Montessori Method vs Traditional Method

Child is a passive participant in learning Child is an active participant in learning
Classrooms composed of the same age group Classrooms composed of mixed age groups covering a three-year span
Students are expected to sit at assigned desks or tables Students choose where in the classroom they want to work and can move about freely
All students work on the same subject at the same time and a block of time is allotted for each subject Students work without interruption for a long work cycle choosing what, when, and for how long they will spend on each task.  
Discrete subject matters Cross-disciplinary thought is encouraged
Adult centered classroom with teacher owning expert status and discipline Child-centered classroom with students sharing ownership of learning and discipline
Use of work-sheets, rote learning, and textbooks Use of manipulatives and materials that appeal to each age group, children encouraged to investigate primary source materials and formulate their own questions
Focus on end-product, test scores and grades Focus on process and learning for its own sake.  Grades are not given.
Emphasis on competition Emphasis on collaboration
Teacher gives lesson to the whole class Small group lessons based on individual needs of students.  Students are encouraged to pursue learning independently.
Standards based learning Inquiry based learning
Students are expected to be within the norms of what is average for their grade level. Students have the opportunity to advance at their own pace, without limits.
Main focus on academics Shared focus on the acquisition of academic, social, and practical life skills.