There are some fundamental principles that differentiates the Montessori curriculum from the other systems of education:
Dr. Maria Montessori, said that we deal with a mixed age group in every walk of our life, so education system must also have a mixed age group, which would automatically strike off the element of competition and would lead to a mutually helping and harmonious environment where both the young as well as elder children would help each other in their respective path of development.
As the phrase says by itself, this system of education gives a lot of freedom to a child alongwith a set of responsibilities . So freedom and responsibility would always go hand in hand, leading to self discipline- the utmost quality for any child to achieve. Although the method is child led, it is simultaneously quite well structured and organised which is the striking difference between Montessori and any other traditional as well as other alternate method of education.
Montessori materials are scientifically designed keeping in mind the purpose to be achieved from that particular material. This means there is a different piece of material for each skill to be achieved focussing only on that particular skill. So this isolation, helps the child to concentrate better on the purpose of the activity than just mixing up a lot of concepts. Each material has a specific age at which it is to be presented and also some preliminary preparation that the child must have acquired. So the material is simple, clear, specific yet aesthetic and appealing to the child. Also they are limited in number to ensure there is no clutter in the environment which leads to overwhelming a child.
"Teacher" is not the term that is used at all in a typical Montessori environment. They are simply adults in the environment with the core responsibility of serving the child who is himself working on his developmental goals. So observation and providing assistance is the key responsibility than teaching.
Dr. Maria Montessori says that hand is the key tool in passing any information to the brain, so the entire learning process in this method is through the use of hands and movement. In other words it's a total sensorial way of learning. This way the child absorbs the abstract concepts with much better clarity and all through his own effort.