Here is a helpful comparison of Montessori and traditional education.

Montessori Traditional
Active Individualized Learning through stimulating, multi-sensory teaching materials. Passive Class Learning through teacher-centered class lessons, paperwork.
Multi-age Class is a natural social environment that includes a wide range of ages and fosters self-motivation. Students enjoy working for their own sense of accomplishment. Chronological Grouping necessitates external rewards such as grades, competition and social conformity.
Freedom of Choice involves decision-making. Students select their work according to individual interests. Class Curriculum demands that students cover the same work at the same time.
Working at One’s Own Pace enables students to work for long periods without interruption. Each individual works at his potential, independent of the class. Group Learning involves each academic subject being scheduled for a limited period. Each student is directly affected by the progress of the whole class.
Integral Education balances academic work with freedom of movement and harmony is created between physical, social and mental activities. There is an interrelationship between subjects. Fragmented Education provides academic subjects that are not interrelated. Periods of intense mental efforts are alternated with periods of vigorous physical activity to release tension.
Independence is fostered by a classroom that is specifically designed to encourage maximum development. Dependency is promoted since the activities are initiated by the teacher.
Self-evaluation occurs as students learn to evaluate their work objectively through the use of self-correcting teaching materials and individual work with the teacher Class Comparison occurs as work is evaluated and graded by the teacher. Students evaluate themselves against the group as best or worst in the class.
Close Student-Teacher Interaction enables complete and precise evaluation of student’s progress, both academically and psychologically. Class Oriented Teaching prevents close interaction between individual students and teacher. Standardized tests are necessary to determine student progress.