Montessori vs. Play-Based Programs

Montessori vs. Play-Based Programs - Playgarden Online
BY Miss Charlotte July 04, 2022

As we went over in part one of this two-part series, the Montessori model of education, both for in-person and online preschool,  promotes hands-on learning for students. These programs are student-led, with students having the opportunity to learn in a way that best fits them with light guidance from teachers.

This differs from a play-based model of learning. A play-based model of teaching is teacher-led as opposed to student-led, with play time being unstructured versus lessons, which have a clear structure that all students must follow.

To put it into perspective, let’s think of two hypothetical examples of two different students.

Our first student is very curious, but they are not exactly sure what their interests are or how they like to learn. In this case, an in-person or virtual Montessori program would be the best fit for them. Through Montessori learning, this student will have a lot of variety and choices when it comes to things to do in the classroom, and having more agency will allow them to cultivate a personalized way to learn and grow that is unique to them.

Our second student loves to play dressup, build with blocks, and has an active imagination. In this case, a play-based program would be the best fit for them. Through play-based learning, your child can exercise their imagination to its fullest extent during play time, and they can begin to build social skills during this time as well.

Pros and cons of Montessori

We will break this section up into pros and cons. First, the pros!



Students in both in-person and virtual  Montessori programs have an exceptional amount of independence due to the nature of the learning model. They will be able to utilize materials and interact with lessons in ways that are beneficial for them, and are supported in this endeavor.

Love of learning

Because students are able to learn at their own pace, especially during online preschool, they have a better chance of cultivating a love of learning by discovering what interests them and how they like to receive and learn new information.

Enhanced socialization

Because the Montessori method promotes curiosity, students have more of an opportunity to become interested in what their peers are working on and doing, which can promote interpersonal teaching and therefore promote socialization as students learn new things together on their own terms.


Because of the sizes of both in-person and virtual Montessori classrooms and the structure of the programs, students with special needs can flourish in a Montessori environment. Teachers are able to give time and space for students who need more support in order to ensure they have the necessary materials to learn in a way that benefits them.



Montessori programs use the highest quality materials and give their teachers highly in-depth training. Because of this, it is hard to keep costs low. This can be aided, however, by choosing an online preschool program.

Loose class structure

Some students need a lot more structure in their day and in their lessons. Because the Montessori model is student-led, it is harder for students who need clearer instructions when it comes to what they should be doing and how they should be learning.

Not always accessible

Because of costs, the student base for Montessori programs can sometimes cater more towards those who come from more privilege. However, in recent years, more efforts have been taken to make these institutions more accessible. Online Montessori programs can also allow more affordable and accessible ways to engage with the model, especially if there is not an in-person institution close by.

In conclusion

In person and virtual Montessori programs and play-based preschool programs are both designed to prepare students for Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. Based on the needs of your child, either program has benefits that will give them necessary skills that will benefit them for the rest of their educational journey!

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Playgarden Prep offers an excellent acclaimed online montessori preschool, at highly affordable prices. Click here to start learning with us for FREE today!


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Miss Charlotte Pencil

Hi, I'm Miss Charlotte!

Miss Charlotte is an Education Director by trade, and a mom by heart. All 200+ of our DIY projects were created by Miss Charlotte, with the help of her expert DIY assistant—Her 4 year old daughter! With a MST degree in Early Childhood Education and 15 years of teaching experience, her blogs and DIY projects have been an incredible resource for our Playgarden Prep schools. We hope that your family loves them as much as we do!

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