Early Childhood program models and curriculum
Montessori Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952)
Waldorf: Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
Reggio Emilia Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994)
Similarities: Philosophy
Differences: Teaching Style
Differences: Learning Activities
Differences: Materials
Community Values
Category: englishenglish

Early Childhood program models and curriculum

1. Early Childhood program models and curriculum

ECE-7003: Topics in Early Childhood Program

2. Overview

What is
What is Waldorf
What is Reggio
Differences –
Teaching Styles
Learning Activities
Community Values

3. Montessori Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Learn by making discoveries.
Focuses on Key Developmental Stages
Encourages Cooperative Play
Learning Is Child-Centered
Children Naturally Learn Self-Discipline
Classroom Environment Teaches Order
Teachers Facilitate the Learning Experience
System is Highly Individualized to Each Student
Curriculum Focused on Hands-On Learning
(Crain, 2016).

4. Waldorf: Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)

• Teaches kids how to think, not what
to think and to develop themselves
as well-rounded individuals with an
innate curiosity and love of
• Equipped to rely on their own inner
compasses to help steer them on
their individual journeys, rather than
fit into one specific niche(Shank,

5. Reggio Emilia Loris Malaguzzi (1920-1994)

• Children are encouraged to explore
investigate, and represent their real-world
• Goal is to foster creative thinking and a love
of learning(Santin & Torruella, 2017).
• Projects provide the narrative and structure
to the children’s and teachers’ learning
experiences(Santin & Torruella, 2017)..
• Teachers and children as partners in learning

6. Similarities: Philosophy

Emphasize the education of the
whole child, spiritual, mental,
physical, psychological, over any
particular academic curriculum (
Martzog, Kuttner & Pollak,
2016; Platz & Arellano, 2011).
Stress the importance of the
natural environment, keeping in
touch with nature and natural
materials (Edwards, 2002).
Great respect for the child as an
individual, spiritual, creative
being ( Nordlund, 2013;
Pickering, 2017; Santin &
Torruella, 2017).
Partnering with parents is highly
valued (Barbieru, 2016; Gardner
& Jones, 2016; Nordlund, 2013).
Children are viewed as active
authors of their own
development (Crain, 2016;
Edwards, 2002; Shank, 2016).
Base their education on the
needs of the child, believing that
this will lead to meeting the
needs of society as a whole
(Edwards, 2002; Martzog,
Kuttner & Pollak, 2016; Platz &
Arellano, 2011).
Progressive approach to
education (Platz & Arellano,

7. Differences: Teaching Style

• Montessori: Believes that children prefer the opportunity to do “real
work” such as cooking, cleaning, caring for themselves, each other,
and the environment rather than play make believe (Caine, 2016).
• Waldorf: Early learning focuses on make-believe, fairies, arts and
music. Play is viewed as the work of the young child and the magic
of fantasy is an integral part of how the teacher works with the child
(Shank, 2016).
• Reggio Emilia: The young child’s imagination is celebrated (Santin &
Torruella, 2017).

8. Differences: Learning Activities

• Montessori: Academics are
introduced when the child
shows readiness.(Barbieru,
2016; Pickering, 2017).
• Waldorf: Academics are
introduced later. (Martzog,
Kuttner & Pollak, 2016).
• Reggio Emilia: The teachers
follow the interests of the
children(Gardner & Jones,

9. Differences: Materials

• Materials with Purpose:
• Montessori: Montessori materials are scientific
didactical materials that serve a unique
developmental and academic purpose (Barbieru,
• Waldorf: Children are encouraged to use their
imagination with the classroom materials
(Nordlund, 2013).
• Reggio Emilia: There is great emphasis on using
materials and activities that provoke investigation
and group learning (Gardner & Jones, 2016).

10. Community Values

Reggio Emilia's tradition
of community support for
Montessori education is
about the formation of the
whole child and that child’s
interconnectedness in the
Waldorf strive to offer
quality educational
opportunities to the
parents of as well as to the
greater community.

11. References:

• Barbieru, I. C. (2016). The role of the educator in a montessori classroom. Romanian Journal For
Multidimensional Education / Revista Romaneasca Pentru Educatie Multidimensionala, 8(1), 107-123.
• Crain, W. (2016). CARING AND MONTESSORI EDUCATION. Montessori Life, 28(1), 44- 49
• Edwards, C. P. (2002). Three approaches from europe: waldorf, montessori, and reggio emilia. Early
Childhood Research & Practice, 4(1),
• Gardner, A. F., & Jones, B. D. (2016). Examining the reggio emilia approach: Keys to understanding why it
motivates students. Electronic Journal Of Research In Educational Psychology, 14(3), 602-625.
• Martzog, P., Kuttner, S., & Pollak, G. (2016). A comparison of waldorf and non-waldorf student-teachers’
social-emotional competencies: can arts engagement explain differences?. Journal Of Education For
Teaching, 42(1), 66-79.

12. References:

• Nordlund, C. (2013). Waldorf education: Breathing creativity. Art Education, 66(2), 13- 19.
• Pickering, J. (2017). Montessori for children with learning differences. Montessori Life, 29(1),
• Platz, D., & Arellano, J. (2011). Time tested early childhood theories and practices.
Education, 132(1), 54-63.
• Santín, M. F., & Torruella, M. F. (2017). Reggio Emilia: An essential tool to develop critical
thinking in early childhood. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 6(1), 50–56.
• Shank, M. (2016). Imagination, waldorf, and critical literacies: Possibilities for transformative
education in mainstream schools. Reading & Writing, Vol 7, Issues 2, Pp E1-E9 (2016), (2), e1
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