Goddard School vs Montessori Compared: How to Choose the Best Preschool

As a parent, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the right preschool for your child. The options can seem overwhelming, but two popular approaches worth considering are The Goddard School and Montessori. These two early childhood education models have key differences in teaching philosophy, curriculum, and environment that set them apart.

In your search for the ideal preschool, understanding how Goddard and Montessori compare can help you determine the best fit for your child. While both provide enriching experiences for young learners, their methods vary significantly. Exploring the distinctions will shed light on their strengths and weaknesses and empower you to make an informed choice.

This comprehensive guide offers an in-depth look at The Goddard School versus Montessori. We’ll unpack their origins, educational theories, classroom practices, pros and cons, and other key factors to contrast these two respected options. Whether you’re looking for more structure or greater independence, a academic rigor or experiential learning, this breakdown has everything you need to feel confident deciding between Goddard and Montessori for your little one.


What is the Goddard School?

When it comes to early childhood education, The Goddard School is a top choice for many parents. With over 500 preschools across the United States, Goddard has developed a popular approach rooted in structured learning and nurturing care. If you’re considering Goddard for your little one, here’s an in-depth look at what sets this preschool model apart.

About the Goddard School

The Goddard School was founded in 1988 by Dr. Florence Ann Romano, an educator with a passion for teaching young children. After working as a teacher and director at several childcare centers, she was inspired to create her own preschool focused on learning through play in a safe, nurturing environment.

The very first Goddard School opened in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Since then, the brand has expanded to become the leading national childcare franchise with over 500 schools in 36 states. They serve children from 6 weeks to 6 years old.

While each location is independently owned and operated, Goddard Schools share a common philosophy and curriculum based on Dr. Romano’s original vision. Their stated mission is to ensure children have fun learning, use creativity, and build confidently on their abilities.

Some key facts about The Goddard School:

  • National network: 500+ preschools across the United States
  • Year founded: 1988 in King of Prussia, PA
  • Founder: Dr. Florence Ann Romano, educator
  • Mission: Fun learning through play; build confidence
  • Age range: 6 weeks to 6 years
  • Ownership: Franchise model with independent owners

With decades of experience and a time-tested approach, Goddard has firmly established itself as a leading option for early education and care.

The philosophy of Goddard School

The Goddard School’s educational philosophy focuses on learning through play in a safe, positive environment. Their teaching approach centers around five key elements:

Play: Goddard sees play as essential to how children learn and engage with the world around them. Whether structured activities or free play, fun and imagination are integral.

Safety: Warm, nurturing teachers and secure facilities provide an environment where children feel safe and loved. This enables them to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically.

Collaboration: Goddard encourages children to collaborate through play, group activities, and partner learning. Sharing, cooperation, and teamwork are emphasized.

Relationships: Caring bonds between teachers and students foster positive development. Goddard maintains low student-teacher ratios to enable close interactions.

Joyful Learning: Goddard believes learning should be a joyful, enriching experience. Their curriculum and activities aim to spark children’s curiosity and excitement.

This child-centered philosophy serves as the foundation for the Goddard School’s unique approach to early childhood education. It shapes everything from their curriculum to classroom practices to teacher training.

Goddard School curriculum and approach

The Goddard School’s curriculum uses structured play and activity-based learning to foster development in all areas: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical. Their proprietary curriculum was developed by early childhood education experts. It aligns with state standards and focuses on building 21st century skills.

Some highlights of the Goddard curriculum:

  • STEM:Introducing science, technology, engineering and math concepts through hands-on investigation and experimentation.
  • Literacy: Reading aloud, language games, phonics, and writing activities tailored to different learning levels.
  • Arts: Music, drama, crafts, and visual arts are woven throughout the curriculum.
  • Wellness: Health, nutrition, exercise, and safety practices designed to build lifelong healthy habits.
  • Social-Emotional Growth: Lessons, modeling, and reinforcement to strengthen skills like cooperation, focus, independence, and positive self-image.

In addition to structured curriculum activities, children have opportunities for outdoor play, centers-based learning, and choice time for independent exploration. Teachers regularly observe and assess children to ensure activities remain engaging, on-level, and responsive to different learning styles.

The classrooms are organized into interest centers that promote interactive, hands-on learning through:

  • Blocks and construction
  • Dramatic play
  • Arts and crafts
  • Library and listening
  • Science and nature
  • Math manipulatives
  • Sand and water play

This stimulates creativity, collaboration, and discovery. Children progress at their own pace through a nurturing environment tailored to their needs.

Experience with Goddard: Preschool and daycare

The Goddard School provides a full preschool and daycare program for children as young as 6 weeks to 6 years old. Both full-time and part-time schedules are available to accommodate working parents.

Here’s a look at the typical Goddard School experience:

  • Infants and Toddlers: Warm, attentive teachers provide nurturing care. Age-appropriate activities, play, and learning.
  • Preschool: Structured curriculum focuses on literacy, STEM, arts, and social-emotional growth through teacher-led and self-directed activities.
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Advanced curriculum adds early math, science, and pre-reading skills to prepare for kindergarten. Field trips, events, and graduation.
  • School Day: Operates year-round, following school district calendar. Extended hours from 6:30am to 6:30pm to accommodate parents’ work schedules.
  • Summer Program: Combines academics and fun summer themes and activities when school is out. Keeps learning progress on track.
  • Extracurriculars: Optional programs like dance, sports, and music are offered at an additional cost. Build skills beyond the core curriculum.

The Goddard School provides a balanced approach focused on learning through play-based lessons and activities. Children are exposed to a variety of subjects and developmental activities while benefiting from the structure and nurturing environment.

Academic ratings of Goddard School

The Goddard School emphasizes delivering a high-quality, research-backed preschool education. As a franchise, outcomes vary by location but Goddard has earned positive rankings that affirm their approach:

  • Parent Aware 4-Star Rating. Program exceeds quality standards in Minnesota using research-based best practices.
  • Top 50 Franchises for Women by Franchise Business Review. Recognizes female-friendly opportunities and satisfaction.
  • Most Developmentally Appropriate Program in Tustin A Poppins Program Review. High marks for age-appropriate learning.
  • Best of Haymount Award 4 years running. Top area preschool based on community votes.

While data is limited on long-term academic impact, these ratings and reviews indicate Goddard provides enriching preschool preparation that gives children a solid foundation for kindergarten and beyond.

With its play-based curriculum, nurturing environment, and focus on 21st century skills, the Goddard School offers an engaging approach to early learning. Their mix of activities, structure, and personal attention aims to spark a lifelong love of discovery in children starting at a very young age. After 30+ years of refining their educational model, Goddard continues to be a leader in the preschool space.

What is Montessori?

If you’re exploring preschool options, you’ve likely come across the Montessori method. Developed over 100 years ago, Montessori is a unique educational approach centered around fostering independence, freedom, and natural learning in children. Keep reading for an in-depth look at what makes Montessori classrooms so distinctive.

About Montessori School

The Montessori method was pioneered in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, one of the first female physicians in Italy. After working with intellectually disabled children, Dr. Montessori discovered they thrived when given tactile learning materials and freedom of movement. This led her to open the first Montessori school, Casa dei Bambini (“Children’s House”), for underprivileged kids in Rome.

Her teaching philosophy and specialized materials proved so successful at educating these disadvantaged children that soon upper class families sought out Montessori schools. Over the next century, the method spread globally and continues to be practiced around the world.

Some key facts about Montessori education:

  • Founder: Dr. Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator
  • Origins: First school opened 1907 in Rome, Italy
  • Approach: Child-centered, hands-on learning with high degree of independence
  • Curriculum: Multi-age classrooms with uninterrupted 3-hour work periods
  • Age range: Typically 18 months to 15 years, depending on school

Today there are an estimated 20,000 Montessori schools worldwide, with over 5,000 in the United States alone. While not trademarked, Montessori is a recognized teaching philosophy guided by core principles.

The Montessori Philosophy: The Maria Montessori method

Montessori education is based on fostering children’s natural desire to learn. The role of teachers is to guide this self-directed learning by preparing engaging, multisensory materials and promoting independence. Key tenets of the Montessori method include:

  • Independence: Children are free to choose activities that interest them and work at their own pace. Teachers limit intervention to guide learning through challenges.
  • Hands-on learning: Children are engaged through tactile materials, sensory exploration, and real-life activities. Abstract concepts become concrete.
  • Self-correction: Materials provide built-in feedback so children recognize and correct their own mistakes through repeated practice.
  • Multi-age classrooms: Age groups span 3 years to encourage older kids to teach and mentor younger ones.
  • Uninterrupted work time: 3-hour work cycles allow children to immerse themselves fully in the task rather than switch activities constantly.
  • Order and structure: Materials and activities are meticulously organized to enable independent use. Clear limits foster respectful behavior.

This child-driven method allows children to direct their energy toward meaningful activities that facilitate development at their own unique pace. Teachers act as guides, providing materials, giving lessons, and observing progress.

Montessori curriculum from infant to middle school

One hallmark of Montessori is its comprehensive curriculum spanning infancy through adolescence. Schools vary in their age range, but the general stages are:

  • Infant & Toddler: Ages 0-3 focus on sensory exploration, movement, independence with everyday tasks like dressing, feeding, etc.
  • Early Childhood: Ages 3-6 build early academic skills—reading, writing, math, science, geography, art. Mixed-age classrooms.
  • Elementary: Ages 6-12 dive deeper into cultural studies across subjects and develop collaborative learning skills by teaching peers.
  • Middle School: Ages 12-15 emphasize abstract reasoning, research, public speaking, leadership, and social responsibility.

At all levels, core Montessori materials like sensorial objects, math manipulatives, and sandpaper letters are used to provide hands-on learning experiences. Student interests help guide activity choices and direct project-based learning.

The curriculum flows seamlessly between age levels, enabling children to progress smoothly through skill mastery at their own pace. Multi-age classrooms add diversity of perspectives and opportunities to mentor others.

Montessori approach to early childhood education

While Montessori serves children through high school, many parents first encounter it when seeking an early childhood program around ages 3-6.

Some key ways the Montessori method approaches preschool education include:

  • Prepared environment: Child-sized furniture, organized materials and activities promote independence and engagement.
  • Mixed age classrooms: Provide role models and opportunities to teach/mentor younger kids to cement skills.
  • Uninterrupted work time: Long 3-hour work cycles allow concentration without constant task-switching.
  • Hands-on materials: Sandpaper letters, bead chains, pink towers build knowledge through touch and movement.
  • Child choice and pace: Children select activities that interest them and progress at their own speed.
  • Less teacher intervention: Teachers observe more than direct, allowing children to find solutions.
  • Real-world activities: Cooking, cleaning, gardening, caring for pets allow applied practice.

The Montessori classroom environment is carefully tailored to young children’s developmental needs and desire for self-directed learning through discovery. Independence is balanced with guidance and social collaboration.

Academic ratings of Montessori Schools

Research suggests Montessori education offers both short- and long-term academic benefits:

  • Stanford study found Montessori 5-year-olds significantly outperformed peers on math and literacy tests.
  • Another study showed children who previously attended Montessori schools scored higher on math and science in high school.
  • Early academic gains appear to be maintained throughout later grades.

However, outcomes vary based on school quality. Just like traditional schools, Montessori programs range in their teacher training and implementation fidelity. Prospective families should evaluate individual school ratings and reviews.

Key considerations for assessing a Montessori preschool include:

  • Teacher credentials and Montessori certification level
  • Adherence to core Montessori principles and practices
  • Classroom environment and materials
  • Parent and student satisfaction

An authentic Montessori program coupled with engaged teachers and families can provide an enriching, stimulating early education full of exploration and discovery. This student-led approach develops independence and a lifelong love of learning.

Comparing Goddard School and Montessori: Curriculum Philosophy

When it comes to choosing a preschool, two respected options are The Goddard School and Montessori. Looking closely at their teaching philosophies and curriculums reveals key differences in how these programs approach early childhood education.

While both Goddard and Montessori aim to nurture children’s natural desire to learn, they take distinct approaches to fostering development. Understanding where their methods converge and diverge can help parents select the right fit.

Differentiating the Goddard School and Montessori Curriculum

The Goddard School uses a structured proprietary curriculum designed by early childhood experts. It focuses on skill-building across key domains like literacy, STEM, social-emotional growth, and arts. The curriculum aligns with state standards and best practices for meeting developmental milestones.

In contrast, the Montessori curriculum is more open-ended, oriented around hands-on materials and activities that spark interest and exploration. There are core lesson plans in areas like sensorial learning, math, language, and cultural studies, but children have great freedom to self-direct their learning. There is less focus on standardized skills and assessments.


Goddard emphasizes building literacy and math readiness skills like phonics, early writing, counting, shapes, patterns, etc. The Montessori materials teach these skills too but in a more abstract way relying on physical manipulation of letters and numbers. Montessori focuses more holistically on fostering a love of learning.

Learning Format

The Goddard School relies more on teacher-directed lessons, structured activities, and experiential learning through play, field trips, and centers-based interest areas. Montessori classrooms center around children guiding their own learning with hands-on materials and peer collaboration. Teachers play a background role.

Developmental Areas

Goddard incorporates social-emotional growth, physical/motor skills, creativity, and collaboration into the core curriculum. Montessori focuses strongly on independence, concentration, coordination, and executive function. Teaching respect is central to both.


The Goddard School curriculum has set lesson plans but teachers adapt activities based on individual student needs and learning styles. Montessori enables students to fully self-direct their learning path based on interests. Customization is inherent.


Goddard has a mix of teacher-led instruction, open play, and structured activities. Montessori offers long 3-hour morning work cycles for self-directed learning with fewer teacher interruptions. Short group lessons are scheduled in the afternoon.

While both aim to nurture well-rounded skill development, Goddard relies more on an expert-designed curriculum and Montessori facilitates independence and exploration. But they share a passion for fostering a joy of discovery in early learners.

Goddard vs Montessori: Kindergarten approach

An area where Goddard and Montessori diverge is how they tailor the pre-K year to prepare children for kindergarten:

  • Goddard has a dedicated pre-K program focusing on skills needed for kindergarten success like early reading, writing, math, and following directions. Social activities teach classroom conduct.
  • Montessori does not adjust programming specifically for pre-K. The environment and materials align to skills kids need developmentally at that age naturally. No special prep for kindergarten.
  • Goddard relies on assessments, progress reports, and parent-teacher conferences to ensure pre-K kids are on track. Montessori focuses less on standardized metrics and more on a child’s developmental arc.
  • Goddard incorporates more group learning activities to acclimate children to a classroom setting. Montessori primarily relies on individual exploration.
  • Goddard’s structured format trains children in instructions, waiting their turn, sitting for circle time, etc to prepare for a classroom. Montessori values independence and freedom of movement.

So while Goddard deliberately gets kids kindergarten-ready, Montessori trusts its holistic approach implicitly prepares children for school success, academically and socially.

Elementary school: Montessori vs Goddard

At the elementary level, Montessori schools continue with mixed-age classrooms up through 6th grade. The materials and curriculum grow more complex. Goddard schools typically serve children only until kindergarten age.

A few key differences in the elementary years:

  • Montessori: 6-year age spans allow older kids to teach concepts to younger ones, reinforcing their own learning. The collaborative environment fosters leadership and social skills.
  • Montessori: The curriculum links across disciplines (math, sciences, humanities) to understand interconnections. Materials and activities connect learning to real life.
  • Montessori: Children have lengthy, uninterrupted work periods of 2-3 hours to explore their interests through research and projects. This enables deep focus.
  • Goddard: Operates only preschools and daycares up to age 6, not a full elementary program. Their approach focuses on the younger developmental window.
  • Goddard: School-age programs offered over summer and holidays provide care, not continued academics like Montessori’s seamless curriculum.

For the elementary years, Montessori provides consistent classroom practices focused on higher-order, collaborative learning. Goddard tailors specifically to early childhood education needs.

Toddler curriculum: Goddard School vs Montessori

For very young children, Goddard and Montessori take some similar approaches:

  • Play-based learning: Both programs emphasize sensory exploration, fine and gross motor activities, pretend play.
  • Language exposure: Reading simple books, naming objects, first words and phrases.
  • Social interaction: Facilitating sharing, parallel play, cooperation. Practicing routines like washing hands or cleaning up.

Some key differences also emerge in toddler programming:

  • Montessori materials: Toddlers are introduced to sensorial materials like pouring beans, feeling different textures, grading objects by size. These lay a foundation for key skills.
  • Montessori freedom: Toddlers are given independence to move freely, access materials, choose activities. Goddard provides more structured activities.
  • Montessori classroom: Mixed age environment allows toddlers to absorb skills from older peers. Goddard separates infant and toddler rooms.
  • Goddard curriculum: Lesson plans are tailored to developmental milestones with assessments to ensure progress in areas like motor skills, cognition, and language.
  • Goddard routine: More set schedule provides consistency. Montessori allows kids to follow their interests with fewer time restrictions.

The Montessori toddler environment empowers independence and exploration while Goddard incorporates more structure and teacher-led activities. Both nurture development through play.

Independence in Montessori and Goddard Philosophy

One significant difference between Montessori and Goddard lies in their view of independence. This informs how teachers interact with students:

  • Montessori sees independence as the key to a child’s natural learning abilities. Children are given freedom to select their own activities. Teachers are trained to intervene as little as possible.
  • Goddard emphasizes guidance and nurturing. Teachers engage more directly through lessons, facilitating activities, and providing attentive care. The environment has rules and routines.
  • In Montessori classrooms, children develop self-discipline and problem-solving skills by navigating choices independently with minimal teacher oversight. Goddard provides more explicit direction.
  • Montessori materials are designed for independent use through clear organization, consistent rules, and built-in learning controls. Goddard materials rely more on teacher demonstration and direction.
  • The Montessori approach trusts children’s intrinsic motivation and abilities. Goddard seeks a balance between structure and freedom tailored to each child.

The right level of independence depends on the individual child. Both models value student agency but Montessori makes freedom the cornerstone of its philosophy.

Pros and Cons: Goddard School vs Montessori

When selecting a preschool, it’s helpful to understand the potential advantages and downsides of different options. Here’s an overview of key pros and cons to consider with The Goddard School versus Montessori programs.

Goddard School: key pros and cons


  • Structured curriculum aligned to state standards helps prepare kids for kindergarten academics.
  • Teachers receive ongoing professional development and support as part of a franchise network.
  • Program quality and consistency across 500+ locations as an established national brand.
  • Extended hours (open 6:30am-6:30pm) accommodate working parents’ schedules.
  • Strong focus on social-emotional development through caring teacher relationships.
  • Parent portal provides updates on kids’ activities and learning milestones.


  • As a franchise, quality depends on ownership and can vary by location. Research individual schools.
  • Less emphasis on student independence and freedom of choice than Montessori.
  • Teacher-directed approach provides less opportunity for self-directed learning.
  • Limited availability in more rural areas (under 500 schools in 36 states currently).
  • Can feel more institutional than a smaller standalone preschool.
  • Pre-set curriculum limits adapting to unique student interests and needs.

The Goddard School provides a consistent approach focused on nurturing care and research-based academics. However, the franchise model and set curriculum do not work for every child.

Montessori Schools: key pros and cons


  • Child-led approach tailored to students’ developmental needs and interests.
  • Mixed-age classrooms provide role models and encourage peer teaching.
  • Hands-on materials and uninterrupted work times allow deep focus and engagement.
  • Prepares kids for independence, self-discipline, and a lifelong love of learning.
  • Specially trained Montessori teachers offer guidance, not direct instruction.
  • Seamless curriculum spanning toddler through middle school years.


  • No centralized standards or oversight so school quality varies widely.
  • Can be expensive compared to other preschool options.
  • Unstructured approach does not work well for every child.
  • Multi-age classrooms are effective only if limited to 20-30 students.
  • Requires intense teacher training in Montessori methods that not all schools invest in.
  • Materials and classroom set up must be implemented meticulously.

Montessori education offers a student-driven model that enables self-expression and intrinsically motivated learning for many children. But finding high fidelity programs takes legwork, and the approach is not universally effective.

Choosing for your child: Montessori and Goddard comparisons

So which is better for your child—The Goddard School or Montessori? Key factors to consider:

  • Your child’s temperament and learning style. Does your child prefer high or low structure? Do they dive into activities alone or seek more guidance? Montessori favors independence while Goddard provides more teacher direction.
  • Your educational priorities. Do you want more emphasis on reading and math readiness for kindergarten? Or focus on exploring student interests and developing concentration? Goddard teaches structured pre-academic skills while Montessori develops the joy of learning.
  • Consistency. As a franchise, Goddard offers predictable quality and curriculum across locations. Montessori schools vary widely in how faithfully they implement the method depending on how well teachers are trained.
  • Cost. In general, Montessori schools come with higher tuition given specialized materials and teacher certifications. But costs vary based on each individual program.
  • Availability. Goddard has 500+ locations across 36 states. Montessori schools exist nationwide but are less numerous outside major metro areas.

Think about which environment aligns better to your child’s needs and your family’s educational values as you evaluate options. Schedule tours to get a feel for the classrooms in action.

Classroom experience: Touring Goddard or Montessori preschools

Visiting prospective preschools makes differences clear through direct observation. Here is what you might notice touring Goddard and Montessori classrooms:


  • Carefully planned learning centers like art, science, library, dramatic play
  • Children engaged in various structured activities led by teachers
  • Alphabet, numbers, shapes incorporated throughout classroom
  • Kids transitions between activities at set times
  • Teachers actively involved in lessons and supervision
  • Standard school setting with desks, chairs, whiteboard


  • Open floor plan with materials accessible on low shelves
  • Children choosing their own work and deeply focused
  • Multi-age grouping and peer mentoring evident
  • Hands-on materials like beads, cylinders, letter sandpaper
  • Kids move freely without raises hands or permission
  • Minimal teacher direction evident
  • Child-sized furniture and materials

While Goddard offers more teacher-led structure, a Montessori classroom offers space for independence. Observing allows you to see the student experience in action.

Investigating the school: Parents’ reviews of Goddard vs Montessori

One of the best ways to evaluate a preschool is to learn what current and past parents say. Check reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, or GreatSchools for candid insights:


  • “Clean, state of the art facility. My daughter loves going to ‘school’ every day!”
  • “Very nurturing teachers. They use an excellent curriculum that really boosted my son’s kindergarten readiness.”
  • “Extremely disorganized administration and high staff turnover. Concerning lack of structure.”
  • “My child thrived in their STEM program. But wish there was more diversity.”


  • “This school enabled my daughter to develop concentration skills that still help her today in college.”
  • “With mixed ages my son learned so much from older kids acting as role models.”
  • “Not enough emphasis on phonics and math skills. My child was behind peers in elementary school.”
  • “Truly fosters a love of learning and creativity. But wish they offered more arts and sports too.”

Reviews reveal a range and can highlight program strengths or weaknesses. Take them with a grain of salt, but patterns can indicate if the philosophy and approach align with your priorities.

Whether you seek structure or freedom, learning readiness or exploration, weighing these key pros, cons and classroom dynamics will help determine if Goddard or Montessori (or another option entirely!) is the right fit for your child.

The Deciding Factor: Selecting Between Goddard School and Montessori

Choosing between highly regarded options like The Goddard School and Montessori can feel overwhelming as a parent. While their educational models differ, a few key factors often tip the scales one way or another.

Consider the salary and rating: Goddard vs Montessori teachers

Teachers make all the difference in early education. Comparing teacher qualifications provides important insight into program quality.


  • Goddard teachers earn above national averages with benefits as part of a professional franchise. Salaries range $25,000-$38,000.
  • Montessori teachers generally earn below public school wages, averaging $25,000-$35,000. Benefits vary by school. Lower pay can lead to turnover.
  • Goddard’s compensation attracts credentialed teachers. Montessori seeks out passionate teachers committed to the philosophy who will work for less.


  • Goddard teachers get standard early childhood education and ongoing professional development.
  • Montessori teachers undergo 1-3 years of specialized Montessori certification at significant personal cost ($5,000-$20,000).
  • Goddard provides classroom management and curriculum training aligned to brand standards.
  • Montessori certified means deep understanding of the materials and observational student engagement practices.

In general, Goddard invests more in teacher support and compensation while Montessori demands greater teacher commitment and self-funded specialized training.

Analyzing academic performance: Montessori and Goddard

Hard data comparing student outcomes is limited, but a few studies provide insights:

  • A 2006 study found children in a Montessori preschool showed significantly better skills on math and literacy assessments than peers at other preschools.
  • In one district, 5th graders who had attended Montessori schools since preschool scored higher on math and science achievement tests than 5th graders who had not.
  • But a broader study found children make comparable academic gains in Montessori and other preschools during the preschool years, suggesting similar kindergarten readiness.
  • Outcomes likely depend on how rigorously specific schools implement quality standards. Well-run Montessori and Goddard alike can support learning.

While formal studies are scarce, these snapshots indicate both approaches can effectively foster academic gains that translate into elementary school achievement.

Goddard School vs Montessori: Importance of school tour

Visiting prospective preschools and observing classrooms in action often solidifies a decision. Things to notice:

Student Engagement

  • Do children seem happily engaged in activities? Or aimless and distracted?
  • Is student focus deep or fragmented?
  • Do kids interact respectfully with teachers and peers?

Classroom Setup

  • Is the space neat, organized, and child-sized?
  • Are facilities and materials in good repair?
  • Does the schedule balance structure and free exploration?

Teaching Approach

  • Do teachers actively nurture and guide, or step back to observe?
  • Do lessons and activities appear thoughtful and purposeful?

Trust your impressions during tours. Picture your own child in that environment as you evaluate programs.

Think about the franchise: Goddard school may be a factor

For many parents, Goddard School’s national franchise model is a plus—or a concern.


  • Established brand with tested approach and standards provides consistency across 500+ schools.
  • Ongoing training and support creates professional teacher workforce.
  • Centralized tools like parent app and progress reporting enable active parent partnerships.


  • As locally owned franchises, quality depends on the specific owner-operators. Visit and vet each location.
  • Some see a franchise model as overly commercialized education.
  • Franchise fees filter revenues away from classrooms.

A franchise system offers scalable education but parents should still inspect and ask questions at each individual Goddard School to confirm it meets standards.

The toy factor: Montessori’s unique approach

Montessori classrooms contain some toys and games but rely more heavily on specialized hands-on learning materials not found in conventional preschools.

  • Montessori materials are carefully designed to teach specific skills and concepts through guided exploration. Materials are added or removed based on the child’s developmental readiness.
  • Activities like Practical Life exercises teach real-world skills like pouring, scooping, and scrubbing. Sensorial materials allow sensory discrimination of size, shape, color, and texture.
  • Goddard offers a mix of traditional toys and games along with interactive learning tools designed by early childhood experts. More variety across activities.
  • The structured Montessori materials control errors: A shape block will only fit the corresponding hole. This enables self-correction.
  • Montessori manipulatives spark curiosity and engage children in skill mastery. But some kids miss more mainstream toys or media characters.

Observe how your child responds to Montessori materials during classroom tours to determine if they facilitate engagement.

Whether it’s the teaching approach, facility quality, academic outcomes, or simply a gut feeling, visiting Goddard and Montessori schools often clarifies their differences. Trust yourself to make the best choice for your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the salary compare working for Goddard School vs Montessori?

Salaries can vary based on location, experience and role. Generally, both Goddard School and Montessori offer competitive salaries keeping in mind the market standards. However, it’s best to compare job offers based on salary, benefits, work-life balance and other factors that are important to you.

Which school has a better rating, Goddard or Montessori?

The rating of the school can depend on various factors such as location, size, curriculum, and parent’s reviews. Some people might prefer the approach of Montessori, while others could lean towards the Goddard School. It really depends on personal preferences and what you believe will be best for your child’s learning environment.

Can I find a Montessori School near me in the middle and high school grades?

Yes, Montessori offers elementary, middle, and high school programs. However, the availability would depend on whether there is one near your location that offers these classes. It would be best to look up Montessori schools in your area and contact them to ask about their offered programs.

Do both Goddard vs Montessori schools prepare your child for the next stage of academic life?

Yes, both Goddard and Montessori schools are designed to prepare your child for future academic challenges. Montessori schools focus on self-guided learning and encourage independence, while Goddard schools provide a structured environment and curriculum designed to prepare children for more traditional school settings.

How does the classroom environment compare between Goddard versus Montessori?

Goddard classrooms are more structured and teacher-led, with children participating within small groups. Montessori classrooms, on the other hand, provide the child with a lot of freedom, letting them learn at their own pace and often within a group to build community learning values.

How is the preschool program different between Goddard vs Montessori?

While Montessori preschool lets the child to learn, progress, explore, and enjoy at their own pace, Goddard preschool aims at making learning enjoyable through a variety of programs. The Goddard preschool program also uses a play-based approach to help preschoolers develop social skills and learn basic academic concepts.

Are Goddard or Montessori schools better for day care services?

Both types of schools offer quality day care services. Goddard schools are known for their structured day care program, while Montessori schools focus on letting children learn and explore in their own, individual way. It’s a personal decision and depends on what you and your child feel most comfortable with.

Which would help me get a better work-life balance, Goddard or Montessori?

Both Goddard and Montessori understand the importance of work-life balance, as they offer day care services. This would allow parents to maintain their careers while providing a safe and enriching environment for their child. The best choice for you really depends on your schedule, needs and the specific programs offered by your local Goddard or Montessori school.

Which prepares my child better, Goddard or Montessori, in terms of reading and writing?

While Montessori encourages children to explore reading and writing at their own pace, Goddard uses a more structured approach to help children develop these essential skills. Both methods aim to inspire a love for reading and writing and to promote literacy at an early age. The choice between the two really depends on your child’s learning style and your own educational values.

How do the teaching methods of Goddard vs Montessori compare?

Goddard uses a mixture of different educational approaches to engage children in learning through play, which fosters creativity and fun while learning. Montessori, founded in the early 1900s, uses a child-centric approach where children are motivated to learn and discover for themselves. The choice between the two will depend on which method you feel best suits your child’s learning style.


When it comes to finding the right preschool for your child, there are no definitive answers—only the option that feels like the best fit. After understanding The Goddard School and Montessori models, think about your child’s needs, your family’s values, and your impressions of each program.

Goddard provides more structure through a consistent curriculum and teacher-directed activities. Montessori facilitates independence and self-direction. There are benefits to both approaches when implemented thoughtfully.

While their philosophies differ, Goddard and Montessori aim for the same outcome: nurturing children’s innate curiosity and building a lifelong love of learning. As a parent, you know your child best. Trust yourself to make a choice aligned to their learning style that positions them for the greatest growth and confidence.

The most important factor is finding a school community that excites your child to show up each day. Preschool sets the tone for how they will feel about education for years to come. Whether you select a Goddard School, Montessori program, or another option entirely, choose the environment that sparks that intrinsic joy of discovery. When it comes to early childhood education, that enthusiasm is the real deciding factor.

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Written By Ella
As a passionate parent and Montessori follower, I encourage child independence and share my personal parenting insights. In my downtime, I enjoy family activities, tea, and reading, and I invite you to join my journey in the Montessori way of raising resilient children.

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