Difference Between Montessori and Steiner

Montessori vs Steiner

Education is the bedrock upon which lives of individuals are based. It is the desire of every parent to get the best possible education for his kids. However, when it comes to choosing between Montessori and Steiner education systems, it becomes a bit of a dilemma as most parents are unaware of the features of these methods of teaching. In fact, both Steiner and Montessori have many similarities such as treatment of children with reverence and respect to allow for full development of their inner potential. This article takes a closer look at Montessori and Steiner movements to enable parents to choose between these two alternative systems of education.


Montessori system of education follows the philosophy of Dr Maria Montessori who happened to be the first female doctor in Italy. She was also an educationist who was disappointed by the system of education being followed in Italy that seemed to prepare workers for factories rather than encouraging children to bloom according to their own personalities and potential. She was the person who opened the first Montessori institution that she preferred to call house of children rather than a school. Her ideas later expanded into the Montessori system of education as it is known today.


The credit for Steiner system of education, expressed through Waldorf schools, goes to Rudolf Steiner, who was an educationist in Austria. The Steiner curriculum is designed to help in enhancing the levels of concentration of children and also to make children ready, both physically as well as emotionally, for education. Every child is seen as a social and spiritual being, and the school curriculum is seen as a tool, to help the child in various stages of his development. Academic achievement of children is seen through the angles of age appropriate social, emotional, and spiritual development of the kids.

Montessori vs Steiner

• Academic subjects are introduced to kids at a much later stage in Steiner than in Montessori.

• Books are thought of as necessary but not enjoyable in Steiner system of education.

• Steiner is more teacher guided system than Montessori where children are encouraged to learn on their own.

• Montessori system follows the child, and the child decides what he wants to learn.

• Montessori is more flexible than Steiner system of education when it comes to spirituality as it adapts to suit the requirements of the child. On the other hand, Steiner system stresses on humanity as it believes that a child must understand it to learn the working of the universe.

• Montessori kids play with toys that are designed to teach them concepts.

• Steiner makes use of the imagination of the children to decide on their own toys.

• Montessori is not averse to making use of computers and other media items for education of children while Steiner is rigid in this matter and does not like the idea of exposing small kids to media.

• Waldorf schools prefer to stick to the philosophy set out by Rudolf Steiner.

• There is no right or wrong, and both systems of education try to develop the inner abilities of the children using different methods.