori method and the results vary from study to study. It’s clear that it comes down to the quality of the teaching and how the entire package is implemented and rolled together -- the study results show some schools succeed and some don’t.

(Check out the Wikipedia page for more details.)

Challenges of the Montessori Method

  • Montessori is not a franchise or a brand. Any school can call themselves a Montessori school, yet vary greatly in how and what they implement from the Montessori methodology.

  • Students may have difficulty transitioning to a traditional classroom later.

  • Some students may not deal well with the lack of structure at Montessori schools.

  • There are limited subjects for a child to explore.

  • Some students may not progress, falling behind their peers at other schools. Due to the methodology being child-directed, often this gets missed until they transition to another school.

(We often get students transferring from Montessori schools so these are things we have observed.)

How does this compare to what Arches Academy is doing?

At Arches we use proven learning methodologies for preschool through 9th grade. Arches is not child-directed; we are child-centered. We teach the way children learn best: with hands-on learning activities in a structured environment that still allows for student choices. We believe in whole-child education, focusing on more than just academic/mental progress. Our approach leads to mental, physical, social, and creative well being. In our focus on the whole child, we offer so much more than a typical Montessori school.

When we say “whole-child” we mean:

  • Leveled Learning - students are in classes based on ability, no falling through cracks

  • Strong Core academics - Singapore Math, Language Arts, Science, Technology, (STEM)

  • Art, Music, Drama (our school-wide plays involve ALL students)

  • PE, outdoor lessons, recesses, yoga

  • Foreign Languages

  • Interactive learning

  • Field trips monthly (some overnight trips for older grades)

  • Leader In Me Program (Covey’s 7 habits for children) - character development, executive functioning skills

  • Gifted & talented approaches to various subjects (multiple intelligences)

  • Mini-courses - students get to choose the mini-course they are interested in attending

  • Small class sizes to facilitate personalized education

  • We are an AdvancED Accredited school

Rather than go into each of these in depth here, we invite you to click the links and explore our blog posts on these subjects.

When people ask about the difference between Arches and Montessori, we find that the core reasons they would consider a Montessori school are also reasons to choose Arches Academy and yet Arches does much more.

We love to give tours of Arches -- come visit us! Click here to schedule a tour.

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